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Xenophobia: Nigeria, South Africa set for showdown


Attacks, killings of Nigerians in South Africa may finally be confronted by the Nigerian authorities

By Nsikan Ikpe

The continuing spate of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other black Africans in South Africa which has led to several deaths and the associated burning and looting of their business places may finally get a tough response from Nigerian authorities any time soon.

In separate tweets from the Foreign Minister of Nigeria, Geoffery Onyeama and the Chair of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri, they deplored the continuing crisis and hinted that some action may follow.

In her reaction to the most recent of the incidents on Monday, Abike Dabiri tweeted:

‘Sad, Reports from South Africa attacking foreigners. I can’t verify most of the videos. However, whatever decisions to be taken now can only be at the Ministerial level. AU intervention may be crucial. This is not what we should be doing to ourselves as Africans.’

On his part, Onyeama had shown considerable umbrage, most uncharacteristic of his earlier reactions over the year, when scores of Nigerian commentators had called on him and the Buhari administration to take a firmer stance in their response to the challenge.

“Received sickening and depressing news of continued burning and looting of Nigerian shops and premises in #SouthAfrica by mindless criminals with ineffective police protection. Enough is enough. We will take definitive measures.”

Diplomatic sources and analysts say that the options open to Nigeria at the moment may range from the recall of its High Commissioner and other senior diplomatic personnel from South Africa to the targeting of South African businesses in Nigeria for sanctions.

The latter has been the rallying cry of the National Association of Nigerian Students for several weeks now but it has not been confirmed if the Muhammadu Buhari administration would want to go that far, presently.

Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, Geofferey Onyeama

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