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South African Government Apologizes For Xenophobic Attacks On Nigerians

South Africa High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Mnguni, has apologized to Nigerians and other foreigners over the recent xenophobic attacks in that country.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mnguni said the unjustifiable attacks were a poor representation of South Africa’s values and added that the South African government has taken measures to stop them.

“We reiterate our view that South Africans are generally not xenophobic. We are deeply saddened by these acts of violence that have taken place against the foreign nationals, especially the Nigerians affected in these communities. The South African government is sorry for the destruction and wishes the injured a speedy recovery. If they were, we would not have such a high number of foreign nationals who have successfully integrated into communities all over the country. No amount of anger or frustration can justify the attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops,” Mnguni said.

So far the Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba, has led a delegation to areas where crisis broke out, and that the police had been directed to provide security adding that the South African government is interested in addressing alleged claims of illegal activities of undocumented migrants which have been raised by communities.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Union in South Africa has blamed hostility against Nigerians in the country on ignorance and misinformation. Spokesman of the union, Emeka Ezinteje told Daily Sun that the media, create the erroneous impression that every Nigerian was a criminal, while ignoring their contribution to the economy.

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Ezinteje, who spoke on the heels of renewed attack on Nigerians who pursue genuine businesses in the country, urged the South African government to bring the culprits to book and added that any Nigerian arrested for any offence should be charged to court instead of resorting to extra-judicial killing and police brutality as if life was worthless.

“I blame the South African media for the whole thing. The media are owned by some powerful elements. They create the impression that Nigerians are criminals, shielding the ordinary South African from knowing the contributions of Nigerians to their economy.

Communities have been asked to assist the police by providing information on the incidents that have taken place so that the perpetrators could be brought to justice.

Mnguni however adds that the complaints made by some South Africans about undocumented foreigners, was not enough to attack all foreign nationals, especially Nigerians.

“The underlining cause is the fact that we have had complaints about undocumented and illegal immigrants in the country committing crimes or using small shops and business places to carry out criminal acts,” he said.

The Federal Government has called on the South African Government to take decisive measures to protect Nigerian citizens and other Africans in the country.

No fewer than 116 Nigerians have lost their lives in South Africa through extra-judicial means in the last two years.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who made this disclosure, noted that seven in 10 of the killings were carried out by the South African police.

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Written by PH

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