Xenophobia: Nigeria, South Africa set up call centre

Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama says Nigeria and South Africa have set up a 24-hour call centre to serve as an early warning system to protect Nigerians from xenophobia.

Onyeama said at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja that Federal Government was ready to intervene wherever any Nigerian is threatened or in difficulty,

“We will always intervene quickly. An example of this was in Italy, you will recall last year or the year before there was a Nigerian who was attacked and killed.

“We quickly engaged with Italian Government and really took all the necessary steps, arresting people and paying compensation to the family. So we will always engage to protect Nigerian lives wherever they may be.

“We are hoping now to set up a 24-hour call centre so that Nigerians anywhere in the world can call a particular number whenever they are in distress,”

He said that the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa has been directed to facilitate legal support to help the victims of recent xenophobic attacks in the country to get their compensations.


Afrophobia not in SA, Nigeria’s vision for Africa – Nigerian foreign minister

Tshwane – South Africa and Nigeria have resolved to establish an early warning system in response to xenophobic attacks and to strengthen relations between the two nations.

International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and her Nigerian counterpart Geoffrey Onyeama held a bilateral meeting on Monday. This follows a wave of xenophobic violence in SA in February.

The meeting was attended by several officials from both countries, including Nigeria’s interior minister and South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.

Ten houses were torched in Rosettenville by angry residents who claimed the homes were being used by Nigerians for drug dealing and prostitution. Several Pretoria homes were raided by community members for similar reasons.

“For some time now, there have been these incidents of attacks and Nigerians have been victims,” said Onyeama.

He added that his government knew that violence aimed at Nigerian nationals in SA was not state sponsored.

‘Dynamic’ South Africa

“We know that the South African government has always condemned this, that the South African people have condemned this. It was the action of a small criminal minority,” he continued.

“We also recognise that not all the Nigerians in SA engage in lawful activity, but the vast majority are,” said Onyeama.


South Africans Vow to Punish Foreigners as Minister Calls for Peace

South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has urged residents of Rosettenville suburb in Johannesburg to stop attacking foreigners accused of perpetrating crime.

Gigaba, who toured the suburb on Monday where about 10 houses occupied by foreigners allegedly selling drugs and promoting prostitution were set on fire, said locals should report such incidents to the police instead of taking matters into their own hands.

He told residents, after touring the affected area, that the South African government is aware of their grievances and will do all it can to address them.

But he was quick to stress that it is wrong to attack foreigners. “No person has the right to take the law into his or her own hands … We need to assess the whole situation concerning people said to be committing crimes before we take any action.”

However, his calls fell on deaf ears as some of the residents said they are sick and tired of foreigners who are allegedly selling drugs to their children and promoting prostitution.

One of them, Teressa Zwane, said, “They (foreigners) are selling drugs to our children. They are also promoting prostitution here. We are now sick and tired of them. They must go because even police are not taking any action even if we inform them about what is going on.”