The South-East Amalgamated Markets Traders Association (SEAMATA), an umbrella body of all traders in South-East, has passionately appealed to traders and Nigerians at large to shun reprisal attack on South-African businesses in Nigeria.
The association made the appeal in a statement signed by its President-General, Chief Gozie Akudolu and Secretary-General, Mr Alex Okwudili at the end of its emergency general meeting in Enugu on Wednesday.
SEAMATA, however, condemned in very strongly terms, the unprovoked attack on Nigerian citizens in South Africa.
“The Association is passionately appealing to traders and all Nigerians to please strongly resist this provocation and the strong urge to engage in reprisal attack on South Africans and their businesses anywhere in the country.
“For not engaging in reprisal attack, we are not only showing our maturity to the world, but also protecting the jobs of our teeming brothers and sisters employed by these South African business concerns,’’ it said.
The association said it could not imagine that Nigeria that sacrificed so much in human, material and financial resources to bring down the apartheid regime in South Africa could have its citizens rewarded with the unimaginable treatment.
“That the South African security agents should watch their citizens kill and maim Nigerians, loot and burnt down their shops and other businesses is unimaginable.
“That the South African security agents could indulge in the actual killing of innocent Nigerians is not only embarrassing but a public exhibition of wickedness.
“Nigeria sacrificed so much in liberating and giving South Africans the freedom they are enjoying today. It is most painful that South African citizens should display their short memory and knowledge of history so soon,’’ it said.
The association called for immediate and proper documentation of all Nigerian citizens killed in South Africa, all the shops and businesses and the value of goods looted, vandalised or set ablazed till date.
“The government of South Africa shall, as a matter of urgency, do enumeration and documentation for the South Africa’s proper and immediate compensation of these innocent Nigerians and their families.
“The government of South Africa should as a matter of state policy provide, with immediate effect, adequate security for Nigeria’s citizens in South Africa the way Nigerian government is protecting South African citizens and businesses in Nigeria.
“SEAMATA wishes to remind the government and people of South Africa that, no one stock of people or nation has the monopoly of violence, more so when South Africans have giant business concerns, even in our country. We therefore warn, very seriously, that enough is enough.
The association noted that over 80 per cent of the victims of the unfortunate and avoidable attacks were its members who relocated their businesses to South Africa for greener pasture.
It, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency talk to the government of South Africa to stop giving lip services to the security of lives and property of Nigerians in that region. (NAN)