Following the latest wave of xenophobic attacks sweeping through South Africa, the Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Matters to the President, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has tongue-lashed South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Mr. Malusi Gigaba.
Abike Dabiri took issues with Gigaba over his indecorous negation of the death of 116 Nigerians in South Africa, Vanguard
In a strongly worded statement Sunday, Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa slated the minister for failing to realise the enormity of these attacks following his response that the death of “more than 100 Nigerians” should be sorted out at the diplomatic level.
The statement read in part:
“It appears that Mr. Gigaba would rather dwell on and entertain himself with diplomatic niceties when the welfare of Nigerians resident in South Africa are at stake now more than any time in recent history.
His response to the xenophobic attacks, which has now become a recurring decimal on Africans, most especially Nigerians living peacefully in their host country of South Africa was, indeed, unfortunate.
While it’s no longer news that law-abiding Nigerians in that country have borne the major brunt of these attacks, the news by the Home Affairs Minister that his country is trying to get rid of criminals in his country at the time when indiscriminate mayhem and looting of law-abiding Nigerians is very suspicious, to say the least. Even if this unguarded statement must be taken in its face value, we wonder if wanton destruction and indiscriminate killing of their African brothers is the most sensible excuse to give. The home affairs minister should have been more guarded and introspective in his statements so as not to further fan the embers of xenophobia that may get out control if care is not taken.
Recalling Nigeria’s pivotal role in South Africa’s history, particularly in bringing apartheid to an end, Dabiri condemned xenophobia as a “debilitating social disease” which can’t be tolerated anymore.
She described Mr. Gigaba’s response to the mayhem as one that smirks of insensitivity, and therefore very reprehensible, if not unacceptable.
“In view of this unfortunate statement, I am therefore restating my earlier call on the African Union (AU) to take up the South Africa’s xenophobic issue as a matter of urgency. “The days that the Nigerian government will fold its arms while its citizens are maltreated to the point that some of them have lost their lives for no just cause are long gone,” she said.