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Prof Akinyemi Urges FG To Do More In Ending Xenophobic Attacks

Nigeria’s former Foreign Affairs Minister, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, on Wednesday condemned the xenophobic attacks on Africans and other foreign nationals in South Africa. He also called on the Nigerian government to remind the South African government of a possible consequence on their investments in Nigeria if such attacks continue.

“I was involved in the anti-apartheid struggle as the Director General of the Nigerian Institute of International affairs (NIIA); I was part of those who came up with liberation fund. We forced civil servants to donate monthly a percentage of their salary monthly and for some reasons, secondary schools caved; university students made a donation.

“What are they now talking about? Is it because Africans are now taking jobs in South Africa.

“Do you know how many West Africans have jobs in Nigeria?, Do you know how many Nigerians have jobs in West African countries”, insisting that “we exchange population all the time and nobody has claims that because of that you are entitled to pick up guns, stones cudgels and go on a murdering spree”, he maintained.

The former Foreign Minister told our political correspondent that the government of South Africa is not doing enough to stop the “distasteful actions by South Africans against fellow Africans especially those who helped them during the apartheid struggle.

“I think that Nigeria, given the investment of South African in this country, needs to sit the South Africans down and tell them that there could be a cost to this kind of xenophobic behaviour.

“It is unacceptable, it is intolerable. Our people should be killed over there and we will not reply because 6, 000 people are employed by one of their companies here; I don’t buy into that kind of mentality.

“If they are going to hurt our people and hurt the interest of our people, then they should be prepared for retaliation.

“I think Nigerians should let these people know that this thing is a quid pro quo; you treat me well, I treat you well.

“They really don’t tell South African people how much South Africa owes Africa for that struggle”, he said.

He condemned the body language and attitude of South African leaders, lamenting the fact that this is not the first time this has happened but yet nothing was done.

He further noted that if the South Africans had put in measures when such occurred in 2008, a repeat would not have been recorded at this point in time.