Spare parts shop, 2 restuarants, grocery store, others burned down
By Esther Onyegbula
Facts have emerged revealing that today’s attack on Nigerian businesses in South Africa, was perpetrated by South African taxi drivers under the guise of fighting crime.
The incident which took place at Witbank Mpumalamga, is coming six days after a Nigerian was killed in the rainbow nation.
Confirming the attack to Vanguard, President of Nigerian Citizens in South Africa, NICASA, Mr. Ben Okoli, said no fewer than five Nigerian businesses were destroyed by the South Africans.
He said some Nigerians were injured during the attack targeted at foreigners, adding that it was not xenophobic.
Okoli, who later issued a detailed statement after visiting the scene alongside Nigeria Consul General, to South Africa , Godwin Adama, said the incident happened at 9:am today.
The statement reads: “Today, there was an attack on Nigerian own businesses in Witbank Mpumalamga.
This was not a xenophobia attack but criminality masterminded by the taxi drivers under the guise of fighting crime.
About five Nigerian owned businesses were attacked, vandalised and burnt.
The businesses included a big spare parts dealership, two restaurants, a grocery shop, and Nigerian food stuff shop.
“This attacked happened about 9am in the morning.
The NICASA leadership was informed and we intimated the CG immediately, who in turned contacted the relevant authorities and they swung into action to control the attack.
I drove with the CG in his car to the province where we engaged the Police and the Nigerian community in a meeting inside the Police conference room.
“Our meeting was very engaging and Frank. We went round the affected shops and businesses and we also visited those admitted in the hospital over some injuries sustained.
“At the meeting with the police we informed them that it is totally not acceptable to us as a nation where people were allowed to take the laws into their hands, unless the country has become a lawless country.
“We demanded for the protection of lives of our people in the province and elsewhere in the country.
As a organization we encouraged our people to be law abiding and note take laws into their hands.
“We also agreed to have a followup meeting to continue a discussion that will bring about an understanding with the local community and Nigerians.
We appreciate the Consul General for his leadership and love to our community.
The Nigerians attacked were not into any illegal dealing but are into a legitimate businesses and were not in anyway conducting themselves in any a bad way. The attack was totally unprovoked and unwarranted.
The taxi drivers took the laws into their hands and acted in their prejudice on Nigerians.”