By David Olalekan.
The spokesperson of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) in South Africa, Clayson Monyela has accused the Nigerian government of overreacting to news of xenophobic attacks in the country.
Monyela wondered why Nigeria was the most vocal on the recent onslaught on foreign nationals in South Africa when not a single Nigerian has been killed in any of the incidents.
In an interview with City Press, the DIRCO spokesman disclosed that the Nigerian envoy which recently visited South Africa were briefed on Nigeria’s overreaction on the matter.
He said, “Ten out of the 12 people killed during the public violence are South Africans and two Zimbabweans. They were told ‘not a single Nigerian was killed yet your country is the most vocal’.
“A challenge was thrown back at them (the Nigerian envoy) to play their part in addressing the big challenge of international migration.”
Monyela noted that South Africa, just like the UK and the United States was overburdened with the responsibility of hosting foreign nationals, while criticizing countries with high migration issues for failing to create a conducive environment that will prevent their citizens from leaving in droves.
“The problem is that sending countries do not help much in creating a conducive environment that will not force citizens to leave their countries in droves and only speak out when there is a problem in the receiving country.
“It is a problem not only South Africa but in the UK, US and other countries which are overburdened with the responsibility of hosting foreign nationals”, he said.
Reacting to the Federal Government’s demand for compensation of Nigerian victims in South Africa, he said the Nigerian envoy were reminded that South African businesses were also attacked in reprisal attacks in Nigeria, and such, should be compensated as well.
“We said to them, in South Africa we expected businesses to be registered and pay tax and that they should advise those affected to produce all the documents so we can help them claim from insurances as it is also expected of businesses to take liability insurance.
“There were those reprisal attacks on South African businesses, and we told them ‘if you raise compensation, we will also raise it in your country’.
“Diplomatic ties remain strong. This is why Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is still coming to South Africa on a state visit from October 3.
“Nigeria and South Africa are the biggest economies on the continent and any squabble between the two does not help Africa”, Monyela said.