Xenophobia: Rep calls for evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa

The Chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, has called for immediate evacuation of Nigerians within 24 hours from South Africa if the ongoing attacks on foreigners continue unabated.

Ms. Ukeje (PDP-Abia), in an interview with newsmen on Thursday, said the call became necessary due to increasing attacks on Nigerians and non Nigerians alike in South Africa.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria should rise up to the occasion by having contingency plans to evacuate Nigerians within 24 hours to avoid us losing our citizens to this attacks.

“It is expedient to think of where all Nigerians can gather within 24 hours for safety either in our embassy or mission for the safety of our citizens,” she said.

The lawmaker suggested a concrete arrangement with some airlines to evacuate Nigerians back home while the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) should equally be mobilised to take care of the returnees.

Ms. Ukeje noted with concern that the xenophobic attack was degenerating to Afrophobic as many black Africans, including Nigerians, were being attacked from Johannesburg to Durban.

She said the Nigeria government should not wait until some of her citizens are killed in the latest attacks before carrying out its citizen diplomacy policy .

“Unfortunately, there is no serious condemnation from South Africa government on this attacks, hence the need for the Nigerian government to be proactive and rescue her citizens as soon as possible,’’ she said.

She expressed surprise that South Africa that housed African Parliament and other Institutions of Africa in the continent could descend so low to the extent of her national attacking other Africans living in the country.
“With this attack, South Africa should desist from branding itself as giant in the African continent, if her citizens would be attacking the same Africans she boasts of leading,” she said.

Ms. Ukeje said her committee was in close contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to see what could be done to protect Nigerians in South Africa while the House is to meet the necessary stakeholders on the matter.
In her contribution, Rep. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora said a motion on the matter had been discussed in the House.

“This is unacceptable. it must not be tolerated. The Nigeria Ambassador should be recalled while the African Union must intervene as soon as possible,” she said.

Musiliu Obanikoro, the minister of state II, for Foreign Affairs, however said no Nigerian was killed in the attack against foreigners in South Africa.

“We are following the developments in South Africa and efforts are being made to protect Nigerian citizens in South Africa,’’ Obanikoro said.

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