…Want FG to make welfare of Nigerians trust of its foreign policy
By Victor Young
Workers in the nation’s telecommunications and Communications sector including MTN Nigeria, have pleaded with Nigerians to stop reprisal attacks on MTN and other South African business interests in Nigeria following ongoing xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and their businesses in South Africa.
On the aegis of Private Telecommunications and Communications Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PTECSSAN, and its MTN Branch, the workers called on the Nigerian Government and her South African counterpart to expedite actions in genuinely exploring all diplomatic measures to nipping this very sad, weird, unfortunate and disturbing trend in the bud before it destroyed the age long diplomatic relationship between both countries.
In a statement by the General Secretary of PTECSSAN, Okonu Abdullahi and PTECSSAN MTN branch Chairman,Elisha Adamu, the workers said among others, “The barbaric attacks on Nigerian lives and livelihoods by South Africans started about two years ago and the South African Government failed to take proactive and preventive measures to stem the ugly tide. It is beyond releasing presidential statement condemning the dastardly acts without punitive action against the organizers and perpetrators of these attacks on Nigerians and other Africans in the country.
“The right of Africans to live peacefully as law abiding residents in any country on the continent must be respected. South Africans should not be oblivious of the immense contributions of Nigerian Government and her people to the anti- apartheid struggle for their liberation when over $10.5million was donated to the South Africa Relief Fund by Nigerian workers and Students.
“While we condemn in its entirety the barbaric actions of the South Africans we must not fail to do same against the reprisal attacks on MTN Nigeria and other South African business interests in Nigeria. We understand the pain and frustration of our people because of xenophobia going on in South Africa but we must not as a people succumb to the temptation of reprisal as this will be tantamount to stooping so low to the level of the South Africans. We must know that any reprisal attack is uncivilized and will be counterpart productive, hence, condemnable.
“It must interest Nigerians to note that majority of members of Board of Directors of MTN Nigeria and other South Africa business interests in Nigeria are Nigerians who have contributed immensely and still contributing to the growth of this country in their various field of endeavours.
“Also, workers in MTN Nigeria and other businesses of South Africa origin are Nigerians not South Africans. Therefore, those involved in the reprisal attacks must have a rethink and refrain from further attack in the interest of our economy and well being. It is irrational for Nigerians to attack Nigerians, their means and places of livelihood. Nigeria is currently battling with high rate of unemployment and any act capable of worsening the surly and pitiable situation must be condemned, discouraged and resisted by all and sundry.
“We call on Federal Government to rejig its foreign policy to focus more on the welfare of Nigerians irrespective of where they reside in the World to curtail further vilification and attack on her citizens. It is beyond dispatching of special envoy to South Africa though it is commendable. Also, commendable by Nigerian government are the recall of her High Commissioner to South Africa and withdrawal from participation at the forthcoming World Economic Forum for Africa in the country.
Nigerian government can also take a step further in showing her grievance by expelling from Nigeria some selected and high profile South Africans.
“Furthermore, it is high time Nigerian government looked into reasons for exodus of Nigerians to South Africa and other countries of the world in order to address them. Economic hardship and high rate of insecurity in the land are some of these reasons and must tackled headlong.
“We call on all security agencies to beef up security in and around South Africa High Commission and South African business interests in the Country to forestall further break down of law and order. While we call on our security operatives to prevent destruction of lives and properties in the country we urge them to discharge their duties with utmost sense of professionalism.”