#TrackNigeria: Mr Ben Okoli, President of the Nigerian Citizens Association in South Africa (NICASA), has called for dialogue between South African government and foreign nationals in the country to address xenophobia.
Okoli, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) from Johannesburg, on Wednesday, urged the South African government to contain the attacks.
According to him, we completely believe that this attack against foreign nationals is xenophobia, because the South Africans are saying that they want foreigners to leave their country.
“We believe that with proper engagement of foreign and locals in discussion, we can open up proper channel with the locals and they will understand the need to co-habit peacefully.
“We have lived together and mixed up to the point that we can no longer be separated.
“Nigerians and South Africans inter-marry and we have been living peacefully.
“We do not see any reason why there should be this kind of attack on foreigners, especially Nigerians.”
He said that Nigerians have contributed to the growth of the South African economy.
“We urge the South African Government to ensure that the attacks do not reoccur. We appeal to them to devvce alternative strategies since efforts to stop xenophobia have not worked.
“We believe xenophobia can be stopped and therefore appeal to the South African government to provide succour to foreigners who have lost their source of livelihood, especially Nigerians.
“Particularly, for the victims of the attack whose properties and businesses have been destroyed.”
He commended the Nigerian Consulate General to South Africa for pro-active steps so far taken to douse tension via the South African Television station and other media houses in that country. (NAN)