Posted by Olaniyi Abodedele on Sunday, July 5, 2015
On Thursday 25th June 2015, a delegation from the Nigeria High Commission and selected Nigerian Community members in South Africa led by Mr. A.K Balogun; Senior Consul in Charge of Consular Matters, Mr. Olaniyi Thevoice Abodedele, Publisher, The Nigerian Voice Newspaper and Mr. Abdulrahman Abubakar; President Niger Delta Association South Africa travelled to Northern Cape to attend a meeting with the Provincial Police Command at the Provincial office, Kimberly. The meeting took place on Friday 26th June 2015 at 11am.
The meeting was organized by the Nigerian High Commission in response to the xenophobic attack alarm raised by Nigeria Union South Africa (NUSA). In attendance from the Northern Cape Police Command were Brigadier Desai; Deputy Commissioner Northern Cape, Cornell Naidil in charge of communication Northern Cape and Captain Farmer; Steinkopf Police Station commander.
Earlier in the month, the Nigeria Union South Africa had raised an alarm in an article published on Tuesday 16th of June 2015 titled “Xenophobia: Nigeria Union reports new attacks in South Africa” which was published in the Nigerian Vanguard and many other newspapers in Nigeria.
The article reads “The Nigerian Union in South Africa on Tuesday reported new xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other foreigners in Sternkopf, Namakwa Municipality, Northern Cape Province of South Africa. The President of the Union, Mr. Ikechukwu Anyene, said in Pretoria, South Africa, that the Northern Cape Province Chapter Chairman of the Union reported the incident to its National Secretariat”.
The article further reveals that “the National Secretariat of Nigeria Union has received report of xenophobic attacks from Mr Kennedy Osagie, the Northern Cape Province chapter chairman of the union.The report indicated that South Africans attacked Nigerians. Two cars belonging to Nigerians have been reportedly burnt and they have been going from house to house looting and destroying their property’’.
Anyene, who said that there were 20 Nigerians living in the affected community, added that none had been reported dead in the incident ‘’ Six Nigerians have taken refuge with their families in nearby Springbok community and they do not know the whereabouts of the other Nigerians,’’ he said.
The article concluded that the Union had reported the incident to the Nigerian Consulate in South Africa.
Some leaders of Nigerian community in South Africa spoke with The Nigerian Voice Newspaper and said that NUSA does not represent the interest of Nigerians in South Africa.
Mr. Ibrahim Beatrice, the coordinator of Arewa Association in Diaspora, South Africa (NAD) stated that “We don’t even have any Arewa in NUSA. They can use anybody that is available for them and claim they are Arewa. It is possible that somebody who is Hausa man may decide to dance to their beating. Then, it is possible they can use him for anything anytime but he is not part of us. If he is part of us, then he should tell us if he carries the Arewa card with him. Then, we will state it clearly that we don’t know him because none of our members is part of NUSA. I am the coordinator of the Arewa people in SA”.
Also, Honorable Abdulrahman Abubakar, President of the Niger Delta Association South Africa has revealed that his association has written a letter disassociating themselves with NUSA and that none of their members are NUSA members. “The Niger delta wrote the High Commissioner and copied the Consul-General and other organizations that we dissociate ourselves from NUSA, this was due to different consultation and deliberation we arrived at, because what is going on in NUSA is not what we expected at all. NUSA is not actually representing Nigerians, but they are representing a bunch of people. Just quote me. Sometimes ago, I called them common criminals who wants to take the advantage of unfortunate xenophobia incident in South Africa to extort R4.6 million from the South African government”.
Hon. Raman continued “And you can see, as I speak to you now on the 16th to be precise we read on a Nigerian Union post that another xenophobic attack has started in Northern Cape. When I heard it, I called somebody in Northern Cape who is a Niger Delta representative there and told him what I just read and asked him what the position is in the province? He said I should give him 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, he called me back. He said not the way you heard it. What is actually happening here is not xenophobic attack; rather there are some Nigerians here that are involved in illegal activities- drug to be precise. They are the ones the community is busting now. It happened last year in Port Nolloth. They warned them; they chased them. Now, they are repeating it a neighboring town. So, those people said they cannot sit and open their eyes and see these people destroying their children. I even watch some of them on channel 404. They showed how the thing happened live. I asked what these people really want to achieve.
People are shouting; xenophobia!!! Just to be enriching themselves? To the extent that there is even an account that you must give them money and reference the payment as xenophobia, for what? Just to enrich them-selves. So, please, the voice, I know you have been doing a good job, and you have to keep it up. The government has to see it and really do something. We cannot continue to fold our hands,” stated the Niger Delta President.
Dr. Sola Agbeniyi is the spokesperson of the National Association of Yoruba Descendants in Southern Africa (NAYDSA), the group representing the Yoruba community in South Africa and southern Africa. The Yoruba leader stated that “Nigerian Union is one of many associations that claim to be the umbrella body of Nigerians in Southern Africa. We have ANNID. We have NUSA and we have NIDO. But I can tell you categorically that we don’t have any association that represents Nigerians in South Africa. I personally at a point in time had to be a member of board of trustees of Nigerian Union when we were trying to look at the way we can get involved. But I pulled out; I resigned personally. It is all over the news. You guys as press you saw it. I resigned as well as few other people, because NUSA does not represent Nigerians and NUSA is just an entity that represents a particular cluster of mafias and what I can describe as cult of personalities.
However, the Kimberly meeting with the Provincial Police Command at the Provincial office revealed that it was not xenophobic attack and the following were established; the community is not happy about the extent of drug peddling in their community, and how much it affects their children. It was also established that no cars were burnt as the picture of the car was a very old picture.
Going forward to protect innocent and honest Nigerians in Northern Cape and South Africa at large, the following agreement was reached that; the law of the country would prevail and hence any Nigerian national without relevant legal document will be deported.
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