The way Nigerians resident in South Africa went about their protest in that county is quite unfortunate, sao says the Nigerian defence Adviser, Abubakar Mustapha.
Abubakar was reacting to a protest by a group of Nigerians on Thursday at the Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria, over xenophobic attacks targeting Nigerians and their businesses.
In his words, “The way they went about it (the protest) was quite unfortunate, they scaled the fence and almost destroyed the gate,” Mustapha said adding that it took the quick intervention of security officers to curtail the protesters.A group of Nigerians on Thursday staged a protest at the Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa’s capital.
The protesters, mostly victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa said they are angered by the recent massive looting of foreign-owned shops in the city by some South Africans.
Despite the description of their behaviour as unfortunate, many of the protesters lamented that they have lost their goods and business investments to the looting spree which occurred on Wednesday at Pretoria Business district.
A Channesl Television report, quoted the protesters saying in separate interviews that the protest was needed because they were now feeling unsafe in South Africa.
They claimed that Nigerian representatives are South Africa are slow towards responding to their plight.
Victims narrate their experiences:
One the victims said: “They came to my shop and burnt everything to zero. We are appealing to our Consulate via the High Commission here to please intervene in this whole situation. We are so unsafe in this country,” another victim lamented.
Though the Defence Adviser, Nigerian High Commission in South Africa, Abubakar Mustapha condemned the protesters for venting anger on the commission by destroying some properties, the commission later visited the scenes of the looting sprees.
The acting High Commissioner to South Africa, Umar Bako later assured those who came to complain of their losses that quick actions will be taken to intervene into the matter.
Since the outbreak of the attacks, there have been calls on the authorities in South Africa to urgently stem the attacks.
One of such was from the South Africa-based African Diaspora Forum and Human Rights Watch which expressed concern over the increasing incidences
“Apart from its call for an end to attacks on foreign nationals, the South African government has done little to ensure the arrest and prosecution of those responsible,” said Vusumuzi Sibanda, chairperson at the African Diaspora Forum. “Strong action is needed to show there are consequences for such acts before there is another round of violence against vulnerable foreign nationals.”
It would also be recalled that on March 25, South Africa issued a five-year National Action Plan to combat xenophobia, racism, and discrimination.
Incidentally, the same day, violence by South Africans against foreign nationals erupted in the eastern eThekwini municipality, one of South Africa’s most heavily populated areas, which includes the city of Durban and surrounding towns.
Over the following days, violence occurred in Durban in the Burnwood Informal Settlement (Municipal wards 25 and 26), near the Durban dock yards at South Coast and Maydon Wharf roads, in Durban’s Springfield neighborhood, and in Durban’s Philani neighborhood, according to reports from hrw.org
It expressed worry that the police was yet to make any arrests following these attacks, in which some foreign nationals were killed and several others seriously injured.