Xenophobic Killings: FG Must Move Beyond Rhetoric Now -CSO

By Abubakar Sadiq Mohammed, Zaria

A Kano-base Civil Society Organization, Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED)
CHRICED has urged the Federal Government to immediately move beyond mere issuing of statements on the current Xenophobic killings on Nigerians going on in South Africa.

In a statement signed by the Director General of the Centre, Dr.Ibrahim Zikirullah and made available to Nigerian Compass Times in Zaria expressed dismay on the unending wave of assault on the lives and property of Nigerians in South Africa.

The statement therefore called for an immediate review of diplomatic relations with South Africa, without taking off the option of recalling Nigerian Ambassador, while expelling the South African envoy in Abuja, as a first symbolic step.

It also advocated that Nigeria must invoke the principle of reciprocity by mobilizing its soft power assets to put pressure on South African economic interests in Nigeria, in the first instance.

"It is totally unacceptable that South Africans are killing Nigerians and attacking their businesses, while South African businesses thrive in other parts of the continent.

"The Nigerian government must clearly communicate to the effect that the South Africa cannot continue cutting its nose to spite its face."It added.

CHRICED stressed that Nigerian people reject the blood thirsty notion fast gaining traction in South Africa that Nigerians can be killed, maimed and their businesses destroyed without any real consequence.

It therefore advised the Federal Government to mobilize the relevant national institutions to properly document the xenophobic crimes with the view to holding all perpetrators accountable, using the instrumentality of multilateral diplomatic circles like the Africa Union, the International Criminal Court in the Hague and the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

CHRICED expressed that If Nigeria could selflessly launch and sustain decades-long campaign to help free South Africa from the dehumanizing clutches of Apartheid, it must be prepared to go all the way to protect the lives and dignity of its citizens from irredeemable xenophobes.

"We have followed the latest spate of shocking and outrageous xenophobic violence targeting Nigerians and other African nationals residing and doing business in South Africa.

"In waves of mind boggling attacks, which are clearly premeditated and carefully coordinated, several Nigerians have been killed, just as their business premises were looted or set ablaze.

"Particularly for Nigerians, the losses in terms of lives and property, and the consistency with which our citizens have been targeted make it abundantly clear that it is time for the Federal Government to fundamentally rethink diplomatic relations with South Africa."It suggested.

The Civil Society Organization opined that the era of diplomatic niceties and notions of African brotherhood, with specific reference to South Africa, is over.

It observed that a country, whose citizens delight in the mindless and senseless slaughter of fellow Africans can no longer be considered “brotherly,” by any stretch of the imagination is even more crucial to note because some high ranking South African officials have been on record spewing hate speech and inciting their citizens to attack foreign nationals.

"An example of this terrible behaviour is Mr. Bongani Mkongi, who was the Deputy Minister of Police of the Republic of South Africa from 31 March 2017 until 25 May 2019. In a video currently circulating online, the said Mkongi could be heard justifying the xenophobic attacks on the alleged grounds that South African cities were being taken over by foreigners.

"Although there are lone voices of reason like Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) who have consistently condemned attacks on foreign nations, their admonitions get drowned in the sea of hate gripping many South African citizens.

"In the light of the inciting rhetoric from highly placed South African officials, which then manifests in the dastardly acts, including the killing of Nigerians, CHRICED calls on the Federal Government to immediately move beyond mere issuing of statements."It urged.