Xenophobic attacks: Militants threaten MTN, others as Obasanjo berates S’African leadersHeadlines Friday, March 3rd, 2017
Chukwudi Akasike, Samuel Awoyinfa, Leke Baiyewu and Adelani Adepegba
A coalition of Niger Delta militants, on Wednesday, threatened to blow up Multichoice, owner of DSTV; MTN, Shoprite and 16 other major South African investments in Nigeria if the Federal Government failed to shut them down within one month.
The militant groups, who were reacting to the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and their business premises in South Africa, gave one month ultimatum to South Africans living in Nigeria to leave the country and relocate elsewhere.
The threat from the militants groups – Niger Delta Watchdogs, Niger Delta Volunteers and Niger Delta Strike Force – is contained in a copy of a letter, addressed to the Office of the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, located at 71 Usuma Street, Off Gana Street, Abuja.
Signatories to the letter are ‘General’ John Duku (Niger Delta Watchdogs); ‘General’ Ekpo Ekpo (Niger Delta Volunteer); and ‘General’ Hart Bradford (Niger Delta Strike Force).
According to the letter titled ‘Attack and killings of Nigerians living in South Africa’, the militants expressed anger that the South African Police were shielding criminals and joining them (criminals) to kill Nigerians.
Apart from MTN, DSTV and Shoprite, some of the South African companies in Nigeria listed for attack by the militants are Eskom Nigeria, South African Breweries (SAB Miller), Umgeni Water, Refresh Product, LTA Construction and Protea Hotels.
Others, according to the letter, are Critical Rescue International, Global Outdoor Semces, PEP Retail Stores, Woolworths Holdings Limited, Truworths International Limited, Clover Industries, Oracle, Power Giant and Airtime.
READ: (Photos) Protesters, Nigerians clash in South Africa
The militants added, “Arising from the joint meeting of the Niger Delta Watchdogs, Niger Delta Volunteers and Niger Delta Strike Force, held today (Wednesday) in Port Harcourt, we condemn the recent attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
“We want to state that the recent attacks (on Nigerians in South Africa) will mark the end of this nonsense because we will not fold our arms and allow this to continue. We, therefore, call on the Nigerian Government to immediately close down all the businesses owned by South Africans in Nigeria.
“Failure to close down these companies within one month, we shall mobilise in full force and commence massive attacks on the above-mentioned South African-owned investments in Nigeria. We shall also make sure that all MTN masts and offices are brought down to naught.
“We shall strike any property and persons from South Africa within our reach; we will bring down Multichoice (DSTV), Shoprite and others. We will not fold our arms and watch you (South Africans) slaughter our people like chickens for no just cause.
“We are fully prepared; our professional fighters are already strategising, South Africans must be crushed in Nigeria; our people must be free from these wicked agents.”
The militant groups pointed out that the one month ultimatum was enough for South Africans to relocate and leave Nigeria, even as they warned Nigerians against patronising South Africans business concerns on the expiration of the ultimatum to avoid casualties.
Accusing the South African Government of plotting to kill Nigerians within its territory by all means, the Niger Delta agitators cautioned that they would not allow such a plan to be executed.
“How can you explain a situation where the police clobbered defenceless Nigerian citizens to death without any provocation?” the militants asked.
They observed that the South African Government and her citizens possessed the highest number of business operations in Nigeria by a foreign country and making huge profits and living in a peaceful environment with nobody attacking them.
“But our people in South Africa have been unjustly subjected to torture, killings, looting of their belongings as well as burning down of their business premises/apartments,” they added.
Obasanjo berates S’African leaders, youths
Meanwhile, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has condemned attacks by South African youths on Nigerians and other African nationals in the former apartheid enclave, blaming the development on the insincerity of the government and the leaders of the country.
He said this on Wednesday in Abeokuta while receiving the management of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, led by its chairman, Maj. Gen. Lawrence Onoja (retd.).
The former President, who received the delegation at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, said the current development in South Africa betrayed the contributions of Nigeria to the struggle for the emancipation of the country during the apartheid era.
Obasanjo, who blamed the exodus of Nigerians and other African nationals in search for greener pastures, however, called on African heads of government to ensure good governance for the overall development of the continent and its teeming population.
He blamed South African youths for their immaturity, while hitting their leaders more for allowing fellow Africans to rise against themselves.
He stated, “Youths can be so immature; they may not understand what Africa stands for; what our continental organisations stand for. But if the youth do not understand what happened, what happen to the leadership?
“I will blame the youth of the country for the attacks but I will blame the leaders more in any country that allows xenophobic attacks against fellow Africans for whatever reason.
“Having said that, it is also the responsibility of everyone of us in our different countries to prepare our countries so that our youths, who think that there is an Eldorado somewhere outside their countries, will be made to know that there is no greener pastures anywhere.
“The greener pastures is here in your country. I feel disheartened to know that many of our youths perish while crossing the Sahara desert or the Mediterranean.”
Ekweremadu heads Senate delegation to South Africa
Also, on Wednesday, the Senate named members of its delegation to South Africa to investigate the ongoing xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in the country.
Senate President Bukola Saraki made the announcement at plenary on Wednesday.
Members of the delegation are the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan; and the Chief Whip, Senator Sola Adeyeye.
Others are Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Shehu Sani; Senator Stella Oduah, Senator Magnus Abe and Senator Shaba Lafiaji.
Nigeria won’t recall envoy in S’Africa, says FG
Also, the Federal Government has ruled out the possibility of recalling its High Commissioner to South Africa in protest against the renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in the former apartheid enclave.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olusola Enikanolaye, stated this in Abuja while responding to callers on ‘Tuesday night’ in an interactive programme on Nigerian Television Authority on xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
Enikanolaye said Nigeria had two representatives in South Africa – an Acting High Commissioner and a deputy – who he said had been doing a great job attending to the situation accordingly.
He said, “We are in touch with our representative in South Africa, Amb. Martins Kuban, the Acting High Commissioner in Pretoria, and Amb. Okeke, the deputy, in Johannesburg.
“Really we do not think we need to recall our envoys in South Africa because they are doing a great job; they are regularly in touch with the community leaders. They have dedicated telephone lines to Nigerians in South Africa to report any occurrence. They are doing a great job and in our view, there is no need to recall them home.”
Enikanolaye added that Nigeria was working round the clock to ensure that the issue was diplomatically addressed, saying the ministry had had a series of meetings with the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria.
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