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Xenophobic attacks: Group expresses concern over women, children’s plight

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By Gabriel Ewepu

ABUJA- AS Nigerians living in South Africa come under xenophobic attacks by South Africans a civil society organisation, Virtuous Women and Youth Empowerment Initiative, VWYEI, at the weekend, expressed concern over the plight of women and children who are Nigerians.

This was contained in a statement signed by the National Coordinator, VWYEI, Mrs. Esther Akwo, while x-raying the situation in that country as it has negatively impacted on Nigerian families, businesses and academics.

Akwo who commended the brutality by South Africans on Nigerian said both countries have had wonderful diplomatic and bilateral relations, and called on both governments to fish out bad elements behind the attacks in order to avert future occurrence.

She also asked the Nigerian government to adequately secure women and children who are always vulnerable in such crisis, and ensure their welfare taken care off.

She said: “It is very unfortunate for these attacks to happen again in South Africa. Nigerians are always the targets and we in Virtuous Women and Youth Empowerment Initiative, VWYEI, totally condemn the barbaric act by some South Africans who have demonstrated their hatred towards Nigerians in their country.

“Our concern is for the Nigerian women and children who are also caught up in these attacks. We want the Nigerian High Commission and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to move swiftly move in to secure them and take care of their welfare from any form of assault.

“Possibly they should be given security personnel that will protect them. We also want their husbands and their businesses affected adequately compensated. We want both countries to live peacefully because violence is not the way to solve any problem.”

However, she said the government of South Africa should make sure that those behind the attacks were brought to book.

“We unequivocally state that those who promote, sponsored, and carried out the xenophobic attacks should be fished out by the South African law enforcement agents and dealt with according to law.

“We also urge the government to flush out any Nigerian involved in criminal activities according to law, and not for South Africans to transfer their anger to Nigerians living and doing legitimate businesses”, she stated.

Meanwhile, reports have it that Nigerians resident in South Africa have decided to defend themselves as xenophobic attacks escalates, because they were the specific targets in this new wake of attacks against black immigrants.

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