The House of Representatives’ on Wednesday called for the prosecution of South Africans involved in the killings of Nigerians during the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners in that country, describing it as barbaric and unacceptable.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, on Thursday, the Chairman House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Hon Yusuf Buba Yakub, said that the House has been monitoring the ugly development and was not happy with the continued silence of the South African government on the attacks.
The lawmaker, who lamented that no fewer than 127 Nigerians have been killed by South Africans over the past three years in such incessant attacks, called on the international community to condemn the “barbaric attacks.”
According to him, “Yesterday (Tuesday), I made public a Press Statement with regards to the ongoing xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals, especially, Nigerians living in the Republic of South Africa.
“Less than 24 hours now, I feel it incumbent upon us to update you on what we do know and what we have also done to aid the return of peace and peaceful coexistence in that theatre of confusion.
“As we indicated earlier, the growing xenophobic attacks on innocent and law-abiding Nigerians in some parts of the Republic of South Africa, especially, Capetown area of the commercial city of Johannesburg, which got escalated since August 29, 2019, is not acceptable to us as members of the parliament and as a country
“You all will recall that there were similar attacks and killings during the tenure of former President Jacob Zuma of South Africa. This is why we insist that these barbaric attacks have become one too many in recent years and, therefore, stand condemnable by all men and countries of goodwill
“We reiterate our call on other nations of the world to join us and raise their voice against this senseless act of humans against their kind.
“Unverified statistics have put the number of Nigerians killed in the last three years in the Republic of South Africa at an unacceptable figure. It is our position that no Nigerian soul should again be lost in that country in the manner that we have witnessed in the last three years. There is no form of jungle justice for any crime or perceived wrong that IS currently acceptable anywhere in the entire globe
“Much as we once in a while have cases of a few Nigerians who are found on the wrong side of the law, it can never be taken as an excuse to begin a sudden onslaught against other law-abiding ones and their property
“Against anyone unlawful Nigerian anywhere in the world, realities have shown that there are thousands of other hard-working ones who are genuine in what they are doing and have contributed to the development of the people and the economies of the places in which they have found themselves.
“As we informed you yesterday, we are closely monitoring the situation in the Republic of South Africa and are reaching out to the Nigerian authorities at home and in the Republic of South Africa.
“We are happy to announce that our dear President has also risen to the demand of duty by dispatching an envoy that is expected to arrive in South Africa by tomorrow, Thursday. The Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs has also, following the directive of Mr President, summoned the South African Ambassador to Nigeria.
“As a Committee, we are also in close contact with the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who is expected to brief us within the next few hours. You must have also heard that President Ramaphosa has strongly condemned the ongoing attacks and has made a number of commitments to achieving peace
“We, however, call on him to go beyond that to demonstrate stronger leadership and bring all the perpetrators of the orgies of violence to book.
“As a Committee of the House of Representatives, we have also followed the feelings and concerns of many Nigerians on the issue of the ongoing attacks against our citizens in South Africa. There are those who, out of the genuine concern and in appreciation of the fact that the Parliament remains the broadest democratic representative of our people, have called for our intervention through the resumption of the Parliament and the holding of emergency sessions on the debacle in South Africa.
“In the face of current challenges, such calls are understandable and, in fact, are not unusual. But, while not seeking to hold forte for the House and, indeed, the entire National Assembly itself, we wish to inform our dear countrymen and women that, as a Committee of the House, whatever we have done or are doing with regards to this matter is with the total knowledge and express support of the leadership of the House led by Speaker chi Gbajabiamila
“To say, therefore, that we are in constant contacts with the House leadership is stating the obvious. After a rigorous election and the campaigns that had followed the election of the Presiding Officers of the National Assembly, the Parliament has been on recess for a few weeks now and is expected to resume plenary in less than a fortnight.
“Already, there is a handful of reactions and actions from Senators and Members which have emanated from the ongoing problems in South Africa. As touchy as this case is, we are imploring Nigerians to have confidence in what the Executive arm is doing at the moment until Parliament resumes on September the 17th. In any case, let me hastily add that the Executive, nonetheless, is not working alone on this matter.”