The International Relations Alumni Association (IRAA) has condemned the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other African Nationals in South Africa.
The Alumni body of the Department of International Relations, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, comprising experts in the field of International Relations, urged African governments to see the recent development as a collective challenge that must be faced headlong with a view to forging long lasting solutions.
In a jointly signed statement by the body’s President, Chris Adetayo, and its Publicity Secretary, Tunde Dairo, the Association viewed the frequency with which the attacks break out, and the reprisals that have followed these, as unfortunate and retrogressive. It called on the South African Government to be proactive in bringing the situation under control, and to work with local and immigrant communities in preventing future occurrence.
According to the statement, ” We sympathise with families of victims who have lost their lives in the senseless attacks and those whose means of livelihood have been affected. We call on the government of South Africa to permanently arrest the situation that is setting African brothers against each other. We equally call on Nigeria, in particular, and other African governments to explore multilateral approaches to address the problem.
While commending the Federal Government for the various actions taken so far, they enjoined Nigeria to build and lead a coalition of African States, under the aegis of the African Union, to take decisive measures, including political and economic sanctions, against South Africa, or any other country where such attacks on African citizens occur.
They went on to challenge Senior Executives of South African multi-national companies operating across Africa; including MTN, Standard/Stanbic Bank, Shoprite and Multichoice, to speak up against black-on-black attacks in their home country. These companies, the Statement added, should recognize that it is in their enlightened business interests that relations between the people of Africa should remain cordial at all times.
While commending Air Peace for its offer to fly home Nigerians wishing to leave South Africa, the Association called on other corporations to emulate this gesture by helping to bring succor to victims, including donating relief materials. It also wants, as a matter of urgency, the National Emergency Management Authority to work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in giving affected Nigerians in South Africa all the humanitarian and consular support they need in these trying times.
Referencing the recently signed Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCTA), the Association called on the governments of Nigeria and South Africa to work together to provide leadership to a continent in desperate need for one.
“At this time in Africa’s economic and diplomatic efforts to eliminate trade restrictions and integrate African economies, South Africa must not set the continent back to the dark days of division and strife. In the same vein, Nigeria must lead from the front in resolving issues such as Xenophobia that are bedeviling the continent.”
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