The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, has condemned the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners living in South Africa.
In a statement on Tuesday, he said Nigeria has had enough of its citizens being targets of such attacks and would no longer tolerate hate crimes in any form against Nigerians doing legitimate businesses in the country.
“Xenophobic violence is most condemnable anywhere; more so in South Africa, a country whose citizens benefitted from the unwavering support and solidarity of Africans and freedom lovers across the world in their historic struggle against apartheid,” the Senate President said.
He added, “More disturbing, however, is that these attacks indicate the neglect of educating the younger generations on the sacrifices that Africans proudly made towards expunging the scourges of colonialism and apartheid from their continent.
“The enormous contributions of Nigeria to this historic struggle are underscored by its recognition as a frontline state in the prolonged confrontation against the powerful racist regime that had held generations of Southern Africans in bondage and subhuman conditions.”
According to Senator Lawan, this recognition is in spite of the fact that Nigeria does not share geographical borders with the sub-region and is far removed from the direct consequences of apartheid.
He noted that the liberation of South Africa was rightly celebrated across the continent and the Black world as the final emancipation of Africans from colonialism and apartheid.
The lawmaker, therefore, stated that it was an unacceptable irony that a section of South Africans would choose other Africans in their country as the targets of violent attacks.
He said, “It would be recalled that I had on July 15, this year, met with the South African High Commissioner, Bobby Moroe, in Abuja over the same issue.
“At the meeting, I had said ‘The South African Government must as a matter of urgency do whatever it takes to protect the lives and property of Nigerians living there, just as the Nigerian Government remain committed to the safety of South Africans residing here and their investments.
“I believe we have faced enough, we will no longer take it anymore. The South African parliament must act fast to put a stop to this menace.”
Senator Lawan noted the efforts the Federal Government to convey the displeasure of Nigerians with the treatment of their compatriots in South Africa.
He said every step necessary must be taken in protecting law-abiding foreigners, including Nigerians, and their businesses from hate crimes in the country.
He added that the Senate was closely observing the situation and urged the Nigerian Government to accept nothing but the immediate cessation of hostility to Nigerians living in South Africa.