Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa expresses frustration at growing xenophobic attacks in South Africa

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari's special assistant on diaspora and foreign affairs Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa has expressed frustration at the fact that the numerous efforts introduced to stop xenophobic attacks in South Africa are not working.


Last week, Two Nigerians were killed in South Africa, bringing the total number of those murdered over the last two years to a staggering high of 118 according to the Nigeria Union in South Africa (Nusa). Despite the efforts of the Nigerian government to get Pretoria to reign in the angry mobs, the attacks against fellow Africans have continued, however.


Hon Dabiri-Erewa noted that the killing of Nigerians was increasing at an alarming rate and called for an urgent review of the Early Warning Signal (EWS) put in place by the ministries of foreign affairs of Nigeria and South Africa to curb the attacks. She also said Nigeria must speed up the process of finalising the implementation of the signal which was put in place last year.


Francis Ochuba, a native of Ngodo community in the Umnneochi Local Government Area of Abia State and Chidi Ibebuike, a native of Uturu in the Isikwuato Local Government Area also in Abia, were murdered in cold blood last week.  Mr Ochuba, a property owner, was reportedly shot dead alongside his estate agent, a female South African on May 5, while visiting the tenant occupying his house to collect rent in central Johannesburg.


Mr Ibebuike was shot dead at the entrance to his house at Hazyview in Mpumalanga on May 13 and his car was subsequently snatched by yet-to-be-identified gunmen. Hon Dabiri-Erewa explained that the review and urgent implementation of the EWS had become imperative following the increasing attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.


Hon Dabiri-Erewa said: “The efforts that led to the establishment of the EWS by both countries are not working as the present mechanisms seem to do little or nothing to prevent the occurrences of these killings.”


She once again appealed to Nigerians living in South Africa to remain calm and shelve their proposed mass protest and await immediate intervention from both countries to stop the killings and bring the culprits to justice. Hon Dabiri-Erewa noted that while four South African policemen are already on trial for allegedly killing Nigerians in South Africa, it is imperative that anyone found culpable be punished.


Up to 800,000 Nigerians, mostly young people, reside in South Africa, according to unofficial estimates. Given the collapse in the South African economy and the growth of unemployment, they have become the victims of xenophobic attacks, alongside other Africans.