Bolaji Akinyemi, former minister of external affairs, has asked the Federal Government to sue South Africa at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for failing to protect Nigerians in its territory.
President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the immediate evacuation of Nigerians willing to leave South Africa after receiving the report of a special envoy sent to evaluate the attacks on Nigerians living in that country.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Akinyemi alleged that the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals were sponsored by the South African state, which, according to him, violated the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and other international laws.
The former minister also called on the Nigerian government to file complaints against some specific South African officials at the International Criminal Court for aiding and abetting xenophobic attacks
“The statement credited to the South African Minister of International Relations, Dr. Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor, that Nigerians were drug dealers; the statement credited to Deputy Police Minister, Bongani Mkongi, that they fought for their land and that that land would not be surrendered to immigrants; The statement credited to the South African Defence Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, that South Africa is an angry nation and that the country could not prevent the xenophobic attacks; and various statements credited to South African diplomats blaming the immigrants.
“The anti-immigrant acts by the South African Immigration service officials, which for all practical purposes, amount to holding Nigerian immigrants hostage by refusing to allow them to be evacuated; I have come to the conclusion that the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other immigrants are acts sponsored or condoned by the South African state in violation of Article 2, paragraph 2, of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
“Article 2, paragraph 1, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination; and the International Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers.
“I, therefore, call on Nigeria to sue South Africa before the International Court of Justice for failure in its duty of care and protection of Nigerian citizens resident there.
“I furthermore call on Nigeria to file complaints against specific South African officials at the International Criminal Court for aiding and abetting the xenophobic attacks.”
Of the 640 Nigerians that have indicated interest to return home, 187 have been airlifted by Air Peace and arrived the country on Wednesday.