Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, has lashed out at the South African Minister of International Relation and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, for stigmatising Nigerians living in South Africa through her uncomplimentary remark.
He frowned at Pandor’s statement while appearing on eNCA, a South African television station that the Nigerian government should keep her nationals who indulge in human trafficking, drug peddling, and social vices from visiting South Africa. Pandor’s statement is coming as the Federal Government plans to evacuate Nigerians living in South Africa who have been victims of xenophobic attacks through the assistance of the Chairman of Air Peace Airlines, Chief Allen Onyema.
Pandor said: “Help us address the belief and the reality that our people have that there are many persons from Nigeria, who are dealing in drugs in our country, who are harming our young people by making drugs easily available to them. The belief is that Nigerian nationals are involved in human trafficking and other abusive practices. This kind of assistance in ensuring that such people don’t come to our country would be of great assistance to our nation.”
But firing back on his twitter handle, @GeoffreyOnyeama, the former Deputy Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), said it was precisely that kind of statement made by government officials that fuel xenophobic attacks and embolden criminals in South Africa.