Felix Ikem, Nsukka
The Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA) has lamented that Nigerians in South Africa are now endangered species in spite of the enormous contributions of Nigeria towards ending the apartheid regime in the country.
The group said that it was unfortunate that after Nigeria assumed a frontline state that championed and financed the fight against the monster called apartheid in the country her citizens had become a target for elimination.
Speaking through their national president in Nsukka on Tuesday, Prof Aloysius Okolie, while briefing newsmen on the constant xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners by South Africa people without proper protection by the South African government said: “Nigeria was at the forefront during the war against apartheid. Our taxpayers’ money was converted including manpower to the fight to end the regime in South Africa, only for Nigerians to become an endangered species and target for elimination in the country.
“It’s disheartening that the only appreciation South Africa people will show to Nigeria is constant xenophobic attacks on her citizens living in the country,” he said.
He expressed concern and disappointment over the comment credited to Lindiwe Sisulu the South African Foreign Affairs minister who described Nigerians living in South Africa as drug traffickers.
“The South African Foreign Affairs Minister’s recent comment about Nigerians in their country is unacceptable.
“If any Nigerian or foreigner in South Africa commits any crime he or she should be tried according to the law rather than the constant barbaric and unprovoked attacks on Nigerians in the country.
“Relevant institutions in the world should intervene in the ongoing xenophobic attack on foreigners in South Africa before the situation gets out of hand, “he said.
The group commended the management of Air Peace Airline for demonstrating a commitment to protecting the well-being of Nigerians in South Africa by offering to airlift, free of charge, Nigerians who wished to return home in wake of the xenophobic attacks.
The group, however, urged the Federal government to profile Nigeria citizens in South Africa so as to identify the bad eggs among them who are bent on tarnishing the good image of the country and make them to face the law
Prof Okolie, the chairman of the group who is a senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science University of Nigeria, Nsukka, disclosed that NPSA was collaborating with its counterparts in South Africa to have a round-table with critical stakeholders in order to deal with the perennial xenophobic problem “NPSA is collaborating with its counterpart in South Africa in order to deal with this perennial problem and enthrone good relationship devoid of antagonism and serial attacks,” he said.