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Xenophobia: Apologies from South Africa not enough – HURIWA

The leading pro-democracy and civil Rights advocacy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to reject any apology from the South African president, Cyril Ramphosa, over the incessant xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.

HURIWA said the messages to be brought by the envoy of President Cyril Ramaphosa are cosmetic and a serious afterthought which can not stand for a concrete and verifiable measures in real time to provide security of the lives of other black citizens in South Africa.

The Rights group stated that so far there is no deterrent measures operational in Souher coordinated violent XENOPHOBIC crimes against other black Africans living in South African townships.

To the Rights group, the best step to be adopted by Nigeria remains extracting strong assurances from the president of South Africa that on no occasion will such violence re-occur even as there is need for the African Union and United Nations to deploy at least 10,000 strong members peace and security enforcement mission in South Africa for at least ten years to restore stability and security to businesses legitimately operated by Nigerians and other Africans who live in south Africa.

HURIWA also demanded strong applications of the laws against genocide and xenophobic killings and strong punishments for the suspects caught participating in such despicable crimes against humanity.

“We implore Mr. President not to accept the apology from the South African president over the huge losses to lives and properties that the Nigerian community in South Africa has endured over the last decades. There has to be strong enough evidence that such well coordinated attacks will never occur”.

The Rights group reminded President Muhammadu Buhari that the spate of violent xenophobic attacks against black non-south Africans living in South Africa have the tacit official endorsement of some cabinet level appointees within the South African government which should be taken up by the African Union and the United Nations.

HURIWA has called for the effective punishments to be meted out to the political office holders who were clearly captured on videos and tapes encouraging the xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other Africans.

“Why is President Cyril Ramaphosa only just waking up to send some low level officials to come with apologies? President Cyril Ramaphosa is amongst the South African government officials that spoke out words that instigated the last XENOPHOBIC attacks when he made open allegations that foreigners set up businesses in South Africa without proper registration. The South African President has not yet purged himself of this pro- XENOPHOBIC tendencies.

“We expected that by now, President Buhari would have convoked or asked to be convoked, an emergency session of the African Union to deliberate on these xenophobic killings just as the Rights group wondered why foreign relations experts have not been summoned by the Nigerian government to neither introduce pragmatic changes to the current foreign relations objectives of Nigeria so the sanctity of the lives of Nigerians would be made the centre piece of the broad spectrum of Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives of Nigeria. The current foreign policy objectives of Nigeria enshrined in the constitution are opaque and would need fundamental overhaul,” the rights group stated.

HURIWA recalled that specifically, the foreign policy objectives in section 19 states as follows:

The foreign policy objectives shall be – (a) promotion and protection of the national interest; (b) promot the national interest; (b) promotion of African integration and support for African unity; (c) promotion of international co-operation for the consolidation of universal peace and mutual respect among all nations and elimination of discrimination in all its manifestations; (d) respect for international law and treaty obligations as well as the seeking of settlement of international disputes by negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and adjudication; and (e) promotion of a just world economic order.”

HURIWA stated that the section needs clarity, and certainty in such a concrete way that the sanctity of the lives of every Nigerian citizens globally guides the formulation and enforcement of the foreign policy objectives of Nigeria.

It said it is almost impossible to resolve these issues of xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other black Africans living in South African townships without the involvement of African Union and the United Nations.

Dele Fashomi
Dele Fashomi, seasoned journalist and communication teacher, is a holder of Master of Arts degree in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan in 1992/93. Earlier, he had bagged a Bachelor degree from the same university in 1984, after which he proceeded to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, in 1990, for a postgraduate diploma in Journalism. He had done many courses in communication, including the EU-BBC Editing Course in 2002. Mr. Fashomi combines effectively the practice, research and teaching of communication. And to date, he has published two academic works in communication: Issues in Communication Technology and Policy (2010) and Economic and Social Issues in Advertising and PR (2013). He had his first break in the Nigerian media in Concord Newspapers in 1990 and today, he has over two and half decades experience earned in several newspapers. He has been part of many start-ups, such as The Republic (1987), The Comet (1999), The Anchor 2001 - 2002; Sun Newspapers (2003); Westerner newsmagazine (2005 - 2010) as Editor; National Life (2011) as Sunday Editor, and Newswatch Newspapers (2012- 2016) as Daily Editor. Dele Fashomi is now the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of newspaper online, which he started in July 2015. He is also into biography writing, with many books in his trail, some of which he wrote alone and one he co- authored with his mentor, Mr Dare Babarinsa, entitled:  Olabiyi Durojaiye - DARE TO BE DiFFERENT. He also guided and collaborated with Pa Olatunji Odusanya in writing his autobiography - AGAINST ALL ODDS. There are many other books in the works under his pen.