Angry Nigerians, Monday, stormed the South African High Commission in Abuja, threatening to shut down South African companies in Nigeria over xenophobic attacks against foreigners in South Africa, including Nigerians.

Nigerian youths under the aegis of Nigerians Demand, took to the streets of Abuja and cordoned the entrance leading to the South African High Commission in Wuse District, protesting the unwarranted attacks and killings of Nigerians.

Apart from the High Commission, the protesters who were accompanied by a team of security personnel also stormed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and DSTV offices at Maitama, requesting that justice be done to victims of the attacks.

Xenophobic Attacks:Nigerians protesting against xenophobic attacks in South Africa at the South African High Commission, in Abuja, yesterday. Photos: Gbemiga Olamikan.

Some of the protesters, who marched in different groups chanted anti-xenophobic songs and displayed placards with different inscriptions that read: “Dear South Africa, we have loved you but you are attacking and killing us why? #Say no to Xenophobia; Stop killings in South Africa, Act now; we are Africans; Foreigners are not responsible for your joblessness, stop the killings; Say no to xenophobia; On February 13, 1976 Nigeria donated $2 million to ANC to assist its liberation movement, #Say No to Xenophobia; Say no to killings of Nigerians in South Africa,” among others.

Addressing the crowd, co-ordinator of the group, Mr. Deji Adeyanju, expressed disappointment over the attacks and the lackadaisical manner it is being handled by the South African Government and urged the High Commissioner to expedite action in bringing the situation under control.

His words: “We are sad that South Africans, who other Africans stood by during their times of challenge, are showing hate to other African countries. South African government is aiding the killings. We want them to prosecute the traditional ruler who instigated the killings. We are not happy, we want to know steps that are being taken to stop this.

Also addressing the crowd, another leader of the group, Tolu Ebun, said: “Enough is enough. We are giving the South African government 24-hour ultimatum to halt the attacks on foreigners.

“The police in South Africa and the government are not doing enough. We have pictures where the police would stand and look as their people attack foreigners, loot their shops with smiles on their faces; this is sad. Look at Nigerian police protecting the South African High Commission, this is what we should get. This is what South African police should do; not stand by and watch the citizens kill other citizens. This is not good, this is sad, barbaric and we are not part of it.

“We are giving South Africa 24 hours to speak to us. We are angry, South Africans are our friends living in Abuja, living in Lagos and all over Nigeria. There are South African businesses established in Nigeria and we have not brought down any, we have not attacked them in anyway, we stood by them. Why are they attacking us? Is this what Nelson Mandela stood for? Is this what the Madiba died for?”

She further wondered why the High Commissioner should continue to enjoy the protection of Nigeria Police when the reverse is the case in his country.
The group, however, vowed that the protest would be sustained as long as the crisis is not addressed.

In his response, the Political Secretary and representative of the South African High Commissioner, Sthembiso Shongwe apologised for the xenophobic attacks and appealed to the protesting youths to be calm and assured that his government was working hard to bring the attacks under control.

Shongwe said the South African government had already taken steps to bring the situation under control with over 84 people arrested for various offences.
He further pleaded with Nigerians and promised to work harder to avert future occurrences of the ugly incident.

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