Gyang Bere, Jos
Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence and Senator representing Plateau North in the National Assembly, Barr. Istifanus Gyang, has said the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa is driven by envy and jealousy.
He claimed that as a result of the success of Nigerian owned businesses in South Africa, Black South Africans have become jealous, forgetting the active role Nigeria played in ending the country’s controversial Apartheid system.
Sen. Gyang in a press statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media and Protocol, Musa Ashoms, however, urged Nigerians not to retaliate against South Africans.
“Nigeria played a key role in the liberation of South Africa from the Apartheid regime,” the Senator stated.
“Today, South Africans have suddenly forgotten all the sacrifices that Nigeria and Nigerians made and like the Egyptians, see Nigerians doing business in their country as a threat, hence the Xenophobic attacks.
“Xenophobic attacks are hate attacks driven by envy and jealousy as black South Africans attribute their backward economic status to the resourcefulness and viability of foreigners, especially Nigerians.”
The lawmaker said Nigeria is to South Africa what Joseph was to Egypt who saved that country from famine and economic ruin.
“That notwithstanding, a time came after the death of Joseph that a Pharaoh arose that knew not the role that Joseph played to preserve Egypt and came up with a policy to weaken and destroy the economic base of the Jews and even turn them into slaves as recorded in Exodus 1:6 -11.”
He said the attacks are misplaced, unacceptable and condemnable and urged Nigerians to act with caution “as we await appropriate reciprocal response by the Nigerian government.
“I align myself with calls for the South African government to pay full compensation to Nigerians whose businesses were destroyed and to take steps to stop further attacks.
“I appeal to Nigerians not to repay xenophobia with xenophobic revenge as doing so may play into the hands of hoodlums and criminals who will invariably take advantage to loot shops of other Nigerians.
“Civil Society groups can organise peaceful protest rallies under the close watch of the police to further pressure the South African government to stop the attacks, provide remedies for human rights violations, and ensure that justice is done,” Gyang said.