By Rotimi Agbana, Tolulope Abereoje & Precious Nwokocha
When videos of fresh attacks, looting, burning of foreigners, businesses and properties belonging to foreigners, (including Nigerians) went viral on social media on Sunday, controversial Dubai-based billionaire Nigerian, Ray Hushpuppi, expressed anger at Nigerian celebrities for failing to exploit their celebrity status in nipping the incessant attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
However, a number of Nigerian celebrities have finally reacted to the recent fresh attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners based in South Africa. Among celebrities who have condemned these attacks include, 2Baba, Wizkid, Davido, Ruggedman, Vector, IK Ogbonna, Simi, Mr. Eazi, Jide Kosoko, Pretty Mike, and many others.
2Baba, Afro-pop musician
Condemning the attacks, award-winning singer, 2Baba described it as ‘unacceptable. “Xenophobia is unacceptable and we must deal with it from the source. If you have a mouth, use it, celebrity or not. The real enemy of Africa is laughing once again. We need a massive reduction, reorientation and reorganization of Africa. Some idiotic and backward thinking South Africans have embarrassed the whole continent again and the problem has shifted from that to celebrities. President Mohammadu Buhari, senators, governors, traditional rulers, ministers, prominent Nigerians, inspector general, PDP, APC, this is becoming too shameful. How can we have no dignity in our polity? Nigerians are being killed home and abroad and it is politics as usual. Shame”, he said.
Wizkid, Afro-pop singer
Wizkid expressed utmost sadness on the attacks. He said; “Disheartening to watch these videos from my home! You’re fighting the wrong war , fighting the wrong people. How do we walk around hating each other? Africa is one! We’re all the same people! Pls don’t loose yourself. Say no to Xenophobia. One love.”
Davido, pop music singer
Lost for words, Davido simply opined that the deplorable socio-political and economic condition of Nigeria is responsible for Nigerians relocating to South Africa. “If our country was good enough, what are we looking for in South Africa”, the ‘Dami Duro crooner said.
Daddy Freeze, Radio Presenter
For controversial 96.9 Cool FM Radio Presenter, Daddy Freeze, the onus lies in the hands of stakeholders to end the attack on innocent Nigerians. “I’m angered and disgusted with what is going on in South Africa. I’m not happy with the way Nigerians are being treated. I hereby implore whoever has a voice; if you are a pastor, a politician, a celebrity, lend your voice to this cause. Let everyone know that enough is enough. Let the message get out there, let the government do something. Our people have suffered and died enough”, he said.
Ruggedman, Veteran hip-hop musician
Veteran hip-hop musician, Ruggedman urged the federal government to swing into action before it gets worse. “We are Africans, how many things does someone have to fight at the same time?
God help us to face the real source of our problems. Leave your neighbor alone, unless he is the one in charge. No to Xenophobia, Nigerian government act now”, he noted.
Khloe, Ex-Big brother Naija Housemate
While urging both the Nigerian and South African governments to do something fast, ex- Big Brother Naija housemate, Khloe noted that the federal government’s slumber is responsible for the attacks. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with a couple of amazing people and brands from South Africa and in times as this, we all need to use our voice to condemn this despicable act of violence because evil prevails when good people do nothing. I’m calling on the Nigerian and South African Government to address this issue and put an end to this evil. The world is watching, they are taking cues from how we treat ourselves and handle sensitive issues like this because that is the same hand they will extend to us as well. This has to stop, we cannot let this happen. Our leaders are sleeping. Say not to xenophobia”, she said.
Vector, hip-hop musician
Popular rap musician, Vector, stated that Nigerians are responsible for the xenophobic attacks lon them and other foreigners in South Africa. “Xenophobia my ass. Africans and their self hate mentality. I will not blame anyone but our people. The ones who don’t see they are kings in the world. This one is worse than suggesting revolution. This one is violent attack on the same people the government wants to keep peace amidst whilst suffering. I am Nigerian (it feels shameful to say as there is nothing to be proud of beyond being thankful for life and grace), but shame on all the South Africans who think killing the people who are same skin as them makes sense. Federal Government here is an argument for you to think about”, he submitted.
Simi, Afro-pop music singer
Expressing her displeasure with the attacks, Simi said; “Does it really need to be said that hate is such a stupid concept? I was so angry yesterday. I was angry because I’m a human being and I want my people to be safe, I want your people to be safe. It’s almost like all we are capable of is writing big words and fighting big fights on social media. Isn’t it time we get our shit together and do better? Today, it’s xenophobia. This freedom is a farce. Hating people the same shade as you is hating yourself. It’s a shame! Our government needs to protect its people. Value your people because who else can we run to?
IK Ogbonna, Actor
Popular actor, IK Ogbonna was hopeful that the federal government can tackle the problem at hand. “I only hope our federal government can tackle this as priority at the moment. Every Nigerian life should count as a huge loss to this great country”, he noted.
Pretty Mike, popular Lagos socialite
Controversial nightlife mogul, Pretty Mike lamented African’s inhumanity to each other. “Welcome to Africa where blacks are killing blacks, where we refuse to be our brothers keeper. They say charity begins at home but we cannot change the world unless we change ourselves. Welcome to Lagos where everybody is sleeping with everybody’s lover on a low. Enough said, pray for blacks”,
Jide Kosoko, Veteran Actor
Veteran actor, Jide Kosoko expressed absolute sadness on the attacks. He said; “My heart bleeds. Sometimes I think to myself, is this what life is really about? Even if you’re not a Christian or Muslim, dont people believe there is a repercussion for bad deeds, Please lets pray for Nigerians in South Africa.”
Banky W, R&B Music Singer
R&B music singer, Bankole Wellington, a.k.a Banky W described the attacks as ‘completely heartbreaking.’ He said; “The Xenophobia attacks by some South Africans against Nigerians and other foreign nationals are completely heartbreaking. Sad to see people that suffered through decades of apartheid, violence and hatred, now turning around to do same or worse to others. The people that South Africans look up to should please speak up and denounce Xenophobia. The government, business people, athletes, artists, media personalities and even the average citizens have a responsibility to stand up for justice.”
Daddy Showkey, Musician
Expressing his pain, galala music exponent wondered if it was a crime to be a Nigerian. He said; “Is it a crime to be a Nigerian? Is it a crime to be an African? You can’t be killing our people like this. Burning Africans, your fellow black man. You can’t blame them when you don’t treat your own people with respect back home, why won’t outsiders treat them anyhow? Why won’t they say our lives have no value when here in our own country our lives have no value? We must stand up against this injustice going on against us. They are killing our people because of women. The way Nigerians are treated all over Africa is not good.”
Toke Makinwa, Broadcaster
Celebrity broadcaster, Toke Makinwa described the attacks as an injustice to fellow Africans. She said; “We are all Africans. We have come so far from the dark ages, yet we kill each other. Just hearing of the xenophobic attack in South Africa and my heart is broken. I cannot even begin to watch the gruesome videos. Mandela did not die, suffer all he did for you all to start killing your African brothers and sisters. Not all immigrants are in South Africa to sell drugs. You are all doing yourselves a great injustice killing people who give so much to your economy. Right now the African agenda is the biggest one in the world today. We are magic, everyone wants a piece of us; our music, arts, sports, fashion, it’s so cool to be African. We cannot ridicule all that those before us labored for.”
Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) reacts
Reacting to the attacks, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria called on Nigerians to prepare for a reprisal attack on South African owned companies resident in Nigeria. “We are calling on Nigerians to make up their minds and prepare within the next 78 hours to boycott DSTV, Nigerians should even boycott the Big Brother Naija. We are of the opinion that even the participants in BBNaija should walk out of the BBNaija immediately. Those who have MTN lines should cut it off and go for other lines. We should cut off any diplomatic relationship with South Africa. South Africa’s xenophobic violence has demonstrated that even the South African government is guilty by association. There is no justification for the xenophobic attacks against other African nationals who live in South Africa.”
Meanwhile, the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN reports that Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama had on Monday, condemned the renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa, describing the perpetrators as mindless criminals. He also pledged that ‘definitive measures’ would be taken to address the situation because there was need to end the attacks.
However, as at the time of this report, ChannelsTV reports that South Africa’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Monroe, has denied reports of Xenophobic attacks in his country. Monroe reportedly denied that the attacks in South Africa are xenophobic and targetted at Nigerians. He made the comments at a media briefing with Nigeria’s foreign affairs ministry headed by Geoffery Onyeama. He described the attacks as ‘sporadic acts of violence’ adding that businesses belonging to other South Africans were also affected in the violence.