Xenophobic attacks: Nigerians must restrain from violence, says Bongo

PHOTO:Marco Longari/AFP

An expert in development economics at the Lagos Business School, Dr. Adi Bongo, has implored Nigerians to resist the pressure of embarking on reprisal attacks on South African installations and companies in Nigeria. Bongo, a UNU Fellow and a World Bank scholar stated that if Nigerians should go ahead in attacking the companies, they might be denying their fellow citizens their source of livelihood.

“As Nigerians, we understand better and we must restrain ourselves from going ahead to attack South African owned companies in Nigeria because the people employed there are Nigerians. When these businesses are destroyed, the source of livelihood of the Nigerians who are working in those companies will be affected,” Bongo said.

Concerning what could have been responsible for the renewed attacks on Nigerians having recently had the same issue, Bongo said, “The violence of that scale is often a symptom of deeper social malaise. South African economy is also as badly hit as that of Nigeria. The country is also affected by the downturn in economic situations of countries across the world, particularly African countries. There is a large scale of drop in the prices of commodities. Unfortunately, the poor in the society becomes restive and look for whom to vent their anger on and unfortunately, Nigerians who have businesses in South Africa, this time are affected.”

On the threat of reprisal attacks by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and other groups in Nigeria, he said, “We should discourage any move that will lead to violence. The Nigerian government should quickly explore all diplomatic means at resolving the issue. The Federal government must objectively engage its South African counterpart to protect the lives and businesses of Nigerians in South Africa. We must not encourage incivility.”

It would be recalled that a group of people on Thursday staged a protest which eventually turned violent at the MTN Nigeria regional office in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory. The protesters were expressing their discontent based on the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

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