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S-African women’s protest: Senator cautions Nigerians over comments

By JOSEPH ERUNKE

ABUJA — DEPUTY Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Mohammed Sani Saleh, has asked Nigerians to be cautious in their reactions to Monday’s protest by South African women married to Nigerians over alleged discrimination against them by their people.

Saleh, who represents Kaduna Central in the upper legislative chamber, said Nigeria and its people could not say much on the matter since the alleged discrimination was not being carried out by the South African government.

Speaking to Vanguard in Abuja, Saleh said the situation, as alleged by the South African women married to Nigerians, was not peculiar to the South African people, saying it was even in existence in most parts of Nigeria.

Senator Saleh said the Senate, through its Committee on Foreign Affairs, was not only studying the situation but also waiting for the response of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which had direct responsibility to wade into such matter, before it could comment.

He said: “It is the place of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to handle issue of this nature,ours in the Senate is to oversight the ministry and the relevant agencies   within and outside the country under it.”

He insisted that Nigerians must be careful in responding to the issue, given that the allegation of discrimination was not against the government of South Africa but its people.

He gave instances of some states and communities in Nigeria where most indigenous women got married to men outside their areas because of the common notion that the men cared for them, only to be discriminated against by their own people.

“Until the South African government is accused of complicity or we hear their official position backing the discrimination against its women married to Nigerians, we cannot say anything much.

“The South African government did not discriminate against anybody on the basis of marriage but a section of its people,” he emphasised.

Saleh admitted that most Nigerians in South Africa had given their home country a bad name, noting that many others were forthright and pursuing their daily livelihood legitimately and, therefore, urged the South Africans not to generalise their comments about Nigerians.

Recall that South African women married to Nigerians had Monday threatened to stage mass protest in Johannesburg to stop discriminations against them, their husbands and children.

Mrs Lindelwa Uche, the chairperson of the United Nigerian Wives in South Africa, UNWISA, had said this during the launch of the association in Johannesburg last Sunday.

She alleged that the South African society did not take their marriage to Nigerians as serious relationships.

“Our society does not take our marriages serious, they see our marriages as relations of convenience and perceive us as evil to the society,”she had alleged.


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