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Your stigmatisation of people fuels xenophobic attacks, Onyeama replies S’ African Foreign Affairs Minister


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THE Federal Government has condemned comments made by the South African Foreign Affairs Minister, Naledi Pandor, that “many Nigerians in South Africa are into drug peddling, human trafficking and other vices that hurt her nation.”

Pandor, in a video aired by eNCA, a South African television station particularly called on Nigerian government  to keep its citizens who are into drug peddling, human trafficking and other vices from coming into her country.

But while reacting to these comments, Nigeria’s Minister of  Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, lamented what he described as “outrageous stigmatisation of a people from senior government officials like Pandor, which according to him, fuels xenophobia and embolden criminals.”

Onyeama bared his mind on Friday on his verified Twitter account @Geoffrey Onyeama.

In the interview, Pandor said, “Help us address the belief and the reality that our people have that there are many persons from Nigeria, who are dealing in drugs in our country, who are harming our young people by making drugs easily available to them.

“The belief that Nigerian nationals are involved in human trafficking and other abusive practices. This kind of assistance in ensuring that such people don’t come to our country would be of great assistance to our nation.”

She also said, South Africa needed the help of the Federal Government of Nigeria to curb crimes in their country.

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“It is precisely this kind of outrageous stigmatisation of a people from senior government officials that fuel xenophobia and embolden criminals,”Nigeria’s Onyeama said in reply to the comments.

Nigerians and other foreign (Africa) nationals have been the target of xenophobic attacks in South Africa, since last week after a taxi driver was killed by an alleged drug dealer in Pretoria.

President Muhammadu Buhari had dispatched a special envoy to convey his concerns over the attacks to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The xenophobic attacks forced Nigeria to pull out of the ongoing World Economic Forum in South Africa.

Nigeria demanded full compensation for its citizens affected in the latest attacks, but Pandor had earlier said the country has no provision for compensation.

In an interview with Reuters, the Minister said her country’s laws do not have provision for such.

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Olayinka works with The ICIR as the Social Media Manager, Reporter and Fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via [email protected] You can as well follow him on Twitter via @ShehuOlayinka1

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