• Buhari: Leaders of both countries to meet on improving relations
• President reminds those he locked up, he suffered the same fate
Jaiyeola Andrews with agency report
The Nigerian Union in South Africa has reported new xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other foreigners in Sternkopf, Namakwa Municipality in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
The president of the union, Ikechukwu Anyene, said yesterday in Pretoria, that the Northern Cape Province chapter chairman of the union reported the incident to its national secretariat, a day after the union led other Nigerians to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari, who was in South Africa for the African Union Summit.
“The National Secretariat of Nigeria Union has received a report of xenophobic attacks from Mr. Kennedy Osagie, the Northern Cape Province chapter chairman of the union.
“The report indicated that South Africans attacked Nigerians.
“Two cars belonging to Nigerians have been reportedly burnt and they have been going from house to house looting and destroying their property,” he alleged.
Anyene, who said that there were 20 Nigerians living in the affected community, added that none had been reported dead in the incident, reported the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
“Six Nigerians have taken refuge with their families in nearby SpringBok community and they do not know the whereabouts of the other Nigerians,” he said.
He said that the union had reported the incident to the Nigerian Consulate in South Africa.
Nigeria’s Consul General in South Africa, Ambassador Uche Ajulu-Okeke, confirmed the incident, saying the mission had commenced investigations.
“The Nigerian Consulate in South Africa has received a report of new xenophobic attacks in Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
“The mission has commenced investigation into the incident and will ensure that Nigerians are safe in South Africa,” she said.
South Africa was hit by a wave of deadly xenophobic attacks between March and April 2015, with locals attacking and killing at least five African migrants.
The tension subsided after widespread condemnation.
The report on the attacks came on the heels of Buhari’s interactive meeting with the Nigerian community in South Africa on Monday.
During the meeting, he charged Nigerians resident in South Africa to be good ambassadors of their country, adding that leaders from both countries would soon meet to discuss several issues bordering on their relationship.
“Those of you who have the opportunity to come here and represent us, make sure that you are representing Nigeria well, you are all ambassadors of Nigeria. This means a lot of patience, restraint, self-respect and pride. You must have all these,” he said.
Buhari also promised that his government would completely stamp out corruption in Nigeria.
“Government is determined to secure the country, manage the economy, create employment and fight corruption. Some articulate writers have said if we do not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria. This APC administration intends to kill corruption in Nigeria. We will do our best, I assure you,” Buhari said.
The president added that he would stop at nothing at implementing the cardinal policies of his administration in order to move the country forward.
He stressed that his government was determined to secure the country, improve the economy and eliminate corruption.
According to him, the G7 leaders had expressed commitment to helping Nigeria tackle insecurity as well as develop its oil and gas sectors.
“We are getting the facts and logistic requirements,” he said.
Buhari told his Nigerian audience that leaders of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) had set up a military command headquarters in Chad with a Nigerian general heading it, adding that eliminating the Boko Haram insurgency was a foremost priority of his government.
When asked if he had any regrets over some of his actions when he was a military head of state 30 years ago, Buhari reminded his audience that those accusing him of imprisoning them during his days as a military ruler should remember that he was also kept behind bars for more than three years.
Going down memory lane, he encouraged those in attendance not to give up on their targets, reported online news website, The Cable.
“This is my first time of attending these types of meetings (AU) and they go on and on until about 1 in the morning. And then you are supposed to start in the morning again. Everybody is repeating what the other speaker has said instead of keeping their mouths shut. Anyways, it is a great experience,” he said.
“I have listened to the address paraphrased by the counsel-general. I’m pleased that wherever Nigerians are whether in South Africa or Saudi Arabia or Europe or Alaska for that matter, you’ll make an impact both positive and negative.
“There is no way 160 million people or more cannot make an impact wherever they are. We have so many cultures and nationalities.
“At a point I was very frightened; [I] don’t know how many of you kept records. I was afraid Nigeria might be like Somalia. The Somalis are the same people; they are all Muslims but because the elite are self-centred, selfish, they have succeeded in making Somalia a war-torn country for the last 20 years.
“For that reason, I said Nigerians are much more vulnerable, we have so many nationalities no matter how you look at it – Hausa-Fulanis, Kanuris, Ishekiris, Yorubas, Igbos. We are actually people of different cultures but since 1914, we have merged in spite of religion and culture, married across, produced children and only crazy people can think of balkanising Nigeria.
“But we are not short of crazy people, that is the frightening part of it. But I assure you that after being in the military for 25 years, and getting to the highest rank and becoming head of state and under unusual circumstances, I went straight to detention for three and a half years so those who accused me of locking them up, I too have been locked up, so what?”
At the meeting, Ambassador Ajulu-Okeke informed Buhari that a total of 143 Nigerians were killed in South Africa between 2011 and 2014, while another 81 were in Johannesburg prisons.
“Out of this 81 Nigerians, 21 have been convicted,” she said, adding that shops and other property worth millions of rand belonging to Nigerians were destroyed during the wave of xenophobic attacks between April and May.
Anyene, in her remarks, congratulated Buhari on his election and inauguration, saying: “Your victory is victory over poverty, hunger and signals hope for the common man.”
He urged the president to facilitate compensation for Nigerians affected by the xenophobic attacks.
Wednesday, 17 June 2015