NIGERIA has demanded financial compensation for all the losses its citizens suffered in the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa and assurances from Pretoria that security mechanisms will be put in place to prevent any occurrence of these pogroms.
Over the last week, angry mobs have run riot in South Africa, attacking African business, burning down shops and killing migrants. Leading to widespread condemnation, the attacks have led to several African nations withdrawing from impending conferences in South Africa and in Nigeria, several South African businesses like Shoprite and MTN have been ransacked in revenge assaults.
Under pressure to react, the Nigerian government is sending a special envoy to South Africa to meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa on the matter. Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister, Geoffery Onyeama, said that the envoy will be discussing how compensation can be paid to the affected Nigerians and be demanding assurances that the South African authorities will prevent further attacks.
Mr Onyeama, said: “We have registered our strong protest to the government of South Africa but most importantly, we have put forward what we think will make a big difference. One with regard to compensation with those who have suffered loss and most importantly, a security proposal that we believe will safeguard the security of Nigerians in the future.
“We are hoping to see the possibility of sending some security agents deploying them initially in the Nigerian high commission to work closely with the South African police force. We believe that would be a very important process to address and pre-empt this kind of attacks and possibly for them to also be embedded within the police force of South Africa.
“We don’t believe that two wrongs make right, I think in terms of revenge on those kinds of attack is not what we are looking forward to. The South African government has assured us that they are doing everything possible to address the situation, that they are equally exasperated by the whole event.”
Meanwhile, Senator Orji Kalu, the chief whip of the Nigerian senate has said that South African businesses should be asked to leave Nigeria while these attacks are ongoing. He urged the Federal Government to hasten the intervention process and institute stiffer measures against South Africa over the endless xenophobic attacks.
Senator Orji added: “How can any sensible person attack and burn a fellow human being just because he or she has a feeling to do so? Those mindless criminals who attacked and prevented law-abiding Nigerians to freely conduct their businesses must be made to pay for their crimes.
“If the South African government fails to do more to protect the lives of Nigerians, there should be no reason to allow them to operate freely in Nigeria. All their enterprises deserve to be closed down including MTN, DSTV, Shoprite among others.”