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Efforts to stop xenophobic attacks in S’Africa not working, says Presidential aide

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Adelani Adepegba, Abuja

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, has stated that the efforts to stop xenophobic attacks in South Africa are not working.

She noted that the killing of Nigerians was increasing at an alarming rate and called for an urgent review of the Early Warning Signal 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.

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The Presidential aide said this in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday, against the backdrop of the killing of two Nigerians, Francis Ochuba, a native of Ngodo community in the Umnneochi Local Government Area of Abia and Chidi Ibebuike, a native of Uturu in the Isikwuato Local Government Area also in Abia.

Ochuba, a property owner, was reportedly shot dead alongside his estate agent, a female South African on May 5, 2018, while visiting the tenant occupying his house to collect rent. The incident occurred in Central Johannesburg.

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.

Dabiri-Erewa in the statement by her Media Aide, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, explained that the review and urgent implementation of the EWS had become imperative following the increasing attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

“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.”

Dabiri-Erewa 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.

She 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.

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