Xenophobic attacks: No Nigerian killed in South Africa, says Minister

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Khadijah Abba Ibrahim, has told the Senate that no Nigerian lost his life in the renewed xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

The minister who appeared before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs to explain what the government is doing to protect Nigerians in South Africa, noted that based on official information from Nigeria High Commission in South Africa, no Nigerian lost his or her life.

She also said that nobody was convicted for the previous attacks and no compensation was paid by the South African government.

The minister said that they were informed that the South African President, Jacob Zuma, had condemned the attacks.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu, told the minister that Nigerians were interested to hear what the government is doing to protect them in South Africa.

Sunmonu said, “I will say that while we appreciate your coming and as we have to speak on behalf of Nigerians, what we discussed today is not what Nigerians are expecting from Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nigerians will want to hear from the ministry that we have been to South Africa not to have invited the High Commission here to come and tell stories.

“We want to hear from the ministry that the Acting High Commissioner has actually invited Nigerians to talk to them to give them solace because tomorrow, nobody knows what is going to happen again.

“We are only telling them (Nigerians), to please hide to give a low profile. That means we have told them not to engage in their businesses again that they should be in hiding which is not good for Nigerians.

“We know the efforts of Nigerians in South Africa. We have been talking to you based on report of the Senate Committee with the Foreign Affairs Ministry in April, 2015. Two years ago we have this booklet and we have gone through all the findings and all the recommendations but unfortunately you have not met even one single thing out of it.

“How would we now believe what you have come here to tell us when you have actually stated in 2015 in April that you will be having a meeting with the commission in May, 2015 where you wrote that 84 million compensation would be paid and this is two years after.

“So, does that mean that if we have not invited you this would have been another story. Have you been able to invite Nigerians that lost their properties in 2015 to tell them that we are negotiating something for you. No, you haven’t.

“To the committee we are not happy, we are highly disappointed and what we would expect is that your delegations, we have the mandate of the two Houses for us to go to South Africa. We all go together see them and look at the memoranda of understanding or bilateral of what you are signing.

“It has to be give and take. If it is necessary Nigeria will not hesitate to put sanctions on South Africa in this country.

“We would be able to force them to do the right thing with Nigerians outside otherwise we have to do back to them here in this country, its tit for tat and we would not hesitate to put our feet down to be able to tell them and say enough is enough,” Sumonu stated.

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