Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
National President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev’ Supo Ayokunle, has said the xenophobia in South Africa is a sign of illiteracy, warning that the nonsense must stop.
In an exclusive interview with our correspondent, in Ibadan on Wednesday, he noted that the same spirit that was behind apartheid and racism is the same spirit that is behind xenophobia.
According to him, “the way forward is for our government to be more diplomatic in handling this matter and be more decisive. There are so many steps that the government can take. One, if all these diplomatic moves do not work, they can withdraw our envoy from South Africa, and send away theirs.
“If they start to attack us, they can nationalise their economic facilities here. All their companies can close up if government can give that order, because they have a lot of economic interests here in Nigeria.
“Apart from the Shoprite people are attacking, which we are begging people not to do so again, they own the MTN, which is the largest mobile carrier or line provider here in Nigeria. They have here the DSTV, which is actually in every home in Nigeria, and other facilities.
“So, if Nigerians are trading and making lawful businesses in South Africa, what right has anybody to go and be attacking them? South Africa cannot be an island to itself.
“International migration is legitimate migration. If these Nigerians entered South Africa legally, and they were permitted to trade, why are you attacking their businesses? It is a sign of illiteracy. This type of nonsense must stop. Our government must be more decisive, and protect our citizens wherever they are located on the globe.”
Ayokunle recalled that South Africans carrying out the attacks lacked proper education, saying that is “when you think that the whole world is for you, and you alone, and others created by God don’t matter and they don’t have the rights to migrate, to move. It is not good for South Africa. South Africa will be the most negatively affected if they continued in this attitude.
We have seen “nations that have been before them, who didn’t recognise others, and give them their dignity and their worth, to settle down, to move. They should go and look at their history. It didn’t go well with them. So, South Africa should not think that they can be great as a nation going with this type of attitude. When actions are taken against them, they will be on their own.”
On the reprisal attacks in Nigeria, Ayokunle stated: “I will not encourage reprisal attack. Two wrongs don’t make a right. If the government of South Africa is serious, they would have acted more decisively against the people perpetrating such crime.
“Xenophobic attack is a criminal attack. It should not be allowed in the 21st Century that we are. People should be more educated than that. It is a sign of illiteracy. When you don’t have proper education, no matter how educated you are, if it is not proper, it is illiteracy.”