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Xenophobic attack on Nigerians in SA

The recent xenophobic attack on Nigerians by South Africans is the worst attack on Nigerians in Diaspora. It is shocking to see how Nigerians are slaughtered on the streets of South Africa and the International media is quiet, the Nigerian media is quiet, and there is no drastic reaction from the Government of Nigeria.

Let’s go down memory lane. South Africa gained its independence from Great Britain in 1934, the African National Congress, which was formed 22 years prior to South Africa gaining its independence, did not gain power until 1994. The all-white National Party started apartheid in South Africa. The party seized power in 1948 and proceeded to enforce previously existing segregation policies. Apartheid was a policy that had many years of precedent before it was finally enacted in 1948. Racial segregation and policies that reflected white supremacy were a big part of the South African political landscape for a long time before the official beginning of apartheid. Apartheid forced the black majority in the country to live in areas separated from whites and to use different public facilities. Apartheid remained in effect until 1991, when it started being repealed.

During the apartheid era that stripped away their rights in their own land, laws were passed to separate blacks and Indians from whites and from each other in South Africa at that time. They were made to carry badges indicating their race. Laws also were passed to designate certain jobs as white only. The black South Africans have lived through violence and oppression for decades, the shedding of blood means nothing to them because they were subjected to that treatment for so long. What we are witnessing today on the streets of South Africa is the aftermath effect of Apartheid on the psyche of the average South African. 700 protesting South African students were massacred by the SA white police. The people have been brutalized and dehumanized in the past and they need true healing in that land. Without which they cannot truly love themselves nor love others.

People must know the history of a place before they decide to relocate there. Nigerian lives have been wasted in South Africa. I hear a man and his wife with their two children were burnt to death in the recent attack. 4 pregnant women were also burnt to death. I cannot blame Nigerians for looking for greener pastures in South Africa, one would have thought that since Nigeria made tremendous sacrifice to end Apartheid by spending 61 Billion dollars for this course, the South African people would at least be happy to receive them but instead what we get is the people biting the finger that fed them.

Now that they have turned their back on Nigerians, what action has the Nigerian govt taken to save the remaining Nigerians that are endangered in South Africa. Just the way they spent billions to save South Africans, how much have they spent to save Nigerians who are under attack in South Africa? I have been looking out for news from Nigeria but all I read is that they are sending warnings to South African Govt, is the South African Government ignorant of what their people are doing to Nigerians? Is their police force untrained not to send a squad to stop the mob action against Nigerians in South Africa? So many unanswered questions. I saw a crowd of South Africans gathered with sharp machetes to kill Nigerians, their business places has been raided and burnt and yet they complain that Nigerians are taking their jobs, Nigerians are selling drugs etc does that warrant the brutal killings of their own brothers and sisters? Africans are related because we share a common heritage but am shocked at how South Africans have fallen so low that animals seem now to have more conscience.

This brings to reality the fact that the black man does not value life, lets go down memory lane again, how we Nigerians kill our own, record it and send it to the world, we kill petty thieves, I can never forget Aluu 4, the four young men that were burnt to death in Port-Harcourt, there is a saying that "The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others". What goes around comes around. I urge all Nigerians in South Africa to come back home, I plead with the Nigerian government to help bring our people back home an rehabilitate them, at least you won’t spent as much as 61 billion dollars to save your own people. Now is the hour of need for Nigerians in SA. This is not the first xenophobic attack on Nigerians in SA so we should not expect them to stop suddenly when they have not been fully healed from their past.

Apostle Hilda Oti

Journalist Paris-France.

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