According to the leader of the protesting students in Kaduna, Mr Dominic Philip, he explains his concern about the attacks, looting, destruction and mindless killings of Nigerians in South Africa.
Philip, however, noted with dismay that instead of reciprocating the good gesture, South Africa had allowed Nigerians to suffer all forms of discrimination, including murders and looting of their businesses. According to him: “Available records have shown that the level of attacks on Nigerians is on astronomical rise, with the recent killing of another Nigerian by South Africans, on July 20, increasing the number to 118 in the last two years. Out of this number, 13 were reportedly killed by South African Police in an extra-Judicial manner.
“It appears that the South African government is incapable of bringing their citizens to order and stop the killings, leaving us with no option than to picket South African businesses in Nigeria, until the killing is stopped. We, therefore, want the South African government to investigate and provide accurate number of Nigerians so far killed, and prosecute perpetrators of xenophobic attacks to ensure justice for the victims.
“We equally want the government to generate data of all Nigerians, whose properties were burnt or looted, for immediate compensation.” Similarly, in Benue State, leader of the students, Abah Owoicho, who led the protest to shut down the offices of MTN and DSTV, also presented a strong worded letter of protest to the organisations. Owoicho said the letter was a condemnation of the years of barbaric killings of Nigerians in South Africa.
“Since Nigerians living in South Africa cannot enjoy the same peace and support that South African businesses are enjoying here, it is only reasonable to shut down those businesses and their interests, until further notice,” he said. Owoicho also frowned at the recent killing of a Nigerian student, Dennis Obiaju, describing it as ‘barbaric’. According to him, “It has become necessary for NANS to rise to the occasion and speak against the killings that have continued, with no visible attempt by the South African Government to curb the menace.
“Our pain is deeply rooted in the peace and patronages your organisations and other South African businesses enjoy in our country, while the safety of our citizens and their businesses cannot be guaranteed in South Africa,” he said. Owoicho said that it was disheartening that South Africans could suddenly forget the ‘big brother’ role Nigeria played, which led to the dismantling of apartheid regime in their country.
“We also remembered the apartheid struggle, Nigeria was very instrumental to the ending of the policy but today they are paying us with evil. “It is very painful to see that Nigeria that supported South Africa to gain independence is not being respected today. “We can no longer stand and watch while our citizens are being massacred.
“We believe that the international community is also watching these developments,” he said. Ms Vera Ube, MTN Connect Manager in Makurdi, received the protest letter on behalf of MTN. She told the students that the management and staff of MTN were not in support of the killings as it had condemned such anti-development actions any time they occurred. Ube, however, said she would forward the letter to the appropriate quarters for consideration.
“It is unfortunate that our people are being killed in South Africa, the management of MTN is not happy and we are not in support of the killings in South Africa.”