Nigerians, like other foreigners including Malawians, Zimbabweans, Pakistians, Somalis, among others in south-Africa, have suffered continuously, being victims of violence ranging from killings, incessant attacks as well as vandalisation of properties; an evil trend that has subsisted over time and which has generated little or no attention by the Nigerian government, same which can be likened closely to a tragedy of monumental proportions.
Flowing from the recurring malaise, it seems impossible to stand by any particular statistics of lives or properties lost at this point. Heart-shattering is the report of a Nigerian car dealer’s shop that was burnt to ashes on Sunday, September 1, 2019 in South Africa.
On the side of the South Africans, their justifications for this heinous act has been the feeling of Nigerians occupying their land as claimed by the Deputy Minister of Police of South Africa, Mr Bongani Michael Mkongi. In the middle of this misfortune, it is sad that the Nigerian Government has chosen the path of perpetual silence and at intervals, giving a voice that is not a force usually relating to a deceptive assurance of investigation being, most times, investigations without report. The office of the chairman, Nigerians Diaspora Commission shares no vindication at this as her positions at any of her appearances on national television remains, “we are investigating” “A Committee had been set up to look into the killings”.
All these are merely designed to constitute a temporary relief for citizens with no particular prospect to end the sad misfortunes. It is being reported that President Muhammadu Buhari will be visiting South Africa in October 2019 to discuss the issue of recurring attacks. This is nothing but a foot-dragging reaction begging closely the extent of importance Mr President attaches to these brutal killings and sheer expression of inhumanity of humans on humans. As the giant of Africa, we should rather be proactive than being reactionary and where occasions demand for reactions, we should react as a giant rather than as a snail.
If truly the Constitutional provisions of Section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is to be adhered to strictly placing the security of lives and properties as well as welfare of all citizens as the primary purpose of government, it then behooves the Nigerian government to wake up to, indeed, a hasty intervention as a need to correspond with its security responsibilities as well as an assurance of qualitative leadership that is proactive to the concerns of all citizens; whether home or in the diaspora at heart.
There is no better time than now for the Nigerian government to start using its strong bargaining power diplomatically as it affects relations with South Africa. South Africa should as a matter of urgency be declared as a hostile setting of residence for Nigerians. Economic cooperation and relationship should be scaled down drastically so as to send a strong signal to the economic and business environment which will consequently influence the dealings of other countries in withdrawing their economic and business relationship with South Africa.
Daniel O. Adedigba, Abuja.
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