The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Thursday closed the Kaduna office of South African Telecommunication giant, MTN, over xenophobic attacks and killings of 118 Nigerians in the last two years.
NANS’ Director, Travels and Exchange, Mr Dominic Philip, explained in Kaduna that the step was necessary to curb further attacks, looting, destruction and mindless killings of African nationalities, particularly Nigerians in South Africa.
Philip recalled that Nigeria had contributed morally, financially, diplomatically and logistically to the agitations that eventually led to the emancipation of South Africans from white’s domination.
The NANS official also said that African countries led by Nigeria, helped in the institutionalisation of black majority rule in South Africa in 1994.
Philip, however, noted with dismay, that instead of reciprocating the gesture, South Africa had allowed Nigerians to suffer all forms of discrimination, including murders and looting of their businesses.
According to him, NANS will no longer align with Nigerian Government diplomatic approach, which is cosmopolitan and reconciliatory on the issue.
“Available record has shown that the levels of attacks on Nigerians is on astronomical rise, with the recent killing of Nigerian by South Africans, on July 20 increasing the number to 118 in the last two years.
“Out of this number, 13 were reportedly killed by South African Police in an extra-Judicial manner.
“We, therefore, want the South African government to investigate and provide accurate number of Nigerians so far killed and prosecute perpetrators of xenophobic attacks to ensure justice for the victims.
“We equally want the government to generate data of all Nigerians, whose properties were bunt or looted for immediate compensation.”
Xenophobia: Nigeria, South Africa to cement relations through cultual diplomacy
The Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of South Africa on Thursday resolved to use cultural exchanges to cement relationship among their people and end xenophobia.
The agreement was reached in Lagos at a meeting between Nigeria Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the South Africa Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.
Speaking at the event, Mohammed said that Nigeria would continue to explore culture and tourism as veritable platforms to strengthen its ties with South Africa.
“We have always believed that culture and tourism are very effective platforms and avenues for cementing relationship between the two countries.
“A few years back, we did actually put in motion the machinery for cultural exchanges between Nigeria and South Africa and we are still working on it.
“We believe that a lot of issues can be resolved when we bring to South Africa our very popular artistes because I am told that a few Nigerian musicians are extremely popular in South Africa and vice versa,” he said.
The minister said that in the wake of recent happenings in South Africa, such engagements and visitations at the highest level of government would inspire the citizens of both nations to continue to work harmoniously and live in peace.
After a closed door meeting with his counterpart Mohammed told newsmen that they resolved to strengthen ties between the two countries.
“We discussed and we have really seen that more things unite us than those that divide us.
“We have resolved at least at the level of the leadership, to ensure that the good ties between Nigeria and South Africa continue.
“We also resolved to inspire our people by example to continue to work together and live as brothers and sisters, which they have done for many years,” he said.
On her part, Kubayi-Ngubane emphasised the need for cultural exchanges between the citizens of the two countries as a deliberate policy to strengthen the bond between them.
Kubayi-Ngubane said she was in Nigeria to further demonstrate her country’s commitment to the discussions held between President Cyril Ramaphosa and President Muhammadu Buhari in South Africa, following the recent attacks on Nigerians in that country.
She said the President of South Africa had appointed former President of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete and former President of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano to work with South African communities with a view to finding lasting solutions to the crisis.
The minister urged the citizens of both countries to be wary of fake news, being deliberately published to worsen the crisis.
“One of the issues that we reiterated was that we need to be careful of the fake news sometimes that exacerbate what is not real and what is not true and that does not necessarily mean that we are abdicating our responsibilities as leaders.
“Where things have happened wrong, we take responsibility as leaders.
“What we are saying, however, to our citizens in the two countries is that we need to be careful of fake news.
“We must get the real story, verify the information before we take things out of context,” she said.
Nigeria News Agency reports that Kubayi-Ngubane was accompanied by Mr Darkey Africa, South Africa Consul-General, Lagos, Mr Bobby Moroe, Deputy High Commissioner, South Africa High Commission, Abuja and Morongie Ramphele, a Director in charge of Tourism.
In the Nigeria team were Mr Segun Adeyemi and Mr Williams Adeleye both Special Assistants to the President attached to office of the Minister and Mrs Fkirence Sowunmi, Director International Tourism, Promotion and Cooperation in the ministry.
Edited & Vetted By: Ese E. Ekama
Racism, xenophobia, protectionism constitute threat to multilateral efforts at addressing global challenges – Muhammad-Bande
Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President, United Nations General Assembly says racism, xenophobia, resurgent nationalism, as well as tendencies toward protectionism in Africa and other parts of the world are a threat multilateral efforts at addressing global challenges.
Muhammad-Bande made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja when he paid his first official visit to Nigeria since he was elected President of UNGA.
Multilateral efforts are processes of organising relations between groups of three or more states. Multilateral efforts comprise certain qualitative elements or principles such as indivisibility of interests among participants, a commitment to diffuse reciprocity, and a system of dispute settlement intended to enforce a particular mode of behaviour.
These elements and principles shape the character of the multilateral efforts or arrangement.
According to him, no country of community Is self-sufficient, hence the need to strife for peace and unity.
He said that the striving for meaningful development required countries in Africa to work closely to collectively address the challenges and concerns of the continent.
He added that it was for that reason no African country remained silent on racism and xenophobia.
“All African countries have condemned racism. No African country is silent on racism. After all, the struggle against apartheid was not a South African struggle, but a struggle of Africans and its friends and those who believe in humanity and that is one.
, entitled “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants,” which decided to launch a process of intergovernmental negotiations leading to the adoption of the Global Compact for Migration.
He said that the Compact was to cover all dimensions of migration and to ensure migration was done in a safe and regular manner.
According to him, the document is very rich and it seeks to address the concerns of migration.
Muhammad-Bande added that the first positive development contained in the document was the recognition of migration as a positive thing.
The president of the General Assembly, however, explained that migration could be on the negative when carried out in an irregular manner and through dangerous and deadly routes.
Muhammad-Bande said that the adoption of the Global Compact for Migration was a hard negotiation for stakeholders “but there is an opportunity to see how well it will be implemented.”
He said that the document would be reviewed after four years to assess the successes recorded and the challenges still existing for further action to be taken.
He noted that the adoption of a compact is derived from the fact that “there is a problem and the way to deal with a problem is to see collectively whether there is a way to address that problem.”
(Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim)
No African country is silent on racism, xenophobia — UNGA President
Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) says no African country is silent on racism and xenophobia, as all nations on the continent condemned such actions.
He said this in a special interview with Nigeria News Agency in Abuja, during his first official visit to the country as President of the General Assembly.
He affirmed that racism, xenophobia and resurgent nationalism and tendencies toward protectionism in Africa and other parts of the world were threats to multilateralism.
According to him, no country or community is self sufficient, hence the need to strife for peace, and unity, and going forward requires collective efforts toward addressing the challenges and concerns of the continent.
He noted that “fortunately, the issue between South Africa and other African countries has been successfully resolved, with the presidents of South Africa and Nigeria urging citizens to embrace peace.
“All African countries condemned racism, no African country is silent on racism, after all, the struggle against apartheid was not a South African struggle.
“It was a struggle of Africans and its friends and those who believe in humanity.
“The situation surrounding South Africa has already been resolved, it is not even an issue between South Africa and Nigeria, it involves other African countries and the mistake in that situation has been well understood and resolved.
“You can see after the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to South Africa the whole idea that going forward, it is simply and collectively to address common concerns on the continent.”
On the issue of irregular migration, which is a challenge in the West-African sub-region, Muhammad-Bande said that the UN adopted the Global Compact on Migration in December 2018 in Marrakech, Morroco.
He explained that the compact was endorsed by the UN General Assembly to cover all dimensions of migration and to ensure that migration was done in a safe and regular manner.
He added that the first positive development contained in the document was recognising migration as a positive thing, noting however that the act could have negative results when carried out irregularly and through dangerous and deadly routes.
The UNGA president, who noted that the adoption of the Global Compact on Migration was a hard negotiation for stakeholders, added that it would be an opportunity to see how well it would be implemented.
He said that the document would be reviewed after four years to assess the successes and challenges.
He explained that “the fact that there is a compact is because there is a problem and the way to deal with a problem is to collectively see whether there is a way to address it.”
The UNGA President arrived in Abuja on Nov. 21 on a four-day official visit.
Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
South African police arrest 100 people in protest against xenophobia
Johannesburg, Oct. 30, 2019 The South African police on Wednesday arrested 100 people as part of an operation to disperse a group of refugees and asylum seekers, who had staged a prolonged sit-in near the UN refugee agency in Cape Town.
The refugees and asylum seekers have been camping outside the offices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for weeks.
They were asking to be moved out of South Africa, where they say they do not feel safe after a wave of xenophobic violence.
Local media showed footage of police firing water cannon into the crowd of protesters, some of whom were visibly distressed or had small children strapped to their backs, and removing personal items like clothes, sleeping bags and cooking equipment from the street.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) said in a statement they moved in to evict around 300 people from the area in accordance with a court order.
“About one hundred people have been arrested after they failed to heed the call to disperse,” the police said.
The police added that the UNHCR had tried to resolve the impasse without success.
The refugees want to be repatriated to their home countries or moved elsewhere after a spate of deadly riots and attacks in September, which killed at least 10 people and left many foreigners afraid to live in the country.
The violence, which was targeted at African immigrant populations, sparked reprisal attacks, overshadowed a pan-African economic conference in Cape Town and drove a wedge between South Africa and other nations on the continent, including its other major economy, Nigeria.
Hundreds of people were arrested during the violence, which has flared up periodically in South Africa.
(Edited by: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim)
Nigeria, SA to implement `Early Warning Signal` to curb xenophobia -NIDCOM
Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) said Nigeria and South Africa would implementation the “Early Warning Signal” mechanisms signed by the two countries to curb xenophobic attacks.
In a statement signed by the Head of Media Unit of NIDCOM, Mr Abdur-Rahman Balogun, on Wednesday, Dabiri-Erewa spoke against the backdrop of renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.
The statement quoted Dabiri-Erewa as saying that “the Consul General is on top of the situation.
“The Consul-General, Godwin Adama, is currently in Widbank, Mpumulanga, where the crisis happened. He is at a meeting with the highest police authorities there.
“The mission intervened immediately and the situation is currently under control.
“After this meeting, a meeting with Nigerians along with the South African Police will hold,’’ she assured.
Dabiri-Erewa added that further developments at this stage would be taken up at the ministerial level, between the two ministers of foreign affairs of both countries.
President Muhammadu Buhari was in South Africa between Oct. 3 and Oct. 5 on a state visit which coincided with the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.
“Series of agreements and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) were signed by the two African states to cement the relationship and nip the hostilities in the bud.
“However on Tuesday, it was reported that South African citizens resumed xenophobic attacks against Nigerians living in Mpumalamga area of the country” she said.
Edited by Gregg Mmaduakolam/Ismail Abdulaziz
Xenophobia: Abia Union in South Africa commends Gov. Ikpeazu for assisting returnees
Mr Chima Umealo, President-General of Abia Union in South Africa, has commended Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia for assisting indigenes of the state who returned from that country because of Xenophobia.
Umealo, who gave the commendation on Wednesday, said that seven Abia indigenes affected by the attacks had returned to Nigeria.
“Abia Union in South Africa thanks Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu for meeting the returnees, rehabilitated them through the state Diaspora Office led by Dr Ngozi Erondi.
“The governor introduced the returnees to skills acquisition programme and other welfare packages to assist them re-start life after the attacks,’’ he said in an e-mailed statement to the Nigeria News Agency from Johannesburg.
Umealo urged other governors to assist returnees from their states to re-settle after losing all they had to the xenophobic attacks.
According to him, government at all levels should provide basic infrastructure for the people to promote economic activities and employment.
He said some Nigerians abroad were suffering and were reluctant to go home because of lack of basic infrastructure.
“I appeal to the three tiers of government to lay more emphasis on infrastructure development and creation of employment.
“Many Nigerians who travelled abroad go for skills acquisition. They want to impart such knowledge when they return,’’ he said.
Umealo said that though Nigeria and South Africa had agreed to check Xenophobia, the challenges of the low income earners in that country who carry out the attacks had not been addressed.
“The challenges of the low income earners have not been properly addressed and it will take time to take care of their interest,’’ he said.
Umealo called for concerted efforts to enlighten the people against the dangers of such attacks because it gives Africa negative image among the comity of nations. (NAN)
(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)
Xenophobia: Akeredolu receives returnees, promises enabling environment for new life
Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, on Friday, promised to give necessary support and provide an enabling environment for South African returnees of Ondo origin to start new lives.
Akeredolu, who received the returnees in his office, also presented cash gifts of N100,000 to each of the returnees for resettlement activities in their various communities.
Represented by his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, the governor particularly condemned the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other nationals living in South Africa by the indegenes.
He described the attacks as unwarranted, barbaric and condemnable.
Akeredolu commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his visit to South Africa to condemn the ugly incident and find a lasting solution to it.
He charged the returnees not to be discouraged by what had happened to them but to be ready to start a new life as they returned safely to Nigeria, their fatherland.
“We also have various windows of opportunities, including youths and women empowerment as well as agricultural and entrepreneurship programmes, among several others.
“Therefore, avail yourselves with any of them to better your lives,” he said.
According to Akeredolu, the returnees should not be hostile to any foreigner around them so that African countries can be a better place for all to live in.
The governor equally appreciated the management of Air Peace airline for conveying the returnees to the country, free of charge.
Earlier, Fola Olasehinde-Vincente, Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Diaspora Affairs, commended Akeredolu for his kind gesture towards the returnees by ensuring they settled down peacefully and happily.
She enjoined the returnees to strive to reintegrate themselves into the society, urging them to eschew all forms of crimes in the state.
Responding on behalf of the returnees, Sholanke Omolara, appreciated the state government for the support given to them.
She lamented their travails in South Africa, describing it ‘very terrible and nasty’. (NAN)
Edited by Olabisi Akinbode and ‘Wale Sadeeq
State visit: Group lauds Buhari for far-reaching steps to check xenophobia
The Progressive Students Movement (PSM) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for taking far-reaching steps to stop xenophobic attacks on Nigerians by South Africans during his ongoing state visit to South Africa.
The PSM, a pan-African students organisation, also lauded Buhari for using his state visit to South Africa to strengthen African unity and oneness.
The President of PSM in Nigeria, Mr Bestman Okereafor, gave the commendation in a statement made available to the Nigeria News Agency in Enugu on Friday.
Okereafor said it was a great relief that Buhari unequivocally condemned in strongest terms attacks against Nigerians and other African nationals living in South Africa as well as the looting of their shops, businesses and burning of their properties.
According to him, PSM aligns with Buhari’s call for the implementation of all necessary measures to prevent recurrence of xenophobic attacks, which he said, threatened the strong bilateral relations and vision of a united and prosperous Africa.
“PSM is, however, relieved with the signing of 32 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) by President Buhari and South Africa President, Cyril Ramaphosa, to strengthen bilateral trade, security and understanding between Nigeria and South Africa.
“PSM also wish to call on South African Government to ensure that all agreements between both countries are reached, aimed at strengthening Africa Unity, are fully carried out by the country’s government and her people.
“Even as we anticipate a national monumental center in the heart of South African capital in honour of Nigerians killed and in further appreciation of Nigeria’s fatherly support to South Africa during the apartheid struggle,’’ he said.
Okereafor also urged the South African Government to ensure sincerity of purpose to all its submission and agreement during President Buhari’s visit.
“The government must muster the political-will to carry out all existing and recently signed agreements,’’ he said. (NAN)
Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa/Tajudeen Atitebi
Xenophobia: Buhari, Ramaphosa endorse early warning mechanism against reoccurrence
President Muhamadu Buhari and his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday in Pretoria, South Africa endorsed the establishment of an Early Warning Mechanism as a preventative and monitoring platform against the reoccurrence of attacks.
Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs made this known in a joint commique issued in Pretoria following the State visit of President Buhari to South Africa.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the visit which was on the invitation of Ramaphosa also coincides with the inaugural session of the elevated Bi-National Commission (BNC) between Nigeria and South Africa.
In the communique, both Presidents condemned the recent violent incidents and destruction of property and reiterated their call for heightened law enforcement.
They stressed the importance of high level engagements on this unfortunate phenomenon as demonstrated by the reciprocal dispatch of Special Envoys by both countries.
To this regard, the two Presidents endorsed and directed the two Foreign Ministers of both countries to give practical expression to the Early Warning Mechanism to be used as a preventative and monitoring platform.
President Ramaphosa briefed President Buhari on the recent incidents of violence in South Africa affecting foreign nationals, alluding that these unfortunate incidents were not consistent with the values and principles underpinning South Africa’s constitutional democracy.
“Ramaphosa also dispelled the notion that incidents of violence affecting foreign nationals were targeted at Nigerian nationals, as other foreign nationals and indeed South Africans were affected as well.
“He assured Buhari that the South African Government was fully in control of the situation and several interventions including engagements with diplomatic community and émigré communities, security operations, policy and legislation reviews were underway.
“Both Presidents strongly condemned the attacks against foreign nationals including Nigerians in South Africa and the reprisal actions against South Africans and their interests in Nigeria, expressing strong commitment to stop a recurrence.
“Which they said undermine the vision of a strong and prosperous Africa that the two countries have for the continent.
“The two Presidents further endorsed the reestablishment of the Republic of South Africa and the Federal Republic of Nigeria consular Forum to meet twice a year”, the communiqué stated.
Presidents Buhari and Ramaphosa further reviewed a wide range of bilateral, continental and global issues of common interest.
They acknowledged the historical and strategic relations that exist between the two countries, and the need to further strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation.
Both Presidents noted with satisfaction the continued exchange of high level visits and meetings between the two countries, to which regard, they recalled the successful working visit of President Ramaphosa to Nigeria in July 2018.
They recalled that during the visit, both Heads of State reaffirmed their collective desire and commitment to enhance political, economic and social relations between the two countries.
“They both appreciated the vast nature of the two countries’ bilateral cooperation which covers, amongst others; Trade and Investment, Energy, Mining, Defence and Security issues, Justice, Police, Immigration, Tourism, Environment, Education, transport as well as Science and Technology.
“In this regard, the two Presidents took note of the thirty two (32) signed Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs).
“And committed themselves to ensuring that those which are in force are fully implemented while those which are not yet in force are to be revived for implementation.
Also contained in the Communique, Buhari and Ramaphosa noted with great satisfaction the economic cooperation between the two Republics and welcomed the steps to increase trade volumes as well as private sector investments.
They welcomed the important role of the Business Forum, which took place on the margins of the State Visit.
Both Presidents further welcomed the decision to establish a Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on Industry, Trade and Investment which the inauguration meeting of the Council would hold not later than April 2020, in Abuja.
They explained that the Council is expected to serve as a critical vehicle in facilitating and promoting private sector participation in the economies of both countries.
Both leaders took note of the significant footprint of South African businesses operating in Nigeria in sectors such as telecommunications, mining, aviation, banking and finance, retail, property, entertainment and fast foods industries.
They also noted and welcomed the business activities of Nigeria’s small, micro and medium enterprises, as well as the investment of Dangote Sephaku Cement in South Africa.
They exchanged views on the current political, economic and security situation in their respective regions, expressing grave concern on the ongoing instability, terrorism and extremism in some of the countries on the Continent.
Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to working together in pursuit of sustainable peace and economic development on the continent in the context of AU Agenda 2063 and the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. (NAN)
edited by Sadiya Hamza
Xenophobia: Six Nigerian students cancel trip for Robotics Competition in South Africa
The six Nigerian students that will represent the country at the Africa Robotics Challenge (ARC) in South Africa on Sept. 28 have cancelled their trip to the country for safety.
The students announced cancellation of their trip at at a news conference on Monday in Lagos, saying that the organisers had failed to guarantee their safety throughout the duration of the competition.
The students are: Tirenioluwa Shobande, 18, a 100 level Systems Engineering student of the University of Lagos (UNILAG); Ifeoluwa Aigbiniode, 15, of Yaba College of Technology Secondary School, and Jeffrey Nwafor, 15, of S-TEE International School.
Others are 19-year-old Kolawole Olatunji, a 100 level Computer Science Education student of Lagos State University (LASU), Toluwanimi Akinola, 15, Dansol High School and Aromolaran Dominion, 14, Supreme Education Foundation.
The national Coordinator, Mrs Remi Willoughby, said that the organisers had informed her of their inability to provide adequate security and guarantee the safety of the students while in South Africa.
Willoughby said the organisers hinted that while in South Africa, the Nigerian competitors would neither disclose their nationality nor will they be able to go out for sight seeing for the duration of the competition.
According to her, the host says that the event will not be given publicity and that no one else will be invited to witness the competition.
“This competition we are supposed to go for is Africa Robotics Challenge, it is a product of first Robotics Challenge which we have been going for in the last few years.
“We planned to go to South Africa for this robotics competition which is basically supposed to be for few African countries and would have held on Sept. 28.
“However, we will not be attending because of the situation in South Africa currently.
“And the fact that I cannot personally guarantee the safety of the students while there, and with our host telling us that even if we come, it will not be announced.
“That we have to come quietly and we will not wear our Nigeria T-shirts and that the bus that will convey us will not display our logo of Green, White, Green, so how can we proudly showcase our country?”
According to her, beyond the host not guaranteeing safety, there is the need to support our brothers and sisters who have not been treated fairly in South Africa.
She added that attending the competition would also be like betrayal of trust; we are also glad the parents of the students agreed that it was not safe to make the trip.
“So, we decided it was not the best thing to risk the lives of the students at this time in the name of a competition.”
One of the students, Aigbiniode expressed disappointment over the situation, saying they had worked hard for the competition.
She, however, said it was not all disappointing moments “because we learnt the process of building and developing a robot.”
She said that the competition was basically on First Tech Challenge and on Space Mission .
For Tirenioluwa, Robotics is like any other game or competition that brings people together no matter the race or tribe.
“I see robotics going very far not only in the aspect of being a game but helping different countries to solve issues and develop technology.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that Whatis.techtarget.com’’ defines robotics as a branch of engineering that involves the conception, design, manufacture and operation of robots.
This field overlaps with electronics, computer science, artificial intelligence, mechatronics, nanotechnology and bio-engineering.
A robot is a machine designed to execute one or more tasks automatically with speed and precision.
(Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa/Peter Ejiofor)
Xenophobia: Nigerian Union in S/Africa lauds Air Peace boss for benevolence
( ) The Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA) has lauded the Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, for his benevolence towards evacuation of Nigerans from South Africa.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the management of Air Peace, in collaboration with the Federal Government, evacuated 187 Nigerians from South Africa on Sept. 11.
They also evacuated another set of 320 that arrived Nigeria on Wednesday.
NUSA President, Adetola Olubajo, said in a statement that the gesture was an act of absolute humanity to nationhood displayed by Air Peace.
According to NUSA, the umbrella organisation of Nigerans in South Africa, the gesture came at a point when all hope seemed to have been lost in a far-away nation.
“It was great and humbling to hear Allen Onyema say he would do whatever it took to rescue the situation.
“He emphasized his disposition to make a difference in the society for national interest and for this, we say he is a rare breed in our generation,” N said
Olubajo also added that Onyema had constantly been a source of inspiration to people who appreciate philanthropic gestures.
Edited by Muftau Adediran/Wale Ojetimi
Xenophobia: Rep. tells legislators to donate to Air Peace crew
A member of the House of Representatives, Dr Ajibola Muraina (PDP-Oyo), has urged his colleagues to donate at least N100,000 each for the cabin crew of Air Peace Airline involved in the rescuing stranded Nigerians suffering xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
Muraina made the call while addressing newsmen on Thursday in Abuja.
He commended the house for taking the lead in honouring the Chairman of the Airline, Chief Allen Onyema, who is evacuating stranded Nigerians in South Africa free of charge.
The legislator said that the pilots and cabin crew refused to collect their due allowances, offering it as their contribution to nation-building.
Muraina said that the actions of Onyema and his staff should reawaken the milk of kindness Nigerians are know for all over the world.
“The National Assembly has taken the lead in appreciating the return of the spirit of selfiessness, being our brothers’ keepers and exhibiting milk of kindness.
“I humbly suggest that the National Assembly should demonstrate a further lead by example.
“I suggest most humbly that my noble colleagues from the National Assembly should consider making token donations from their salaries, whatever amount they deem it starting from N100,000 each upwards, for the cabin crew of Air peace.
“They have worked and continue to work without taking any allowance, the Nigerians that have been evacuated back to Nigeria and those that may still further be evacuated.
“This token may be useful for the evacuated Nigerians in whatever form, the cabin crew would also have been appreciated somehow.
“This may signpost a new beginning of Nigerians demonstrating milk of kindness towards each other,” he said.
The lawmaker said that the conduct of Onyema should be seen as a clarion call on all Nigerians of financial and other capacities all over the world to be selfless and be willing and ready at all times to assist fellow countrymen.
Edited by Kayode Olaitan
Xenophobia: Nigeria, South Africa to hold Bi-National conference next month
The next session of the Nigeria-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) would hold in Pretoria in October to evolve documented solutions to xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in that country, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mustapha Suleiman, has said.
Suleiman told the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs on Thursday in Abuja that the BNC, which would be attended by Nigerian and South African officials, was part of government’s efforts at ending attacks of Nigerian nationals in South Africa.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Nigeria-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) was established in 1999 to promote trade and investment as well as enhance people-to-people cooperation and institution building between the two countries.
According to its statute, the BNC, which was being headed by vice presidents of both countries, was “borne out of a commitment by Nigeria and South Africa to effectively structure bilateral relations through the establishment of a Bi-National Commission”.
The annual meeting of the Nigeria-South Africa Bi-National Commission, which was being hosted by rotation between both countries, was last held in 2009.
Suleiman said that the meeting would result in the signing of agreements and memorandum of understanding (MoU) between both countries on how best to remedy issues of Xenophobia now and in the future.
“Essentially, now we are trying to make sure that we have subsisting agreements that will address these issues now and in the future .
“We are looking at other issues we feel should be part of the definition of the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa.
“The essence of this is that it will help to determine our actions, if such issue happens, which I think in the last few years we had not had such agreements.
“Because xenophobic attacks had been happening over time but, this is the climax and it has come to fore that South African government must protect Nigerian citizens.
“And it requires some kind of documentation, some kind of understanding between the two countries as to how it can be remedied,’’ the permanent secretary said.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the ministry to use the conference to bring up all the issues that are challenging and irritating Nigeria’s relationship with South Africa.
He said the Minster of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyema, had also convened an inter-ministerial meeting with various ministries in Nigeria to get inputs on other issues to be brought for discussion at the conference.
“And we have defined all the perimeters, we now have our draft MoUs and draft agreements that will be tabled for discussion, when the bilateral commission is conveyed on the first week of October.
“We look forward to the conference, we look forward to signing agreements and MoUs in specific terms, when such issues happens to Nigerian citizens.
“What kind of remedies can we put in place, so we are defining such parameters, we are seeking to establish them as agreements, so we can refer to it to solve these issues when they come up in the future,” he said.
Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Mohammed Bulkachuwa, said the committee invited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to brief it on what the ministry had done over the attacks.
Bulkachuwa commended the Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, for helping to evacuate Nigerians who volunteered to come back.
He said the call for a national honour for Onyema deserved consideration, noting that his actions would inspire other Nigerians to help alleviate challenges of Nigerian nationals in need of assistance.
Edited by Wale Ojetimi
Xenophobia: LASG gives N20,000 each to 2nd batch of 315 returnees from South Africa
The Lagos State Government on Wednesday gave a sum of N20,000 to each of the second batch of 315 Nigerians evacuated from South Africa.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the fresh batch of returnees arrived a week after another 187 Nigerians fleeing xenophobia came back from South Africa.
The joyous returnees arrived at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at about 7.21p.m aboard an Air Peace B777 aircraft with registration number 5N-BWI.
The flight, which originated from the OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg was received by Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and Air Peace Chairman, Mr Allen Onyema.
Also on ground was Mr Jermaine Sanwo-Olu, Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Diaspora.
Presenting the token on behalf of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Mr Jermaine Sanwo-Olu said that the money was a palliative for the returnees.
Sanwo-Olu said that the returnees from Lagos State would be transferred to the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), where they would be trained on skill acquisition.
Dabiri-Erewa told newsmen that the returnees would be profiled according to their states and local governments of origin to complement the federal government’s effort in reintegrating them.
She said apart from giving the returnees stipends to get back to their respective states, there was also a medical team on ground to provide assistance to those with medical conditions.
Dabiri-Erewa also noted that the Nigeria High Commission was working with the South African authorities to reduce the unnecessary delays which had so far characterised the evacuation exercise.
On his part, Onyema told newsmen that some Nigerians were stranded in South Africa for over four years and could not return home due to financial difficulties and lack of proper documentation.
He said: “What Air Peace is doing to freely evacuate Nigerians from South Africa is part of our support to the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and we are doing it wholeheartedly.
“The airline is only asking the government to do what it has been doing to facilitate the smooth return of the Nigerians.
“We are not asking for any refund because we knew that the cost of evacuating the Nigerians will exceed N300 million at the end of the day.
“We are so happy that even our pilots and crew that went to South Africa refused to take their allowances saying that it is their own way of showing patriotism,” Onyema said.
He commended the Nigerian government for the matured diplomatic way it was handling the xenophobia issue with its South African counterpart and called on other well-meaning Nigerians to assist in the resettlement of the returnees.
One of the returnees, Chuks Okoma from Delta State, thanked God for sparing his life considering the ordeal faced by Nigerians in South Africa.
Okoma said that he had been in South Africa for six years without a job and sleeping in the street.
Another returnee, Michael Udoh, narrated how some foreigners were burnt in South Africa, adding that they were unable to move around.
Udoh, who had been in South Africa for six years, said that the country refused to renew his work permit after it expired, thus making him jobless.
Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Wale Ojetimi
Breaking: 2nd batch of Nigerian returnees fleeing xenophobia arrive from S/Africa
The second batch of Nigerian returnees fleeing from xenophobic attacks in South Africa arrived in Nigeria on Wednesday.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the fleeing returnees were aided by the Federal Government with the assistance of a Nigerian carrier, Air Peace.
The B777 aircraft, with registration number 5N-BWI, which departed Oliver Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, landed at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, at 7.22 p.m.
More details later …….
edited by Emmanuel Nwoye/Wale Ojetimi
Xenophobia damaged image of South Africa – expert
Mr Steven Gruzd, the Head of African Governance and Diplomacy Programme (AGDP) in South African Institute of International Affairs, says xenophobia has damaged the image and reputation of South Africa.
He said that the government of South Africa had not put in place adequate policies and campaigns to fight xenophobia.
According to him, the government seemed impotent and reluctant to believe that the situation is Xenophobia.
“Politicians have used anti-migrant rhetoric that has gone viral and influenced people on the ground.
“There are also, undoubtedly, criminals and thugs that take advantage of the chaos.
“It’s a toxic mix which makes poor Africans from other countries targets of the mob mentality.
“An outreach to African embassies is a good start to addressing the problem and I believe a massive anti-xenophobia campaign is urgently needed.
“Perhaps, the cancellation of football friendlies by Zambia and Madagascar might begin to make the message clear,” Gruzd said.
reports that following the attacks, Nigeria also pulled out of the World Economic Forum for Africa which was held from Sept. 4 to Sept. 6 in Cape Town, South Africa, among other diplomatic measures in protest of the attacks.
Gruzd said the situation, which sprang up every few years was embarrassing, regrettable and unacceptable.
“It has done immense damage to the social fabric of the country and the image of South Africa internationally, especially among other African states.
“Some have characterised this as a war among the poor.
“South Africa faces dire economic circumstances with tremendous poverty, inequality and unemployment pushing towards 30 per cent.
“This leaves the young and old frustrated, disillusioned and angry.
“They look for scapegoats, and people from other countries quickly become easy targets,” he said.
Gruzd said that the xenophobic attacks were like scabs that kept getting picked and bled afresh.
“It seems there is the need for tough conversations ahead because the relationship between South Africa and Nigeria is critical for the success of Africa.
“I believe it is important that Nigeria takes a tough stance on the violence against its nationals and others in South Africa,” he said.
The South African Government has formally apologised to Nigerians and the Nigerian Government over the attacks on foreign nationals, including Nigerians in that country.
The apology was conveyed by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Special Envoy to Nigeria, Mr Jeff Radebe, when he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday.
also reports that the South African airport authorities on Tuesday delayed granting landing permit to Air Peace to carry out evacuation of 320 Nigerians.
Edited by Kamal Tayo Oropo/Tajudeen Atitebi
Xenophobia: Tee Mac urges FG to prioritise tackling unemployment
Nigerian flutist, Omatshola Iseli, popularly known as `Tee Mac’ on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to intensify efforts in solving the nation’s problems of unemployment and poverty.
Iseli told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos that the aforementioned problems in the country had created an unnecessary quest among youths to seek means of livelihood in other countries.
“Nigerians and nationals of other countries were caught up in the xenophobic attack in South Africa due to unemployment and the poor economy.
“The xenophobic attack by South Africans was instigated by its citizens’ jealousy of Nigerians and other nationals staying and working there.
“Due to the hardworking nature of Nigerians, they dominated virtually all businesses available in South Africa.’’
He said that he had been to most parts of South Africa and observed that Nigerians were doing well over there; they had practically taken over all businesses there.
“Nigerians are a hardworking people, that is the reason you see them in other countries solving one problem or the other.
“But they do not want to remain in their own country because it does not look promising to them.
“The Federal Government must wake up and make sure that solving problems of unemployment, poverty, power outage, and security are its priorities.
“When these problems are tackled, we will have the capacity to retain our own hardworking and intelligent citizens and develop our economy,” he said.
Iseli said that as a well-travelled entertainer, he had observed that the bulk of professionals Nigeria has are based in other countries.
Iseli said that a boost in the nation’s economy would attract international investors and Nigerians in the Diaspora.
Edited by Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Peter Dada
Xenophobia: Leadership institute lauds Air Peace chief for `patriotic’ service to countrymen
Initiative for Leadership Development and Change (ILDC) has praised Air Peace chief executive Chief Allen Onyema for offering to evacuate Nigerian returnees from South Africa free of charge.
Mr Onyekachi Ebere-Njoku, Deputy National Coordinator of ILDC made the commendation in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja on Wednesday.
Following the recent unfortunate xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals, including Nigerians in South Africa, the proprietor of Air Peace Airlines volunteered to send an aircraft from Sept. 6 to evacuate Nigerians who wished to return to Nigeria free of charge.
Ebere-Njoku described Onyema as a true patriot, whose selfless service should be emulated by all well-meaning Nigerians.
He said: “There are many Nigerians, who are in the position to assist Nigerian citizens, who need assistance in South Africa, with their private jets especially as it concerns the xenophobic attacks but they did not.
“By his decision and action, Onyema has shown love for both his country and his countrymen.
“I think that he deserves to be honored for quality leadership by the Initiative for Leadership Development and Change.”
The deputy coordinator of the initiative praised the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government for the promise it made to assist the returnees with funds to enable them to start up small enterprises for self-sustenance.
According to him, such opportunity will avail the returnees the opportunity to better their livelihood.
Ebere-Njoku, who condemned xenophobia in totality, urged the South African government to do all it could to end xenophobia in the country in the interest of the socio-political and economic growth and development of Africa.
The Initiative for Leadership Development and Change was established to promote l;eadership efficiency for economic prosperity and stability in Nigeria in particular, and in Africa at large.
(Edited by Zainab Garba/Emmanuel Yashim)
Xenophobia: Gbajabiamila commends Air Peace Airlines, others
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila (APC-Lagos), has commended Mr Allen Onyema, Chairman, Air Peace Airlines, for assisting to repatriate Nigerians from South Africa.
Gbajabiamila gave the commendation while addressing lawmakers at the plenary on Tuesday.
According to him, Onyema is worthy of commendation for providing his organisation’s services without charge to repatriate Nigerians who were willing to return home from South Africa.
The speaker said that Onyema acted without consideration of cost, tribe or personal interest.
The parliamentarian said that the Air Peace helmsman acted for his patriotism and love for his country, adding that Nigeria owed him a debt of gratitude.
Gbajabiamila also commended the actions of Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) who, without equivocation, condemned the attacks.
He said that Malema also directed his organisation to provide aid and protection to Nigerians facing harm.
EFF and a respected voice in the politics of that nation.
He, without equivocation, condemned the attacks and directed his organisation to provide aid and protection to our citizens facing harm.
“He has since then, never relented in calling out the failures of the government that allowed the attacks to occur and to continue.
n the same vein, Allen Onyema, Chairman of Air Peace Airlines for providing services without charge, to repatriate Nigerians who were willing to return home to escape the carnage that had been visited upon them,” he said.
The speaker also commended the efforts of the Federal Government in addressing the issues that gave rise to these unsavory events.
He said that the Federal Government was holding the government of South Africa accountable through the available diplomatic channels.
e will continue to support these efforts by whatever means is required of us.
Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Kayode Olaitan
Xenophobia: S. African authorities again frustrate evacuation of second batch of Nigerians
The evacuation of the second batch of Nigerians from South Africa owing to ongoing xenophobic attacks, suffered an interruption on Tuesday following the delay in granting landing permit to Air Peace.
The airline has volunteered to evacuate Nigerians willing to return to the country following the recent violence against foreigners in the southern African country.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the airline in collaboration with the Federal Government had on Sept. 11 evacuated the first batch of 187 Nigerians from South Africa.
There was a plan for the airline to evacuate another batch of 320 Nigerians who had indicated interest to return home, with the flight expected to arrive in Lagos at 7.00p.m on Tuesday.
However, Mr Allen Onyema, Chairman of Air Peace, told newsmen in Lagos that the airline’s B777 aircraft deployed for the operation was still on standby at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.
According to him, the aircraft is supposed to have departed Lagos at 1.00 am, but was denied landing permit by the South African authorities.
“We did not take off at 1:00am as scheduled because South African authorities are yet to give us landing permit.
“We are hopeful that they will give us the permit. Our crew waited till 3:00 am, but when the permit did not come, they went back to the hotel.
“Once we get the permit we will set off to South Africa. We don’t want to speculate but we are hopeful they will give the permit,”Onyema said.
reports that the South African authorities had on Sept. 11 also prevented some Nigerians from leaving the country, by insisting on a fresh profiling exercise in spite of the one earlier conducted by the Nigerian High Commission.
The situation led to several hours of delay before 187 of the more than 300 Nigerians were successfully evacuated.
(Edited by Emmanuel Okara/Emmanuel Yashim)