Events of the past few days have shown the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other African Nationals will not stop any time soon except deliberate effort is taken by the South African government.
Infact, if anything it probably is just getting started.
The xenophobic attack has been a recurring factor within the South African political space for a while now but it appears it is now getting dangerously out of proportion.
Xenophobia itself is described as the dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.
In the heat of the recent attacks, however, one disappointing thing to note here is the response of the Nigerian government. The Buhari’s administration response has been anything short of inspiring.
The presidency had yesterday after the news of the recent attacks tweeted what many Nigerians have described as a very docile reaction.
Tweeting via its official twitter handle, @NigeriaGov said;
”The continuing attacks on Nigerian nationals and businesses in South Africa are unacceptable. Enough is enough. Nigeria will take definitive measures to ensure the safety and protection of her citizens. (1/2)
”Last week Pres @MBuhari met with Pres @CyrilRamaphosa, on sidelines of #TICAD7, in Japan, to discuss this. Further discussions scheduled for October 2019, during Pres Buhari’s official visit to SA. In the meantime, Nigeria will take further steps to ensure the safety of citizens in SA
Expressing his thoughts, however, a Nigerian Chimeze in reacting to the Presidency’s statement said, ”If you kill one cow here, you will see dire consequences. But, kill a human being, you know the story.
”In fact, every day, the pages of the Newspapers will be incomplete without seeing the headlines of many killed in different parts of the country. What does it tell you about your country and the government” he retorted.
However, despite what appeared to be a lame response by the Buhari adminstration, it is not too late to act, Nigeria can get the government of South Africa to take action if certain actions are taken against that country’s interest within our shores.
Below are five actions President Buhari can take to bring South Africa to its knees and stop the attacks on Nigerians by its citizens:
First President Buhari instead of holding further talks with the South African president, Buhari should immediately cut off all diplomatic relations with the country. In fact, the proposed official visit of the President come October should be seen as a step in the wrong direction.
The instance cited by Reno Omokri on his twitter account on Tuesday comes to the fore here. Reno cites the instance of March 2012 example. On March 4, 2012, South Africa had deported Nigerians citing Yellow Fever. The next day President Goodluck Jonathan ordered the deportation of 84 South Africans. Two days later, South Africa came around and duly apologised and reversed the deportations.
President Buhari should deport recall top South African nationals in Nigeria.
Next, in line with the cutting off of diplomatic relations, Nigeria’s ambassador to South Africa should be recalled and their ambassador here should also be sent back to his home country.
Fourth, issue a travel advisory to Nigerians. It is interesting to note that notable countries like the United States of America regularly issue a travel advisory to its citizens warning of states and countries they can travel to or should avoid based on intelligence report at their disposal, but nothing of such appears to happen in Nigeria and for Nigerians outside the country.
Fifth, economic sanctions are the best form of war in that there is no shedding of blood only the stifling of economic resources and trade. A good example here is the rift between the US and China.
Sixth, the Federal Government ought to consider the imposition of tariffs on goods from South Africa. It should simply be based on the policy of reciprocity, you only buy from a country that respects and buys from you. When you impose tariffs and sanctions like that, it would hurt their economy and ensure they take proactive and drastic steps to stop the killings.
Lastly, is the option of nationalisation of South African businesses in Nigeria. Several South African companies exist here in Nigeria raking in huge revenue for their individual South African owners.
President Buhari can and should consider the nationalisation of a number of these businesses such as Shoprite,MTN and MultiChoise (owners of DSTV and GoTV).
Also, the Federal Government ought to issue a directive stopping Nigerians from travelling to the South African as such halt relations with the country.
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