The President of the Nigerian Union in South Africa, Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, said on Friday that xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals were on the increase.
Anyene told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on phone from Pretoria, South Africa, that the mechanic workshop of a Nigerian was completely destroyed early on Friday in Johannesburg.
‘’ In the early hours of today (Friday),the mechanic workshop of a Nigerian, with 10 cars and all the tools inside, was destroyed by some South Africans.
‘’ The build up to the attack started last night when the South Africans started gathering in the neighbourhood of the Nigerian.
‘’The Nigerians living there did not sleep and early today, the South African struck,’’ he said.
Anyene said when the South African police intervened, the attackers dared them and opened fire.
He said though the police chased them away, the attackers re-grouped and still carried out the act.
‘’ The attacks are spreading and Nigerians do not sleep again. They keep vigil to ensure that they are not taken unawares.
‘’ There is tension everywhere. Nigerians have closed their shops for fear of being attacked,’’ he said.
Anyene urged the Federal Government to engage the South African authorities in dialogue with a view to halting the attacks immediately.
‘’ South Africa has lots of businesses in Nigeria and they are doing well. Also, South Africans live in Nigeria and it is on record that Nigerians have never carried out xenophobic attacks on fellow Africans,” he said.
He said though the South African government had been responding to the attacks, it was not enough because more foreigners were being attacked every day.
Anyene added: ‘’ Though no Nigerian has been killed, it may get to that because we have had close shaves with death.
‘’ The real truth is that Nigerians have lost so much in their businesses to the attacks. The time has come for the Nigerian government to make a categorical statement on these attacks.
‘’ We are not happy with what is happening and something urgent must be done to stop these attacks.”