…Cautions against reprisal
By Michael Eboh
Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, Thursday, condemned the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other nationals in South Africa, describing it as unjustifiable, callous and a betrayal of the spirit of oneness of Africa.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, President and Chairman of the Governing Council of the NIPR, Alhaji Mukhtar Sirajo, lamented the fact that the attack is coming from a people for whom, and by whom the entire continent stood for, not very long ago, at their hour of need.
Sirajo further described xenophobia as a crime against, especially as it runs contrary to the universal values of sanctity of human life, freedom of movement, mutual respect, open engagement, communication and effective relationship management.
He sends the condolences of the NIPR to families of the victims of the xenophobic attacks, while he advised Nigerians living abroad to continue to pursue their undertakings in lawful manners and remain good ambassadors to everyone.
He commended the Federal Government for the measures it has taken so far in that regard, while he called on the government to step up its response to the menace.
“Those few involved in dubious activities must desist from such criminal tendencies that could further dent the image of the nation and bring grief to their families when they are caught,” he noted.
The NIPR boss also appealed to the South African authorities to be more forthcoming in the handling of the issue by getting on top of the issue, apprehending and meting out appropriate sanctions against those found guilty to serve as a deterrent to others.
He said, “The NIPR is worried, like all Nigerians and other right thinking people across the world, at these recurring attacks being perpetrated against Nigerians and other nationals of other African countries in South African.
“These recurring attacks, which have claimed many lives and destroyed valuable properties, are now sadly being met with many reprisals in other African countries including Nigeria. Xenophobia is a menace our world must find solution to or it will become the albatross of our age.”
Sirajo noted that there was a strong nexus between xenophobia and racism, especially as both of them feed upon hate, prejudice and crass violation of the victims’ fundamental human rights.
He, however, cautioned against reprisals, as he noted that in addressing the situation, Nigerians must be encouraged not to fall victims of the mistakes of some misguided individuals in South Africa.
He said, “The NIPR lends its voice to other voices of reasons and moderation to appeal to Nigerians and all our brothers and sisters across Africa to halt the descent into the gutter of criminality and savagery, as we need to show that we are better than those perpetrating those crimes.
“We must also realize that Nigeria and South Africa are the two African economic giants whose stability and mutual understanding mean a lot to the peace and security of Africa. Whatever challenges that go beyond the control of our two governments might likely lead to unimaginable consequences for the African continent.”