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Xenophobia: Nigeria Gives South Africa 24hrs Ultimatum, Threatens Action

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Nigerian protesters on Monday besieged the South African high commission in Abuja to demand an end to xenophobic attacks on foreigners in South Africa. Numbering about 500, the protesters gave South Africa 24 hours to stop the killings or face the wrath of Nigerians.
“If Nigeria is pushed to the wall, it will bite,” one of them said. Speaking with TheCable, Deji‎ Adeyanju, coordinator of the protest, argued against retaliation by Nigerians, but urged the South African government to stop the killings forthwith. “We want a situation in which the South African government will take decisive action against the killings‎,” he said.
“The businesses of Nigerians are being threatened and it seems South Africans are celebrating now that foreigners are leaving. We will not retaliate. “We want to use‎ this protest to tell South Africa we are their friends. We stood by them during the apartheid era. However, we feel South African government is supporting the killings. We don’t want South Africans to be attacked.‎”
However, another leader of the protest, Tolu Ebun, disagreed with Adeyanju, saying “If Nigeria is pushed to the wall it can bite,” and added “We give South Africa 24 hours to stop the killings‎ or…” Adewale Fawe, a protester, restated Ebun’s position, saying “We can retaliate. South Africa cannot bear the weight of Nigeria.”
The atmosphere was charged as protesters took turns to ventilate their opinions. Even the presence of the representative of the South African high commiss‎ioner, Thembe Sosonwan smouldered nationalist feelings among the protesters who sang the national anthem loudly. Addressing the protesters, Sosonwan assured them of his government’s commitment to ending the bloodshed. “We South Africans are proud of our Nigerians brothers and sisters,” he said.
“These things that are happening in South Africa are not acceptable. We assure you that the South African government is committed to bringing these things to a close.” According to reports, the xenophobic attacks in South Africa‎ have cost Nigerians resident in the country about N21 million. The first Nigerian to be attacked was a mechanic, whose workshop with 10 cars and all the tools inside was destroyed by some South Africans on Friday. The Nigerian government has said it will evacuate its citizens from the country if the attacks persist. There are about 800, 000 Nigerians living in South Africa‎.

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