The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Saturday shut down South Africa’s grocery chain, Shoprite at Ota in Ogun State.
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent in Ota reports that the students picketed the shopping mall to protest what they described as unrestrained xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
Scores of young Nigerians residing in South Africa have been brought home in body bags in recent years, having been killed in apparent xenophobic attacks in the former apartheid nation.
The Shoprite mall was shut down around 11:10 a.m. in the presence of police officers with shoppers hurriedly ordered out of the mall.
The students carried placards with inscriptions: “South Africans must go. Enough of the killing of our brothers, sisters and relatives in South Africa. You can’t continue to kill our people and still feed fat on us.’’
Speaking with reporters, the national public relations officer of NANS, Azeez Adeyemi, said that “NANS’ leadership under its president, Danielson Bamidele, have resolved to champion the struggle of putting sense back into lawless South Africans.
“It seems the government of South Africa derives pleasure from the senseless killings and sees the continuous xenophobic attacks on Nigerians residents in South Africa as a norm.
“NANS’ struggle against xenophobia has moved beyond ordinary street protests.
“Our target now is to mobilise Nigerian students and Nigerians towards truncating the smooth running of South African businesses in Nigeria.
“We shall resume here at Shoprite, Stanbic IBTC, MTN and Multichoice on August 14 for a total shut down.
“This is a struggle that will continue until victory of purpose is achieved,” Mr Adeyemi said.
On August 5, students shutdown MTN and Stanbic IBTC Bank offices in Abeokuta to voice their anger of the relentless killing of Nigerians in South African cities.
Up to 800,000 Nigerians, mainly young people reside in South Africa, according to unofficial estimates.
No fewer than 128 Nigerians have been killed in the country since 2016, many of them murdered by South African policemen.
However, some of the Nigerians were reportedly killed by their fellow Nigerians in gang violence, linked to hard drug peddling.