The Nigerian government has called on the African Union, (AU) to intervene in SA xenophobic attacks on black foreigners, particularly Nigerians.
The Nigerian presidency had on Monday called the attention of African Union on the rising SA xenophobic attacks on its citizens and other Africans in the South African country.
The country said there was a need for the continental body to “intervene urgently,” claiming that in the last two years “about 116” Nigerians had been killed, including 20 last year.
“This is unacceptable to the people and government of Nigeria,” a senior presidential aide on foreign affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said in an emailed statement.
The call for AU’s intervention follows a massive attack on foreigners in parts of the country as citizens labels them criminals. The discriminatory attacks which seemed to have been tamed by state government in the past months after a nationwide attack in 2015, was allegedly rekindled after Mayor Mashaba ordered ‘illegal’ foreigners out of Johannesburg.
Early last December, Mashaba told a media conference that illegal immigrants got there criminally and should be treated as such.
On this note, residents of Rosettenville in Joburg city, waged a war against foreigners insisting they must leave the community while they urged the government to conduct a lifestyle audit on suspected criminals in the suburb.
Rosettenville has since then, remained hot in violence as citizens went on a burning spree, destroying homes belonging to foreigners as they urged them to leave their area.
Dozens of homes were torched in the Johannesburg south suburb as well as a night club, a brothel and an alleged drug den which were apparently being run by Nigerians. Several residential buildings believed to be housing foreign criminal syndicates and sex workers were burnt down, while a couple of Malawians lost their lives in the process.
Though the genesis of the violence can be traced back to a housing dispute, Gigaba believes comments made by Mashaba at the end of last year could have sparked the community to take the law into their own hands.
The African Diaspora Forum (ADM) chairperson, Mr. Marc Gbaffou, confirmed the attacks and blamed Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba, for his inflammatory comments.
The Nigerian Union in South Africa said there were about 800,000 Nigerians in South Africa, many of them living in Johannesburg and though there was no independent verification of the claimed number of deaths during the SA xenophobic attacks, there are speculations that Nigerian were part of the those attacked.
As community members continue to loot stores and burn down brothels and homes of suspected drug dealers, the Mamelodi concerned residents have organised a march against foreign nationals, set for Friday.
They say government has prioritized the employment of foreigners ahead of locals, the hijacking of buildings and alleged drug dealing by foreigners.
Dabiri-Erewa renewed Abuja’s call on the government in Pretoria to take “decisive and definite measures” to protect Nigerian citizens and other Africans in South Africa.
She said there was credible information that more SA xenophobic attacks were being planned for Wednesday and Thursday.
Nigeria has met senior South African officials, including the resident high commissioner to protest against the attacks on its citizens.