Updated: March 5, 2021
It is perhaps the most disturbing development in the turn of the century that Nigerians who live in the Republic of South Africa have consistently been victims of xenophobic violent attacks. Unfortunately, both countries have not done enough to reduce the spate of those attacks.
Both Nigeria and South Africa share a history of brotherhood and camaraderie at different times in our difficult times and it is very important that we do not allow this ugly development cause a blot in our shared history.
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While I will recommend that both countries press all available diplomatic buttons as fast as possible, it is equally important to impress on citizens from both sides to see ourselves as brothers and never as adversaries.
True, the days of Apartheid in South Africa and military rule in Nigeria are far behind us, we still both have a common enemy, and that is in expanding the space for economic prosperity to a large range of our peoples.
The new battle is economic in nature and it will be delusional for both Nigeria and South Africa to think that it is a battle we can win in isolation of each other. Neither and never can victory in the economic battle come by the way of turning daggers at each other.
For Nigeria to realize her economic potentials, we must be ready to welcome and protect South Africa investments on our soil, and ditto for South Africa to welcome and protect Nigeria’s investment in capital and manpower.
There are no short cuts. The only path to success in the battle against poverty and lack of economic empowerment to our peoples will require Nigerians and South Africans to soldier on as brothers and sisters. It must involve governments from both ends to rework our bilateral trade agreements and statutes to respond to the realities of this time.
Meantime, our mission in South Africa should open its doors wide open for all humanitarian support that could be required of them from Nigerian victims of these attacks. Also, it will be a good take off ground for solution to this problem for the South African government to cause a probe into the attacks and bring all perpetrators to book.