My attention was drawn to South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Mr. Malusi Gigaba’s statement in the aftermath of the xenophobic attacks, which has also brought reprisal attacks on MTN, a South African business conglomerate that “such issues were better discussed at the diplomatic levels” when more than 100 Nigerian lives have been lost in South Africa.
While it’s no longer news that law-abiding Nigerians in that country have borne the major brunt of these attacks, the news by the Home Affairs Minister that his country is trying to get rid of criminals in his country at the time when indiscriminate mayhem and looting of law-abiding Nigerians is very suspicious, to say the least. Even if this unguarded statement must be taken in its face value, we wonder if wanton destruction and indiscriminate killing of their African brothers is the most sensible excuse to give. The home affairs minister should have been more guarded and introspective in his statements so as not to further fan the embers of xenophobia that may get out control if care is not taken.
Nigeria and South Africa have a long-standing diplomatic relationship in which the former played a critical, if not a pivotal role that culminated in ending apartheid, among so many of her positive interventions.
It’s apt to mention at this juncture that the home affairs minister only met with African consulates forum, an association of African consuls general, based in South Africa recently , despite the fact that this meeting was long overdue.
The days that the Nigerian government will fold its arms while its citizens are maltreated to the point that some of them have lost their lives for no just cause are long gone.
Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa
SSA Foreign Affairs and Diaspora