Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Xenophobia: Nigerians vs. South Africa

Examining the fate of Nigerians in the recent South Africa Xenophobic reaction.

The gory picture in the media about the recent South Africa Xenophobic reaction reveals a society gone out of order. The kind of treatment meted out to fellow Africans and especially Nigerians stand condemned in the light of any justification by these erratic youths.

With the recent escalation, this reaction has now gone out of hand. Governments of nation whose citizens were mobbed and killed must rise in unison to curtail this menace. The manner of it especially against the Nigerians is completely unacceptable. Nigerian government need to rise to the occasion and take action. We must condemn it in its entirety and seek for fairer treatment. If need be, our government must insist and stand her ground by asking for a redefinition of the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

Nigeria government has been very slow at responding to most issue affecting Nigerians abroad. There are several cases that our people had expected a rather definitive approach but were handled with disdain. Why does everybody have to take from Nigeria and we are not just reaching out to take advantage of getting something back? How unfortunate that as yet with the escalation of injuries and deaths inflicted on Nigerians by these outraged xenophobic youths, not a single government official either home or abroad is yet to make a statement regarding the situation? How can we condone such madness meted out to our people when America will declare war to be there for one citizen of the United States of America?

Is it not a historical irony that Nigerians should be served with the unjust treatment as the colonial or apartheid-led whites gave some years ago? And even in that struggle against oppression, the price paid by the government and people of Nigeria is quite enormous. Our people fought, matched, protested, died and celebrated with songs and supports of diverse providence the course of South Africans especially towards their emancipation from the shackles of apartheid. Various delegations on their behalf foresaw our government using the hard-earn resources of the Nigerians to venture and join voices in the several talks leading to their freedom. This twist is certainly to our disadvantage and shame.

Lest we have forgotten, Nigerians economy now harbors the best of their businesses. For goodness sake, the lists of Nigerian-based multinational companies wholly owed or controlled by South Africa people or government is far greater than the hundreds of Nigeria migrants residing in that country. Nigerians are not destroying any of MTN’s installation even when their services are poor and genuine reasons to rampage are evident. As far back as 2003, media reports across the globe had begun to feature writings about the invasion of the South Africans into the Nigerian economy. Today, this influx is far greater than imagined. In the Lagos (the business capital of Nigeria) alone, we have Shoprite, MTEL, Woolworth, Chicken Republic, Bassellos, Steers, St Elmos, and DSTV/Multichoice. Even the media is not spared in this conquest. Bussinessday, a Nigerian business reporting newspaper also have Johnnic Communications – a South African media giant for her partner. Even the largest tourism project in the Nigeria, the Tinapa project, is a joint venture between Standard Bank, Broll, and Southern Sun - all South African firms. Entech, a South African engineering firm is also handling the redevelopment of Lagos's Bar Beach and Victoria Island waterfront at a whooping contract sum of $3 billion. Another South African firm, Group Five, is said to be building a power station in the Niger River delta. The connection between Nigerian advertising and entertainment industries with professionals from South Africa is also a deeply rooted romance.

This information is source from the media in whom the Nigerian masses depends for information and education from time to time. So, Nigerians are quite aware of what is going on. This supposed take-over of our economy by the South Africans was never at any time misinterpreted. Our perception and relationship with these businesses have with utmost cordiality and civility – as, fellow Africans. These companies have created thousands of jobs and are contributing to our economy. Properly investigated, Nigerians working with these organizations or their affiliate establishments would have one or two things to say about fair or unfair treatments. And certainly, there could be individuals outside this frame who’ll have come up with such insane idea about the activities of foreign companies in Nigeria as envisioned and implemented by these out-of-control xenophobic South Africans.

The greatest impetuous to this assault by the South Africans on was unfortunately given by the Nigerians government. How? The slow pace of reacting on matters of this importance is exasperating, the deliberate business waivers given to these companies when new tax laws are requiring of our small-scale business such outrageous and business suffocating payments, as well as the patronage enjoyed by South African immigrants in Nigeria which are often denied our citizens all contribute to sell Nigerians too cheap. In this interaction, Nigerians must reject the terms of this exchange as it is no longer favorable. With all the calculated almost becoming a genocidal treatment on our immigrants, it is high time to defend the rights of the Nigerians abroad.

Any failure to heed this warning will be met with equal treatment to the citizens and establishment owed by these countries. Consequently, the South African government must quickly call to order this rascals glamorizing genocide as a trivia self-defense. Compensation to those hospitalized and family of deceased must be given. There is no need to set up any enquiry panel as this will prolong the granting of compensation and justice. Howbeit, culprits of this madness should be made to face appropriate penalty. This intervention deserves high priority, putting a permanent end to the series of xenophobic reactions coming from this region.

1 comment:

bankelele said...

It's unfortunate what has happened in SA, though I don't think that Nigerians have been targeted in the xenophobic attacks, over any other Africans.

This is a crisis for SA, magnified because of the upcoming presidential elections, Zimbabwe implosion and of course the world cup.

SA investors in Nigeria, or other countries should not be threatened, unless citizens of those countries are as mis-guided as the SA youth