Xenophobia: FG must sue South Africa for gruesome violation of Nigerians’ fundamental rights ― Ajulo
Says attacks barbaric, not reflective of true spirit of Africa
A lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Kayode Ajulo, has frowned on the series of xenophobic attacks by South Africans against Nigerians living in their country, urging the Federal Government through the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Malam Abubakar Malami, SAN, to immediately commence legal action against South Africa, based on protocol agreement to African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights which was signed on May 29, 2004.
Ajulo made the call in a release made available to newsmen in Lagos on Sunday, declaring the xenophobic attacks, which he said must not be allowed to happen again, as not only unexpected behaviour that cannot be justified but condemnable in its entirety, selfish, non-Pan African and barbaric as they were not reflective of the true spirit of Africa.
“I urge the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, to immediately start legal action against the South Africa, predicated on Nigeria’s ratification of the protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Right which was signed on May 29, 2004.
“This unexpected behaviour cannot be justified in the face of unprovoked attacks that Nigerians received lately in the hands of their South African counterparts. These attacks must be condemned in its entirety because it is not reflective of the true spirit of Africa. This is selfish, non-Pan African and barbaric,” he added, lamenting that the attacks were capable of having a spill-over effect on the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement which was in force between 27 African Union member states.
According to Ajulo, hostilities between Nigeria and South Africa, which he described as the two biggest economies in Africa, are capable of causing this sad development as current data has shown that South Africa is one of Nigeria’s top five export destinations with total exported goods from her amounting to ₦325.5 billion within the period.
“Currently over $60 billion trade volume has been affected drastically within few days of the xenophobic attack,” he said.
Ajulo, while expressing his readiness to offer his services if “sought for pro bono poblico” in the court matter as “this is a matter that must be of interest to every progressive in Nigeria” and “lawyers particularly should not shy from this sacred responsibility to stand up for affected patriots,” contended that the mandate of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Right was to monitor respect for human rights on the African continent in line with the instruments.
He noted that it was the elementary principle of international law that a state was entitled to protect its subjects when injured by acts contrary to international law committed by another state, from whom they had been unable to obtain diplomatic action or international judicial proceedings on behalf of its citizens.
“Thus the Federal Government must toe the path of law and order to protect the rights of Nigerian citizens in South Africa affected by the xenophobic attacks in order to get justice for the gruesome violation of their fundamental rights in South Africa.
“The court is empowered to hear cases brought against African states for failure to respect human rights. It is able to issue binding judgments in such cases and where violations are found, may award compensation and other remedies to victims,” he said.
Ajulo, while expressing confidence in the eventual pronouncement of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Right, in the likely case between Nigeria and South Africa, “in the instance,” recalled the already decided ones in respect of the mass deportation of hundreds of Gambians workers by Angola and the detention incommunicado without trial of at least 11 journalists by Eritrea, commending the court for addressing such violation.
“While it suffices to commend the court on its various decisions ranging from its declaration that the mass deportation of hundreds of Gambians workers by Angola was a violation of their rights to freedom of movement, liberty and right not to be treated in an inhuman and degrading way to its decision that the detention incommunicado without trial of at least 11 journalists by Eritrea was a violation of the journalists’ right to freedom of expression, right to liberty and fair trial, however, it is quite sad that despite the well-considered decisions of the court, some member-states have refused to comply with the decisions of the court. Well, I hope the reverse will be the case in the instance,” Ajulo said.
Speaking further, the rights activist said the unfortunate xenophobic attacks occurring in South Africa to what he termed “a patent fallout of the calamity that befalls the third world, particularly the old colonies of colonial masters,” arguing that Africa as a continent needed to be compensated “for the pillage not only of our resources but our brains, knowledge, attitude, altitudes, culture and values” by the colonial masters.
“I’ve said it before, we need to be compensated, for the pillage not only of our resources but our brains, knowledge, attitude, altitudes, culture and values. It’s why we hate ourselves, we attacked and killed ourselves because we’ve been programmed to go against anything African, hence black is abhorred. Don’t you see the way some bleached their skins to look white?
“On a serious note Xenophobic attacks in South Africa stems from the standpoint of misplaced anger, hatred on the part of South Africans towards other Africans most especially Nigerians. It is sad and appalling that South Africans failed to advert their minds to their not too long history of apartheid for which Nigerian played a key role in ending,” he lamented.