The Nigerian Senate during Plenary today resolved to send a seven-man team to South Africa, to probe the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians. The team will be led by deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu and majority leader, Ahmed Lawan.
The Senate decision 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.
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 Lafiaji.
The xenophobic attacks against Nigerian Community in South Africa began about two weeks ago. The attacks followed 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.
Close to five hundred residents of Rosettenville had gone an anti-drugs rampage, burning houses, and nightclubs owned by Nigerians. The residents of the area claim Nigerians had illegally taken over most properties and turned them into drug and prostitution dens
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.
The Nigerian government had expressed concern over the xenophobic attack and killings of Nigerians by South Africans and demanded speedy action.
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.
According to eyewitnesses, the angry protesters which were mostly touts and students had forcefully entered the MTN office though security men were around but were unable to curtail them as they made away with some customers’ phones and other valuables.
The Special Adviser to the Minister of Communications, Mr. Victor Oluwadamilare, who confirmed the attack, admitted that it was a reprisal against MTN, following the xenophobic attacks in South Africa the previous week.
Last Friday, South African police reportedly arrested 136 suspects in connection with their involvement in the xenophobia mayhem unleashed on immigrants in Pretoria.
The arrests followed a fresh wave of xenophobic attacks in Gauteng Province heightened by an anti-immigrants march held in Pretoria same day.
The act of Xenophobia, which is the indiscriminate hatred against foreigners is closely related to racism and dates way back.