Africa  

Group seeks compensation for victims of xenophobic attacks

southafrica xenophobiaA civil society group, Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER),  has called on the South African Government to pay compensation to  victims of the xenophobic attacks in that country.

CASER,  in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja  by its Executive Director, Mr Frank Tietie, also demanded the setting up of a victims support fund by the Federal Government to assist affected Nigerians.

The group, according to the statement, canvassed that all  South African businesses in Nigeria  contribute money to the fund.

The statement said that the demands would be presented during a peaceful protest to the South African High Commission in Abuja on Tuesday.

It added   that CASER would use the protest to denounce the attacks and hold the South African government responsible for failing to protect Nigerians and other African nationals in its domain.

The group  said:  “ The South African government would be compelled to pay compensation to all the victims of the xenophobic attacks.

“This is imperative since the government has failed to take steps to prevent the reoccurrence of the attacks after the 2008 xenophobic violence which led to the gruesome death of 62 persons.

“The Nigerian government would be demanded to set up a fund to which all South African businesses in Nigeria must contribute money to support the victims of the recent shameful xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

“Black South Africans would be reminded of   how ungrateful they are as a people to the rest of Africa, especially Nigerian workers who contributed money to their liberation struggles

“We would show that Nigeria loves all people, especially Africans,  and they are all fully welcome to live, work and do business in Nigeria with all their rights guaranteed.’’

The  Nigerian Consul-General in South Africa, Amb. Uche Ajulu-Okeke, on Sunday said that Nigerians had lost more than 1.2 million Rand (N21 million)  in the ongoing attacks.

Ajulu-Okeke told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the losses  included looted shops, burnt shops, two burnt mechanic workshops, 11 burnt cars and two stolen cars, among others.

NAN recalls that the xenophobic attacks were allegedly triggered by comments credited to Goodwill Zwelithini, an influential South African king, who was  quoted to have  said  foreigners should leave the country.

Zwelithini’s comments resounded among many poor South Africans who accuse foreigners of taking advantage of weak immigration rules to flood the country and “steal” their jobs.

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