The senate seven-man team scheduled to travel to South Africa this week, to probe the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians have canceled their visit. The Deputy Senate President, Ekweremadu stated this on Wednesday’s plenary.
He explained that the decision was to enable House of Representatives members who has left already to conclude their mission.
The House of Representatives yesterday constituted a six-member delegation to visit South Africa and interface with its parliament over the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.
The House leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, explained that the delegation would find lasting solutions to the perennial xenophobic violence often targeted at Nigerians.
He added that the delegation comprising the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnena Elendu-Ukeje would push for the compensation of Nigerians whose properties worth N84 million were destroyed in the recent xenophobic attacks.
The Senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, had last week set up a 7-man Committee to visit South Africa with a view to ending xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living there.
The decision by the senate came 48-hours after the South African Government deported 97 Nigerians for allegedly committing various offenses in the country, just about the time their compatriots were victims of xenophobia in the country.
The team was supposed to have been led by the deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu and majority leader, Ahmed Lawan.
Others members of the team are the Chief Whip, Senator Sola Adeyeye, Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Shehu Sani; Senator Stella Oduah, Senator Magnus Abe and Senator Shaba Lafaji.
The xenophobic attacks against Nigerian Community in South Africa last month following a community uprising against drugs and prostitution in the area, which was supported by a special metro police task team set up by Johannesburg mayor, Herman Mashaba.
The residents of the area claim Nigerians had illegally taken over most properties and turned them into drug and prostitution dens.Close to five hundred residents of Rosettenville had gone an anti-drugs rampage, burning houses, and nightclubs owned by Nigerians.
The xenophobic attacks on foreigners especially Nigeria got out of hands and grew to the point a hate group emerged on Facebook vowing to kill as many Nigerians found in South Africa.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the killing of her citizens in South Africa, the Nigerian and demanded speedy action from the government.
South Africa’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Mnguni, had apologized to Nigerians, and other foreigners involved in the attacks. Mnguni said the unjustifiable attacks were a poor representation of South Africa’s values. He said the South African government had taken measures to stop them.
In apparent retaliation for the attacks, some angry Nigerian protesters vandalized South African mobile phone giant, MTN’s head office in Abuja and Niger Delta militants also threatened to destroy all South African owned establishments in Nigeria including Shoprite should the attacks continue.
Meanwhile, Shoprite Nigeria in a statement on Monday condemned the renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners in South Africa.
The company said it will love to see the end to the attacks, stating that it employs thousands of foreign nationals.
The statement reads:
“Shoprite Nigeria strongly condemns any kind of xenophobic violence and intimidation against the citizens of other countries, anywhere in the world.
“The retailer is highly concerned at the acts of violence against foreign nationals that sporadically flare up in South Africa and the resultant rhetoric of intolerance that is now being leveled against South Africans living in Nigeria.
“As a company with deep African roots who employs thousands of African nationals and most importantly works to bring low prices to 14 countries outside of South Africa, we would like to see an end to xenophobia across the continent.
“Shoprite appeals to the general public of South Africa and Nigeria to protect the human dignity and safety of all people living in both countries.
“We remain committed to work with industry and the appropriate consumer groups to engage so that decisive action is taken against those involved in violent crimes and intimidation against foreign nationals as well as to convey our strong position.”