Nigerians in South Africa have called on the Federal Government to prevail on the country’s authority to adequately compensate the victims of the 2015 xenophobia outbreak.
The President of Nigeria Union, South Africa (NUSA), Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.
Anyene urged President Muhammad Buhari to use the occasion of President Jacob Zuma’s two-day visit to Nigeria from Tuesday to address their concerns.
NAN recalls that the federal government had on Sunday said that Zuma’s visit would be used to address the challenges being faced by Nigerians in South Africa.
Anyene who said that the April 2015 xenophobic violence affected some Nigerians in South Africa, expressed regret that none of them had been compensated.
“Lots of Nigerians lost their means of livelihood, material possessions and for many, all their hard work.
“We have sought for compensation on behalf of these victims from the South African government through the Nigerian government so that the victims can be adequately compensated.
“Up to this point in time nothing has been heard about the compensation request on behalf of the victims,” he said.
He therefore called on President Mohammadu Buhari to urgently intervene and ensure that the rights of Nigerians were not trampled upon.
NAN recalls that Some South Africans accused immigrants of taking jobs and opportunities away from them which resulted in attacks that saw some foreigner in South Africa killed and property destroyed.
The violence followed reported comments by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, an influential figure among the Zulu ethnic group, that foreigners should pack their bags and leave.
While acknowledging that the South African government had done a lot of work to curb the xenophobia, Anyene said that, “more still needed to be done”.
The President maintained that xenophobia still remained a huge challenge in South Africa and a major concern to Africans.
According to him, there seems to be institutionalised xenophobia in South Africa where Nigerian professionals and students are discriminated against and victimised simply because they are non indegenes.
He expressed sadness that Nigerians in South Africa have for some time now been unduly harassed or killed.
“For some years now, a lot of Nigerians in South Africa have been victims of assassination by unknown people and rogue officers of the South African Police Service.
“Most of the cases have not been solved and nobody has been arrested in majority of the cases, even as many of them were reported to the police with official case numbers,’’ he said.
Speaking further, “this is strange in a country where the police force is efficient and the rate of successful prosecution is high up to 92.2 per cent in 2014/15.
“We implore the minister to demand from the highest level of South African authorities to set up a panel to investigate our claims and address our concerns,’’Anyene said.