The Nigerian Citizens’ Association in South Africa (NICASA), on Sunday, stressed the need for Nigerians at home to defend the nation’s democracy, in spite of the challenges being faced.
The President-General of NICASA, Mr Benjamin Okoli, said this in a statement issued on the side lines of activities marking Nigeria 61st Independence Anniversary.
Okoli quoted the Consul-General of Nigeria to South Africa, Mr Abdukmalik Ahmed, as equally reiterating the need for Nigerians to do everything within their ambit, to defend democracy in their fatherland.
“We must always be reminded of our journey to statehood, going into the past to celebrate our founding fathers who made enormous sacrifices to build the freedom and liberty we enjoy today.
“There is the need to be steadfast in guarding our democracy and independence, despite the enormous challenges we face as a nation. Through our collective efforts and democratic engagement, we will surely prevail,” Ahmed said.
Okoli also quoted Amb. HM Manta, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to South Africa, as commending the achievements so far recorded by the Federal Government, describing them as encouraging.
“The achievement by government and the strategic plans to launch Nigeria into greatness is laudable, the government in combating crimes, such as Boko Haram, banditry and other crimes against our nation.
“Despite the proliferation of arms in Nigeria from the instability in the Sahel region, especially Libya, government’s readiness to combat these crimes is commendable.
“I urge Nigerians to be law abiding and become good ambassadors of our dear country, Nigeria,” Manta said.
Okoli explained that the Nigerian envoy, the Consul General, alongside Nigerians living in South Africa were joined by well wishers at Illovo, Johannesburg, to celebrate Nigeria’s independence anniversary.
According to him, the celebration featured music by the award winning Nigerian artiste, Kunle Ayo, as well as some local Igbo and Hausa groups who also performed to add colour to the event.
“There was also a talk given by Khoi San community leader on deepening person-to-person relations among South-African citizens, to promote mutual understanding about the similarities in culture between the two countries and the need to prevent crisis, such as xenophobia.
“Not many South Africans understand Nigeria and the few that did, do not create the awareness that is needed to promote unity and peace among both citizens, hence the incessant xenophobic attacks against Nigerians.
“We need more engagements to foster peace and understanding between South Africans and Nigerians; NICASA congratulates Nigeria on her independence anniversary and wishes our dear country greatness, unity and peace,” Okoli said, in the statement. (NAN)