By Debo Oshundun/NAN
President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed shock over the large number of Nigerian citizens in various prisons in South Africa.
The president also blasted those criticising his administrations for corruption, saying they are the most corrupt bunch of Nigerians.
Mr. Jonathan told the Nigerian community in South Africa on Monday in Cape Town, South Africa that the high number of Nigerians in South African prisons did not speak well about Nigeria.
“I was told that more than 250,000 Nigerians are living in South Africa and that more than 400 are in prison serving various jail terms.
“This is a bad example of what Nigerians in the Diaspora should be; there are some countries like Malawi and Uganda that no Nigerian is in prison.
“Most Nigerians are doing very well abroad in various professional callings.
“There are Nigerians living in South Africa making good name for us but a few of you are doing things in different ways.
“There is need for these few Nigerians to be good ambassadors of Nigeria so that people will not see Nigeria and Nigerians as corrupt and criminal-minded people and nation,’’ Mr. Jonathan said.
The president said he was totally committed to what was right for the country at all times.
“I promise Nigerians that the issue of power will be solved as soon as the privatisation of power sector is completed.
“Power is key to the transformation agenda of this government; in no distance future the type of transformation in the telecommunication sector will be experienced in the power sector.
“We as government are doing everything to build a Nigeria of our dreams. Our airports are being renovated and modernisation and expansion of our railway transport system is ongoing.
“All what we request from all Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora is support and understanding.’’
Mr. Jonathan assured that insecurity and molestation of Nigerians by various South African authorities would be discussed with President Jacob Zuma during the state visit.
The President of the Nigeria Union in South Africa (NUSA), Ikechukwu Anyene, commended the president for conducting what was considered the most credible election in the history of Nigeria.
“It will never be out of fashion to say congratulations to you for the election of May 2011 that brought you to office.
“We congratulate you not because you won but because you made Nigerians all over the world proud by staging what has been dubbed as the freest and fairest election.’’
Mr. Anyene said the action changed the tide in the way politicians came to power in Nigeria.
“We salute the courage and wisdom with which your administration is dealing with the delicate and monstrous security challenges we are faced with at the moment in our country.’’
He urged the president to continue to explore every avenue to achieve peace in Nigeria.
“We must achieve a Nigeria that is safe and secure, where all ethnic groups can leave peacefully side by side with one another.
“Peace and unity is a necessary pre-condition for the development of any country.’’
He said that insecurity was preventing Nigeria from becoming a destination for foreign direct investment.
Mr. Anyene said the visit of the president to South Africa would help to strengthen the relationship between the two countries and their peoples.
He said, however, that Nigeria and South Africa should find a better way of translating government-to-government talk into person-to-person relationship between the citizens of the two countries and organs of state.
“Nigeria still receive inhuman, disrespectful and degrading treatment that suggest negative social profiling in this country within the South Africa Police Service as well other government departments, especially the Home Affairs,’’ Anyene said.
Mr. Jonathan will attend the World Economic Forum on Africa on Wednesday, before leaving South Africa on Thursday for Namibia.
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