Federal Government Reacts To South African Quit Notice To Nigerians

The federal government has reacted to the reports of a quit notice given to Nigerians living in some South African communities to depart the country by June 16, 2017, describing it as totally false.

Nigeria’s Acting High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Martin Cobham has denied the report, advising the public to be wary of some reports in the social media or online news media, as some of the reports have the capacity of straining the relations between Nigeria and South Africa.

The Commissioner, however, promised that the mission would investigate the matter and report accordingly to the appropriate quarters, THISDAY reports.

Similarly, Ambassador Sola Enikanolaye, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has said the ministry was unaware of any threat to Nigerians living in South Africa, adding that the mission in South Africa was yet to report any of such to the ministry.

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According to media reports of the quit notice, President of the Nigerian Union in South Africa, Ikechukwu Anyene, had alleged that two communities in Johannesburg had issued quit notices to Nigerians to leave over allegations of dealings on hard drugs, as well as luring young girls into prostitution.

He alleged that the Kuruman community in Northern Cape Province gave Nigerians until yesterday to leave the place while the Klaafontein community, Extension 5, Johannesburg, also directed landlords not to renew the rent of Nigerians in the area.

Anyene said the grievances of the South Africans were that Nigerians were responsible for some social vices such as illicit drug trade and prostitution and they blamed every crime in the country on Nigerians even when it was clear that they were not committed by Nigerians.

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He narrated how a Ugandan man allegedly raped a girl in Kwazulu Natal Province, but the suspect was described as a Nigerian in the media. He said:

“The Nigerian Union held series of meetings with the affected communities as well as police and local authorities on the recent threats to Nigerians.

“We have also written reports on these incidents and sent to the Nigerian Mission and the South African police.

“We recommended interventions before the June 15 deadline to the mission and we are waiting for their response. The union is worried that any incident involving non-South Africans are attributed to Nigerians. There have been sustained media propaganda against our people”.

Given the series of recent South African xenophobic attacks launched on Nigerians which portrayed racism at its peak, most South Africans have been described as ethnocentric and unwilling to tolerate citizens from other countries.

After the last xenophobic violence in South Africa, the country’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Lulu Mnguni, said the root cause of attacks by citizens of his country on Nigerians and other nationals was because of the belief that their means of livelihood was under threat.

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He also noted that the root cause can also be analysed more as social challenges that exist when some people find out that their businesses are being threatened.

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