From Magnus Eze, Abuja
Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has demanded immediate recall of the Nigerian envoy to South Africa and evacuation of Nigerians in the country, over renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.
In a statement by TUC President, Bobboi Kaigama and General Secretary, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, the labour union described as unfortunate, how South Africa has forgotten the role of Nigeria, and the rest of the world, in rallying and mobilising support for the country during apartheid.
The labour union also wondered why these attacks lasted unabated without any decisive action by the government of President Jacob Zuma “when over 100 South African companies are operating in Nigeria without hindrance.”
Kaigama and Ozigi recalled how efforts to unionise a South African-based telecommunications firm in Nigeria and others were unsuccessful and noted that “this cannot happen in their country.”
TUC said it condemned crimes in all forms and supported punishment for those found culpable but regretted that, in this case, “no one has mentioned any case of crime. Instead, it is a case of a country whose freedom we staked our lives, financed and spent our resources to fight for and, today, we get xenophobia in return. They own several multi-billion dollar investments on our soil, yet, we co-exist, despite all odds. This killing and dehumanisation of Nigerians must stop. Not anymore. This must stop! If killing and maiming of Nigerians is the sacrifice required for us to maintain a cordial relationship, we are not willing to make it anymore,” TUC said and added that “the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) should caution South Africans and let them know that no individual or country has monopoly of violence.”
Meanwhile, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on King Mswati III of Swaziland and chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to convene an emergency summit of SADC Heads of State and Government, to discuss persistent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals living in South Africa. In a letter signed by the SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, and addressed to the monarch, the organisation urged SADC to use its powers to immediately set up an independent and impartial body to investigate all acts of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals and all findings made public. The group added that suspected perpetrators should be prosecuted and victims enjoy the right to effective remedy and reparation.
“Persistent and longstanding xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals, the complete impunity of perpetrators and the failure of the authorities to provide an effective remedy and reparation to victims directly undermine SADC mandates on regional integration and human rights,” the group added.