An expert in international relations has criticized recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
The international relations expert who is also Head of Department of History and Diplomatic Studies, University of Port-Harcourt, said it was regrettable that Nigerians in South Africa faced xenophobic attacks.
Dr. Stanley Okoroafor who said this in an interview on Monday said it was also painful Nigerians came under attack in South Africa.
He said: “It's really a pain, quite regrettable in the sense that this is a nation that Nigeria helped out in no distant time in the past and they came out from this apartheid situation which you know about. Late iconic President Nelson Mandela belled the cat with the support of many people around the world (and) Nigeria was at the forefront of it here in Africa ensuring that that ugly situation was brought to an end. We have this brotherhood we share in Africa and we thought that people should respect it.”
Okoroafor appealed to South African authorities to be “courteous” in diplomatic relations with other countries saying they should respect the brotherhood existing among African countries on the continent.
He commended the federal government for sending an envoy to South Africa over the xenophobic attacks.
He said although South Africans feared they were losing their country to foreigners, they could protect their interests by means other than attacking Nigerians or destroying their property and investments in that country.
On if he thought the government has failed why Nigerians move abroad to seek better living, the international relations expert said it was so and advised the federal government to look inwards and develop programmes to meet the needs of people of the country.
Okoroafor said: “Yes. It's one thing everybody is saying. It's not this very government that is responsible for the failure. This's something that had been coming over the years for the past twenty to thirty if not forty years. Continually, things have been going wrong in the country.
“Scholars, look at someone (like) late Prof. Chinua Achebe, he wrote that book Things Fall Apart long time ago and then he was looking at the contact between Africa and Europeans and then we recovered (as) we got independence et cetera, but before he exited this planet, he also published one (which) he called There Was A Country. So, at this time many people can argue strongly that what we have now is not really what we should have.
“We have been failing even though we have not failed completely. The state where we are now is not good. What's happening is not good. We need to get it better. We need to improve on our situation and it's part of what is playing out around the world that young Nigerians are trekking across the Sahara to get to Europe. I really want federal government, and not just federal government, the populace, the people of Nigeria to look inwards to try to develop programmes that will help them develop the country. Many people have lost faith in Nigeria.”
He appealed to the federal government to make good use of the abundant resources in the country in a way that will enrich the lives of Nigerians.
Okoroafor appealed to the Buhari administration to act quickly to see that Nigerians in South Africa would not suffer much longer in that country.