Xenophobic attacks: We are soft on South Africa, Oshiomhole tells Buhari

•Demands takeover of South Africa investments

National chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole on Thursday made a pronouncement on the ongoing attacks on foreigners resident in South Africa. He demanded for taking over of companies owned by South African businessmen in Nigeria and total acquisition of shares of listed companies in the Nigeria Stock Exchange, where South African nationals owned shares.

Addressing newsmen at the party national secretariat in Abuja, the APC chairman reviewed the recent official reactions of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and called for tougher sanctions.

Flanked by other members of his national working committee, Comrade Oshiomhole accused the African National Congress-led government in South Africa of cold indifference to the killings of foreigners in the country.

He expressed consternation over recent statements attributed to very senior government officials in South Africa which he noted suggested that there was an official endorsement to the killings of Nigerians and other nationals resident in South Africa.

He said:” Nigerians are operating within the letters of the law set by the  South African government.

“Those who have business permits to set up businesses,  whether they are traders, or into manufacturing, whatever businesses they are into, they are operating within the letters of the law set by the South Africa government.

“Over the past few years, virtually every other week, Nigerians have been wasted in one part of South Africa or the other.

“We know that the government has started a conversation with the South Africa authority drawing their attention to these abuses that Nigerians have been subjected to. The escalation on foreigners, many of whom are Nigerians has reached a level that is no longer tolerable. At some point, people wondered whether these attacks have the backings of the South Africa government. What is clear is that the South African authority hasn’t demonstrated commitment to bring these attacks to an end.

“For example, in spite of the fact that many lives have been wasted not one South African is known to have been convicted and sentenced to prison on accounts of killings of foreigners and looting of foreign businesses.

” These   recent attacks, we have been able to watch some of the comments in South Africa, particularly the one made by the Deputy Minister in charge of Police Affairs in South Africa, where among other things he not only endorsed the killings and looting of foreign businesses, he referred to the activities of those foreigners who are doing legitimate businesses as tantamount to economic sabotage.  Two, the statements credited to the youth leader of the African National Congress in South Africa also suggests that the ANC as a party find nothing wrong in the random killings and looting of foreign businesses and killings in South Africa.”

The APC chairman who advocated a review of our foreign policy from its present stance of Africa, being its centrepiece demanded a paradigm shift that would place Nigeria first and above continental interest.

He listed thriving companies in Nigeria to be acquired to include, MTN, Multichoice and Standard Chartered Bank and Stanbic IBTC.

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He said:   “Therefore, having reviewed all of these, the NWC commends the leadership being provided by President Muhammadu  Buhari first in boycotting the World Economic Forum currently going on in South Africa. I think that was a decision well taken and I am happy that some other African countries have taken the same position. We can’t be talking about African Economic Integration at the time the world is talking about the role of Small Scale businesses as strategic to economic growth, not only of Africa but those blacks who are involved in small scale businesses in South Africa have had their businesses ruined and often times lost. These happened few months after Nigeria appended its signature to the Africa  Trade Agreement. What is the essence of a pan African trade agreement if Africa government can’t protect the interest of Africans that are doing legitimate businesses in their countries?

So, having commended President Buhari for the steps he has taken, recalling its envoy  and boycotting the WEF, and other diplomatic efforts, we think he should make more bold statements to this South Africans that no doubt that they have more to lose, if Nigeria must protect our own national interest exactly the South African government are doing to protect economic opportunities for only South Africans.

“I think we must return to an era that Nigeria must no longer talk of African as the centrepiece of our foreign policy. It must be Nigeria first, Nigeria second and Nigeria and then any other thing that is consistent with Nigeria national interest. We should no longer sacrifice our own national interest just because we want to be the big brother of a people that don’t recognize the role of the enormous and huge sacrifices that our country had made over the years to protect the interest of the African continent.

“As we speak, while South African government is envious of the small businesses that Nigerians are involved in South Africa, South Africa companies are making millions of dollars from the Nigerian economy, year in, year out and repatriating same out of Nigeria.

“For example, MTN is making huge profit including breaching our national laws and we think they shouldn’t be envious of those small businesses while their own business giants are smiling to their banks.

We are aware that not long ago, MTN was listed in Nigeria stock market, Nigerians have bought shares in MTN. But I think in a moment like this and in order to send a very strong message to South Africa, it is worth doing for the Nigerian government to take steps, to take over the remaining shares of MTN that are owned by South Africans, so that MTN becomes fully Nigerian owned

” I  think as Nigerians in our own individual capacity, this is the moment to show our commitment to our citizens and show sympathy to those who have loved their lost ones by boycotting South African goods and services.  Nigerians beginning from today, refraining from using MTN lines. Happily, we have indigenous networks. If we stop using MTN, we would have sent a strong message and befitting honour for those who were cruelly murdered in South Africa.”

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