May I use this medium to wish Nigerians in South Africa the strength to overcome! What is happening there is offensive and repulsive. The biggest shame is the African Union which continues to live on the illusion that talks and signing papers can make Africa one. As South African thugs strengthen without consequences, messages are sent across the continent that non-natives can be attacked as a new form of liberation. No nation or continent can rise without property rights. South Africa has shown why its future is challenged as legal owners of properties are deprived of their rights.
The challenge ahead is huge, across Africa, because economic opportunities are dissipating. We are now about the size of China. Yet, we command only 25% of its GDP which means four Africans are competing for an opportunity reserved for a Chinese. This is not to rationalize the mess across African cities where people are attached under xenophobic hatreds.This is to note that unless there is a new trajectory, the future is not assured.
Nigerian youth – hold your peace. You can show South African youth that you are more advanced and civilized. Governments must protect South African properties in Nigeria.
I push for three things:
- South African government must compensate in totality all losses (direct and indirect).
- Immediate arrest and public trial of the perpetrators.
- African Union sanctioned security apparatus for South Africa to protect Nigerians and other foreigners along with their properties. Where South Africa does not have the capacity, AU can help while South Africa pays the bills.
Where South Africa cannot deliver on those, its position as a member of AU needs to be revisited. By then, AU should compensate Nigerians and others, and help them leave South Africa. I am not sure that is the outcome South African leaders want. Where they want otherwise, they must lead.