As Nigerian students under the aegis of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Wednesday issued fresh 7-day ultimatum for South African businesses to vacate Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramahosa are perfecting a meeting over the issue.
The meeting, which, according to Abike Dabiri-Erewa, is holding soon, will afford both leaders to discuss and find lasting solutions to the continuous xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa.
Dabiri-Erewa, who is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), made the disclosure at a press conference in Abuja.
The press conference was jointly addressed by Dabire-Erewa, Tayo Faniran (BBA) who was recently brutalized by policemen in that country as well as the President of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on killings of Nigerians in South Africa.
According to the NIDCOM chairman, the two leaders meeting in Abuja will also dwell on other bilateral issues that will strengthen the relations between the two countries.
Dabire-Erewa who noted that the xenophobic attacks in South Africa on Nigerians has reached a tipping point, said that decisive action must be taken in order for it not to degenerate out of control.
According to her, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and that of South Africa will also meet as soon as the new cabinet of President Buhari is constituted.
While assuring that Nigeria will continue to be engage using diplomatic means, on how best to tackle the tension the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians is being created, the NIDCOM chairman said ”Really it’s pathetic, it’s sad. As we said before, until about 2016, we have had 118 Nigerians killed in South Africa. Between 2018 and today, 88 Nigerians have been killed in South Africa. Out of this 88, 25 were cases of Nigerians killing Nigerians and we have had the case of Mrs. Elizabeth Chukwue who was murdered in her hotel room.”
As a way forward, she also demanded full investigation into the xenophobic cases in South Africa.
She said ”Eight policemen are currently being investigated in South Africa for their involvement in killings against Nigerians, that investigation must come to an end and there must be consequences for their actions.
”The two policemen that did this to Tayo are already being investigated by investigating body that deals with police officers in South Africa, we must know the outcome of the investigation.
“We also must know who killed Mrs. Elizabeth Chukwu who went for a conference and died in her hotel room.
”We know that every country has their own challenges, we have ours and they have theirs. But killing other people is not the solution to anything. If a Nigerian commits a crime you deal with the person.
”And like Tayo said, we just have to put an end to xenophobia in Africa. It is a shame that in the 21st century we are talking about Africans killing Africans, rather than talking of Africans going to the moon, doing inventions, taking over the world. This cannot be called to happen.”
At the press conference tagged ’Enough is Enough, also attended by the leadership of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Daniel-Erewa declared Faniron Tayo as the champion of Xenophobia Africa, following his decision to volunteer to champion anew narrative that will end the attacks and preach unity and peace among Africans.
Tayo Faniran on his part said he believes he was beaten for a reason.
“I believe something positive will come out of this, part of what will come out of it is the change. I have started a movement, “Say no to
Xenophobia” under the platform Oduduwa Classics which is my brand. The reason why xenophobia still exist in South Africa is because of lack of information.
“Many people there feel that they are entitled to hate Nigerians because they don’t have enough reasons why they should love us. You will never see any billboard, newspapers or whatever in South Africa that says say no to xenophobia. That was what triggered my interest.
“I have been harassed many times but I have never been beaten before. I am in South Africa for positive reasons and I am contributing my quota and I make sure I am a law abiding citizen.
“Although we may have some bad eggs out of Nigeria but we have so many great Nigerians out there in South Africa and even out here. Because of this incident, I have met a lot of people who told me they are not going to South Africa ever again and that breaks my heart so much. Because, South Africa has provided me a second home, it has blessed me. South Africa can never be taken away from my life. This is why I said no to xenophobia and I will not back down.
“I assure the world that with the right support I can eradicate xenophobia.
“…I am a father of two and I want my children to grow into a better society. I am not biased and I stand for the truth, I believe we can fix xenophobia just give me the chance.”
NANS through its President, Danielson Akpan, issued seven ultimatum for South African businesses in Nigeria to leave the country.
He also called on Nigerians in South Africa to return to home since they are no longer wanted.
But Abike declared that the issue has not got to that level and would be handled by the leaders of the two countries.