L-R: NANS President, Comrade Danielson Akpan; ex BBA Housemate, Tayo Faniran; Chairman/CEO Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa; and Head, Diaspora Unit, NOUN, Prof Hakeem Tijani, during the Enough is Enough Press Conference on Killings of Nigerians in South Africa…in Abuja today
By Ignatius Ushie
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has said it will no longer take it lightly with the constant killings of Nigerian students and other Nigerians in South Africa.
Speaking at a joint press briefing with Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, the worldwide President of NANS, Comrade Bamidele Akpan said it has come to a point where decisive action will be taken to end xenophobia especially against Nigerians in South Africa.
According to him, “we have seen the helplessness of the South African government in reining in their citizens and wish to condemn in unambiguous terms the continued pampering of those involved. Every nation has her own internal crisis hence no citizen of other nations should be sacrificed for criminal activities of South Africans or any other”.
“Since the economic prosperity of Nigerians can no longer be tolerated and their lives secured in South Africa, there’s no need also to condone the continued flourishing of South African businesses and her citizens in Nigeria”.
Adding that “we therefore wish to officially ask all South African owned businesses in Nigeria to relocate in the next seven days. We specifically want MULTICHOICE, MTN, STANBIC IBTC BANK, SHOPRITE and others to close their businesses in their own interest within 7 days”, the NANS helmsman said
“In the interest of peace, we request that South African nationals in Nigeria should return to their home country as we no longer can watch them enjoy peaceful living in Nigeria while our citizens in their country continue to pay with their dear lives for no reason other than being resourceful and flourishing in their businesses and career”.
Akpan called on Nigerians in South Africa to come back home as opportunities abound here for them.
“Importantly, we want to call on Nigerians in South Africa to reconsider their stay in South Africa and return home”. We have consistently maintained that diplomacy has failed in addressing the xenophobic question. We have heard and seen diplomatic measures put in place without any sincere action taken by the South African government. We have seen again that the people of South Africa are not committed to peaceful coexistence with other nationals hence the wanton killings and destruction of other Africans.
“We have now come to a point where action is required to safeguard Nigerians and enforce their dignity”, he said.
In her speech, the Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon.Abike Dabiri-Erewa however called on the students to make allowances for diplomatic avenues to be taken to solve the problem of xenophobia in South Africa. According to her “Nigerians are known to be peaceful and humane, we should not allow ourselves to be dragged down to the level where we lose our respect for human lives” assuring the students that diplomatic talks are on-going and the President of Nigeria and his South African counterpart are billed to have a meeting within the next four months to discuss xenophobic attacks on Nigerians among other issues.
A former BBA housemate, Tayo Faniran, who was beaten severely by cops in South Africa, called on the students to give him a chance to end xenophobia without resorting to violence. Speaking on his ordeal at the hands of the cops, Tayo said” they beat me so much, it is so much that I cannot begin to think about it, it will weigh me down.
“We are going to fix xenophobia issues, most importantly, the one in South Africa. Why I say we should do this peacefully is not just for the youth, because they will grow old. It is for the ones coming behind. We cannot afford to destroy the love in Africa”.