Different Members of the House of Representatives has called on the Nigerian government to help retun Nigeria living in diaspora in South Africa due to the xenophobic attacks in the country.
According to the Vanguard, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, Chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs in a phone interview with newsmen on Thursday in Ibadan made this plea.
She said that the call was necessary because of increasing attacks on Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike in South Africa. “The Federal Government of Nigeria should rise up to the occasion by having contingency plans to evacuate Nigerians within 24 hours to avoid us losing our citizens to these attacks.
“It is expedient to think of where all Nigerians can gather within 24 hours for safety either in our embassy or mission for the safety of our citizens,’’ she said.
The lawmaker called for an arrangement with some airlines be made to evacuate Nigerians back home. She also urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to equally mobilise to take care of the returnees.
Ukeje noted with concern that that the xenophobia was degenerating to Afrophobia as many black Africans, including Nigerians, were being attacked from Johannesburg to Durban. She advised the Nigerian government against delay till some of her citizens are killed in the latest attacks before implementing its citizen diplomacy policy.
“Unfortunately, there is no serious condemnation from South Africa government on this attacks, hence the need for Nigerian government to be proactive and rescue her citizens as soon as possible,’’ she said.
Ukeje said her committee was in close contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to see what could be done to protect Nigerians in South Africa, while the House is to engage relevant stakeholders on the matter.
In the same vein, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, told pressmen on phone that a motion on the issue would be tabled during the plenary session of the House.
Dabiri-Erewa condemned the attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa, saying it was disgusting for South Africans to be treating Nigerians like that given Nigeria’s role during the apartheid struggle.
Meanwhile, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, Minister of State II, for Foreign Affairs, has come out to say that no Nigerian was killed in the attack against foreigners in South Africa. “We are following the developments in South Africa and efforts are being made to protect Nigerian citizens in South Africa,’’ Obanikoro assured.