By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Governors Forum has, in the strongest of terms, condemned the violence meted on Nigerians living in South Africa, saying it is morally, culturally, economically and socially wrong.
In a press statement issued from its Abuja Secretariat on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson, on behalf of his colleague-members, described the recurring xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in particular and foreigners in the rainbow nation as “unfortunate” and “barbaric”.
According to the statement, “We have watched the disturbing videos of attacks and vandalism against Nigerian nationals and their businesses in South Africa.
“These have precipitated strong and negative reactions by some Nigerians who chose to vent their anger on investments on South Africans across the country.
“We condemn the violence visited on innocent people by these hoodlums who exploited the ongoing xenophobic attacks to foment trouble in our country. “We should not forget that virtually all these businesses like MTN, DSTV, Shoprite and several others may be owned by South Africans in Lagos; but there are franchised to Nigerians who are the majority shareholders, investors and stakeholders.
“We cannot attempt to find a solution to a criminality by committing another criminality. This is not part of our values as Nigerians; so we call for calm,
“We are devastated and express our deepest solidarity to the victims. Our thoughts are with those families who have lost their loved ones, and we stand with them at this incredibly difficult time.”
“We implore the Federal Government to rollout ‘definitive measures’ and effectively respond to the xenophobic violence in South Africa at the diplomatic level; and ensure that the country remains safe for all Nigerian citizens and law-abiding foreign nationals who are here for business.
“It should not condone any act that can lead to further breakdown of law and order.
“We equally warn South Africans to consider the consequences of their brutal actions bearing in mind the repercussions their fellow citizens abroad would face if other countries were to retaliate.
“The development is “shocking”, and when one remembers the energy, time, resources Nigeria invested and the price we as a country paid for your freedom from the strong and long arms of apartheid, there can be no justification for any South African to attack people from other countries.
“It is very sad, disheartening, disappointing and a huge blow on Africa as a continent”, it said.