From Idowu Abdullahi, Lagos
The Lagos state House of Assembly on Thursday demanded that the South African government be made to pay compensation in huge amounts to the victims of the latest xenophobic attacks in the country.
The lawmakers said this at a sitting where many condemned the incident and called on the Nigerian government to further prove its will by supporting its citizens abroad.
Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa said Nigerians abroad should be able to enjoy government support while carrying out their legal activities.
Obasa further called on the government to push the recent attacks in South Africa to the attention of the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN).
The Speaker, however, lamented that while the South Africans are killing Nigerians in their country, citizens are busy destroying businesses linked to South Africa but with Nigerian interest.
He cautioned the police against easy and excessive use of arms to curtail protests.
He noted that there had been protests in Hong Kong for days without any news of killing from the law enforcement agencies in the country.
On his part, Hon Tunde Braimoh, who raised the issue under ‘Matter of Urgent Importance’, recalled how Nigeria helped South Africa during apartheid. He wondered how the country suddenly decided that Nigerians are strangers.
He commended President Muhammdu Bubari and his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo and the federal lawmakers for taking the right decisions, but also called on the government to move for assistance of the victims and support for citizens of the country living in South Africa, a country whose government, he blamed as not doing enough to curtail the violence.
In his contribution, Hon Bisi Yusuf asked that South Africa must compensate Nigeria. He also pleaded with Nigerians to stop destroying businesses linked to South Africa because some Nigerians are stakeholders in such interests.
Speaking on the issue, Hon Rotimi Olowo noted that Nigerians are not the only people who suffered. He also urged his colleagues to admonish Lagosians to dissuade themselves from attacking businesses linked to South Africa.
Hon Gbolahan Yishawu also noted how the Nigerian government promptly responded to protests over xenophobia saying if the South African government did same, the situation would not have degenerated.
He discredited the claims that Nigerians in the country are criminals as according to him, many in the country are professionals. He said Nigeria must prove to South Africa and other countries that the lives of its citizens matter.
Yinka Ogundimu said the government should go the extra mile to bring back Nigerians willing to return from the country.