By ANDREW OJIEZEL
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has expressed is concern over the ongoing xenophobic attacks against foreigners in South Africa and called for the immediate recall of the country’s High Commissioner to the country.
In a statement, by the President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama and the Secretary General, Comrade (Barr) Musa-Lawal Ozigi, TUC stated that from indications, it appeared “there is a grand conspiracy by the government cum state security apparatus to continue to mindlessly waste lives and take over people’s properties of innocent and harmless fellow Africans.
“First and foremost their anger is misplaced and probably borne out of the inferiority complex suffered from years of oppression and apartheid. As a credible organization we condemn crimes in all its forms and support punishment for those found culpable. But in this case no one has mentioned any case of crime; it is rather a case of a country whose freedom we staked our lives, financed and spent other resources to fight for and today we get xenophobia as returns.”
The union noted that “One wonders what these South Africans are turning to. Is it a case of ingratitude or lack of historical documentation by their leaders, of the unmatched leadership role Nigeria played in the 80s towards the dismantling of apartheid? It is on record that thousands of South African children were brought to Nigerian and distributed across all the unity schools in Nigeria and were fed and housed free courtesy of Nigerian government and Nigerians. They were welcomed with open arms! How have their youth missed this history that Nigerians have become objects for destruction in modern day South Africa?”
It should further be noted that out that out of about 2.3 million immigrants living in South Africa, only 1.6 million are Africans and they are engaged in small shops, vending, and service industries among other things. How come South Africans are not killing the whites that control about 8.7 per cent of the population and controls over 85 per cent wealth is a question begging for answer. The Chinese, Indians, Europeans, and others control the land and economy of South Africa yet they kill fellow Africans under the watch of security officials.
African immigrants do not own lands neither do they run companies nor own mining companies.
“Why should South Africans see fellow Africans as competitor instead of a fellow compatriot looking for a greener pasture? We feel pained that despite the apparent position attitude of the Mr. Jacob Zuma-led administration to investigate and punish those involved in accordance with the provisions of the law of the land over the years nothing was ever done.
It is indeed quite unfortunate South Africa has forgotten in a hurry how Nigeria and the rest of the world rallied and mobilized support for the country during its apartheid experience.
“In Nigeria here South African has over 100 companies and virtually all of them are seriously involved in anti-labour practices especially MTN, Shoprite and DSTV yet we did not shut down the companies neither did we kill. Over 50 per cent of products sold at Shoprite are imported from South Africa yet we accommodate it. That is civility. Efforts were made to unionise MTN and others all to no avail which cannot happen in their country. It is important at this juncture that we let the African Union (AU) and United Nations Organisation (UNO) caution South Africans and let them know that no individuals or country has a monopoly of violence.”
In addition, Kaigama and Ozigi stated that “We are calling on the Federal Government to put modalities in place to evacuate Nigerians in South Africa and recall the High Commissioner immediately to save the situation as further killing may lead to a major crisis. They own several multi-billion dollar investments on our soils yet, we co-exist despite all odds. This killing and de-humanisation of Nigerians must stop. Not anymore. This must stop! If killing and maiming of Nigerians is the sacrifice required for us to maintain a cordial relationship, we are not willing to make it anymore.”