Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Nigerian widows under the aegis of Virtuous Widows International Association have called on the international community to find a lasting solution to the reported xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other foreign nationals in South Africa.
The women, lamenting that the carnage in the continent was increasing the number of widows and orphans, said the ugly development could be stopped by eradicating poverty in Africa.
Addressing reporters at a press conference in Awka the Founder/International President of the Association, Lady Ifeyinwa Bernice Egbosiuba, said:
“We pray that the governments in Africa and the United Nations will find a lasting solution to address this carnage on our people. We believe this can only be achieved through eradication of poverty presently on a high rate in all the African countries, as this has given rise to migrations for better living conditions.”
Describing the reported attacks as barbaric and uncalled for, Egbosiuba said something serious must be done to stop them as they would lead to more deaths of men who are mostly breadwinners of their families.
The text of the press conference, which was read by the Lagos State Coordinator of the association, Mrs Toyin Badmus, further states:
“The Virtuous Widows International Association is worried about the increasing spate of xenophobic attacks on our fellow African people being presently perpetrated in South Africa.
“We have presently observed the ongoing Xenophobic attacks against foreigners in South Africa and are here today to vehemently condemn it and reject it entirely as it negates the rights to live and exist as humans. It is barbaric actions of intimidation, hatred and harassment that has being a cycle of xenophobic violence in a country that has a long history of “Otherings” which is souring and tainting the image of South Africa, a country that itself has suffered racism for so many years.
“The United Nations has vehemently condemned this xenophobic attacks in South Africa stating that “there isn’t anything that justifies the level of violence against persons for trying to make a livelihood.”
“We state that for every one man killed, a family loses a husband, a father and ultimately the bread winner. This invariably leaves the woman a widow and the society suffers the repercussions. Hence, we join to condemn this inhumanity against humanity because families suffer great loss.”
“We are aware that our government has taken actions through constructive engagements with the South African government and so also has other countries in Africa. But we demand and appeal to the conscience of our brothers and sisters in South Africa to remember the history of racism and apartheid and know that xenophobic attacks on fellow Africans who has helped them during those days are worse actions and call on them to stop it forthwith.
“We call on the government of South Africa to set up a faith-base committee to address the losses suffered by the foreigners during these spate of attacks reminding them that families in Africa are the worst hit. Children are now fatherless and most turned into orphans.
It concluded that: “Children are now fatherless and most of them have been turned into orphans. We send our sincere condolences to our Nigerian compatriots and other citizens of Africa who have lost their loved ones through this violence against humanity.”