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Sit up now, summit tasks South Africa on xenophobia


Urges Nigeria, others to withdraw ambassadors to demonstrate displeasure

By Tajudeen Hamzat

Participants at a summit to review 25 years of black majority rule and the current tenor of post-Apartheid relations between Nigeria and South Africa have tasked the leaders of the African National Congress that have been entrusted with power since 1994 to simply sit up and frontally embrace the challenge of building a better nation for its people and the continent.

The summit took place in Lagos, Nigeria on Saturday, April 27, 2019, and was organised by The Difference Newspaper.

The co-host was the Centre for Research in Media Development, CRIMMD and the session was held at the CRIMMD Free Public Library, 138 Idimu-Ejigbo Road, Idimu-Lagos.

The event also doubled as the April edition of the monthly #FocusNationAfrica summit series put together by the pan-African newspaper to draw attention to the prospects and challenges on the path of the integration of the continent.

South Africa on Saturday marked the 25th anniversary of the beginning of majority rule in the rainbow nation which saw the respected patriarch, Nelson Mandela taking up office as the first post-apartheid President of the new Republic of South Africa.

The event also rook place exactly two weeks before South Africa’s General Elections which the ruling African National Congress is expected to win, albeit with a much slimmer majority than it had achieved in previous polls.

Speaking at the summit, participants decried the very high crime rates in the country as well as the increasing incidence of xenophobia being visited on Nigerians and other African residents in the country.

Narrating her own experience in the course of a visit to South Africa, the founder and Executive Director of the child rights advocacy group, CEE-Hope, Betty Abah, said that some of the criminal situations in Africa’s most industrialized nation at the moment had the imprint of insider-backed high level crime. She noted for example that some of the gangs that trail visitors to the country from the airport to their lodgings had been confirmed to have had taxi drivers working as part of the syndicates.

 She however contended that from statistical data in the public view, the rising scepter of hate and xenophobia against Nigerians and other Africans who were accused by poor black South Africans of taking their ‘jobs and women’ was misplaced as this segment accounted for less than one percent of the economic activity in the nation.

She agreed with other participants that Nigeria and other African nations may need to go the extra mile of withdrawing their diplomats from the country for extended periods of time as a way of demonstrating their displeasure over the state of affairs in the country.

Preeminently however, the summit concluded that the onus was on South Africa’s leaders to deliver a stronger and more inclusive economy to its people even as the youth of Nigeria and those of other African nations should similarly work at using their population advantage towards ensuring that their own individual nations are maximally developed and made more liveable as a long-term deterrent to what has been described as ‘the incidence of compelled migration.’

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa

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