Some Nigerian Senators on Tuesday in Abuja in reaction to the three-week old xenophobic attacks on foreigners in South Africa condemned the attacks and called on the country’s authorities to stop the wave of attacks, arrest the culprits and bring them to book.
The senators, who spoke to newsmen in Abuja, express the view that migration was a common experience of all animals, not just human beings, which can never be stopped by xenophobic attacks as it is happening in South Africa at the moment.
According to them, when you migrate to any country that gives you a visa to enter, the expectation is that that country would extend fundamental human rights to you.
They are of the view that the attacks on Nigerians and other African nationals was a bad way to pay back their benefactors considering Nigeria’s frontline role in the collective fight against Apartheid and the relief funds that were sourced and used to cripple the Apartheid regime in the country.
Senator Olusola Adeyeye (APC-Osun Central), for instance, said Nigeria had contributed immensely to the liberation of South Africans from oppression and discrimination, and therefore, deserved a pat on the back, not attacks.
Adeyeye recalled that besides monetary contributions, some admission slots in Nigerian universities and polytechnics were reserved for South African students during their struggle against apartheid regime.
“I am saddened by the xenophobic attacks because I grew up at a time when students in almost every campus in Nigeria contributed money to South African Relief Fund.
“You can never stop migration. It is a common experience of all animals, not just human beings.
“When you migrate to any country that gives you a visa to enter, the expectation is that that country will extend fundamental human rights to you,’’ Adeyeye said.
He said that Nigerians gave voice to the aspiration for freedom in South Africa and ought to be welcomed and not attacked.
He called on the South African Government to prosecute perpetrators of the attacks as well as extend protection to Nigerians and other foreigners within its territory.
He, however, called on the Federal Government to put measures in place to tackle the spate of unemployment in the country, which he said, was largely responsible for migration of Nigerians to other countries.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Senator Andy Uba (PDP-Anambra South), said it was unfortunate that foreigners were being attacked and in worst instances, killed in South Africa.
Uba urged the South African government not to renege on its promise to bring the situation under control.
“The South African government assured us that nothing else will happen to Nigerians and I don’t think anything has happened to Nigerians that we have got in contact with,’’ he said.
Senator Robert Boroffice (APC Ondo North) expressed dismay over the incident, saying that the xenophobic attack was a social problem in South Africa which must immediately be brought to an end.
According to him, it is something that South Africa has to address immediately and doing otherwise would soon have a negative effect on the South African economy.
“There have been attempts to stabilise the polity and the economy after Apartheid; unfortunately, many of the South African youths are still unemployed.
“Also, some of the white collar jobs are still held by foreigners. So, you could see this belief that the foreigners have come to take over their economy and jobs, I think that is the major cause of the problem.
He also called on the Nigerian government to take steps to create more jobs in Nigeria to reduce migration of Nigerians to other countries, such as South Africa.
Boroffice, however, advised Nigerians against carrying out reprisal attacks on South Africans and their businesses in Nigeria, saying that the effect would not be felt as there were few South African businesses and South Africans in Nigeria.