The Nigerian Citizens Association in South Africa (NICASA) has called on the South African authorities to arrest and prosecute those involved in the burning and looting of Nigerian businesses in that country.
The President of NICASA, Ben Okoli, made this call in a telephone interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja from Pretoria, South Africa on Friday.
Okoli said prosecution of the culprits would serve as deterrent to others and forestall such unwarranted occurrence in the future.
He said that crisis erupted on Tuesday in Pretoria Business District as indigenes angered by the death of a taxi operator apparently thought to be killed by a Nigerian went on rampage.
Okoli said that the said driver was, however, allegedly killed by a Tanzanian which sparked the violence that resorted to looting of shops owned by Nigerians and some other foreigners in that country.
He said that it was painful that erroneous information was sent to the public that sparked the protest which went out of hand, and before the police could curb it, serious damage had been done on Nigerian investments.
According to him, Nigerian-owned businesses looted and burnt include furniture, electronics shops, warehouses, mechanic and motor spare parts among others.
Okoli said the impact of the attack was much as millions of Naira was lost by Nigerian businessmen.
He said that though the crisis affected other foreigners, what made the matter worse was that the crisis happened where there were a lot of Nigerian businesses.
He added that a Nigerian had eight vehicles in his car lot burnt by the arsonists, while another had his warehouse containing his 16 years investment destroyed.
The NICASA president said that another had the customer’s car in his mechanic workshop destroyed, causing colossal damage to his investment in the country.
Okoli appealed to Nigerians in that country to remain calm, stressing that the issue had been reported to the Nigerian mission which had pledged holistic action on it.
He urged the Nigerian mission in South Africa to intervene by ensuring the safety of Nigerians in the country.
The NICASA president said that it was time the South African authorities ended xenophobic attacks on foreigners and mainly on Nigerians at any slightest provocation.
“At this juncture, we are appealing to the South African authority to be in control of security of their country, they must not allow these arsonists to take the laws into their hands always.
“What happened should not have degenerated into chaos if proactive measures were taken by the authority.
“The culprits should be prosecuted, we are no longer accepting the injustice, the damage is colossal and should not repeat itself,” Okoli said.
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