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OBY EZEKWESILI IN SOUTH AFRICA: Meets With Nigerians In SA, Explores Ways To End Xenophobic Attacks On Africans In South Africa.

Ezekwesili with NCWC members in SA.
According to a report by the Nation Newspapers, Nigerians resident in Cape Town under the aegis of Nigerian Community Western Cape (NCWC) have suggested far-reaching steps that Nigeria and South Africa must take to end the xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa.

These steps were highlighted as measures at an interactive session with former Minister of Education in Nigeria, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, who has recently been under attacks spearheaded by the failed Federal Government of Nigeria, for attending the World Economic Forum, WEF, which held in Cape Town, South Africa.

Select leaders of the Nigerian Community, entrepreneurs and professionals led by Acting President of NCWC, Mr. Cosmos Echie, attended the meeting where they used the opportunity provided by the interactive meeting to discuss the xenophobic crises, which the group prefers to describe as Afrophobia.

NCWC declared Afrophobia was detrimental to the “spirit of African renaissance, affirmation of black heritage, progress and development.
“Afrophobia they say, compromises everything that the recently brokered intra-African trade – Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement — represents and aspires to deliver.’’

A communiqué at the end of the interaction session advised Nigeria and South Africa governments to open channels of bilateral dialogue to mutually find a permanent solution to the crises for the sake of the economic advancement of both their countries and the entire continent.

The group said that South Africa must immediately trigger series of actions necessary to de-escalate the brewing conflict by instructing its officials to desist from making “further pejorative and incendiary comments targeting Nigerians and their country and instead publicly commit to taking preventive and surveillance measures that will foreclose a repeat of Afrophobic attacks of Nigerians and other African nationals.”

The session also encouraged President Cyril Remaphosa of South Africa to offer “sincere public apology to Nigeria and other countries affected by the attacks and the entire continent for the tragic hostility and harm perpetrated against their citizens.” And encouraged to visit victims of the attacks and offer compensations for their losses.

NCWC called for comprehensive prosecution of perpetrators of the Afrophobia attacks to ensure punishment, arguing that “the absence of consequence has enabled repeat of violence against Nigerians and other nationals from African countries.”

Nigerians resident in South Africa, NCWC says “should design a fact-based campaign to widely convey the accurate and positive narrative of the value they contribute to their host country.”

Some of these narratives, the body pointed out, is fact that more than 18 percent of lecturers in South African universities are Nigerians just as medical practitioners in rural hospitals are Nigerians. Also, most Nigerians and Nigerian-owned businesses operate responsibly in legitimate and professional practices in South Africa compared to the less than one percent of cases of shadowy activities. These achievements of Nigerians in South Africa should be highlighted so Nigerians would continue to suffer the negative narrative being peddled in the Media against our people.

It also encouraged umbrella organisations of South Africa- based Nigerians to launch a business platform to support the formalizing processes for as many informal businesses of Nigerians as possible to better capture the value and impact being created and contributed to South Africa’s economic and social landscape.

On her part, the former Vice President of the World Bank, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili promised to use her vast wealth of experience and expertise to work with the Nigerian Community Western Cape (NCWC) to ensure their goal to help achieve the formalizing platform comes to fruition, a venture the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari should have embarked upon to help Nigerians in South Africa achieve at this critical point of the crisis.

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