By Vera Samuel Anyagafu and Prisca Sam-Duru
Nigeria, along with other African countries, is identified as one of South Africa’s core regional source markets, as it has been extensively involved in South Africa’s increasing revenue.
In recalling the aforementioned therefore, one wonders why 80 per cent out of the 400,000 Nigerians resident in South Africa, were met with the most undeserving ill-treatment and discrimination. Nigerians who are either resident or visiting South Africa expected South Africans to be friendlier in expectation of better performing bi-national transactions in several sectors of both countries economies.
Analysis of reports also show that Nigerian tourists visit South Africa mostly for purposes of doing business, holiday, education and medical care, but the Challenges perceived by these Nigerian tourists are indeed disheartening and provocative.
While interrogating the above issues, it would be necessary for South Africans to understand that Nigerians played a major role during the apartheid era, as they fought amongst other independent African countries in ensuring that their South African black brothers and sisters received equal rights.
Subsequently, to ensure that black South Africans waved goodbye to apartheid era, Nigeria had to part with about $60 billion U.S Dollars towards the liberation movements.
It is also on record that Nigerian students were then levied to contribute money towards the education of their black brothers and sisters in South Africa, and in addition to that, the then Nigerian High Commission in Botswana, reputably issued Nigerian passports to black South Africans during the apartheid era to enable them travel the world, since the apartheid government refused to grant a majority them that privilege.
This being so, it is highly unbecoming, mischievous and provocative to imagine Nigerians suffering in the land where they fought relentlessly to kill apartheid, or on what would the maltreatment of Nigerians by South Africans traced to?
In summation therefore, the above scenario calls for a change in the probable ill-attitude of South Africans toward Nigerians who are either residing in or visiting the country.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa’s visit to South Africa
Chairman of the Committee on Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa’s visit to South African was quite revealing, as it exposes the extent to which Nigerians living in South Africa are ridiculously embarrassed.
The lawmaker who visited two prisons in South Africa, in the company of two members of the committee, Umaru Shidanfi and Ajibola Famurewa, consular officers of the Nigerian Embassy in South Africa, as well as executives of the Nigerian Union in South Africa, was embittered with the alarming number of Nigerians presently serving jail terms in SA.
The undeserving ill-treatment those jailed are made to go through is most unbecoming and many of the prison inmates were said to have complained bitterly to the lawmaker, who on her part felt totally devastated that more than 400 Nigerians have been incarcerated in SA prisons.
Many of the prison inmates complained of extreme stigmatization and unjustified denial of freedom, despite completing their jail term and wished the House of Representatives would come to their rescue to ensure that they granted bail.
In other words, for the purpose of shared economic growth within the African region, the negative treatments to Nigerians who are either resident or visiting South Africa should be avoided.
And since such act of animosity may disintegrate the two great African countries and their people, perhaps, it might be necessary for Nigerians to pause and think out a better way of putting a stop to all the police brutality and victimasation in SA, otherwise, be ready to accept any level of hostility by South Africans without complaints.
Although some Nigerians argued that a third force could be at work to ensure that the two countries that are the pillars of Africa remain at dagger heads, many retorted that Nigerians should leave the country and return home, as South Africans may not have appreciated the show of oneness and cordial bilateral relationships.