OrderPaperToday – As President Jacob Zuma rounds up his two days state visit to Nigeria, Nigerians based in South Africa have against protested ill treatment and victimizations meted on them.
The Nigerians under the aegis of Nigerian Union South Africa said this on Wednesday when its members visited the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Diaspora Sen. Rose Okoh (PDP, Cross River).
President of the Union, Mr. Ike Anyene said while South Africans in Nigeria and their businesses were treated with respect and hospitality, Nigerians in South Africa were treated with disdain.
They urged the committee to do all was within its power to ensure that adequate pressure was mounted on the South African government to curtail the discriminations.
Mr. Anyene said that there was a great disconnect between the political leadership in South Africa which seems to acknowledge the contributions of Nigeria in liberating the country and the citizenry which detest Nigerians.
He blames the media in South Africa which he accused of only portraying and embellishing the negative activities of some Nigerians while completely leaving out the giants strides made by a majority.
“South Africans in Nigeria are treated with respect but that is not how they treat us there: Nigerians in South Africa want reciprocity: we are tired of intimidation and victimization,” he said.
Also speaking, the association’s Director of Policy and Operation, Mr. Matthew Okafor, said attacks on Nigerians and their businesses had started even before 1999.
He said himself was denied due promotion twice in a government establishment because he was a Nigerian while South Africans not as qualified as him were promoted.
He said: “A good Nigerian doctor was sacked, arrested and jailed, when he took the government to court, the intimidations began.
“At a particular time, Nigerian nursing students who wrote exams were failed twice for no just cause.
“It is only in South Africa that Nigerian students are made to come back to Nigeria every year to renew their Visa.
“South Africa has a record 92 per cent prosecution rate but in spite of this, no prosecution involving the murder of a Nigerian has been completed.”
In her remark, Sen. Okoh promised to use all machineries of the Senate in collaboration with the Foreign Affairs Ministry to address the situation.
She said it was time Nigeria applied diplomatic pressure on the government of South Africa to end the intimidation of Nigerians in that country.
Recall that President Jacob Zuma of South Africa started a two day working visit to Nigeria on Tuesday and has pledged to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.