• Tony Igele

South Africa: Alarming Resentment Growing Against South Africans Outside Borders

The violent implosion in Nigeria as locals retaliate to xenophobic violence suffered by their compatriots in South Africa is merely a tip of an iceberg as bitterness brews among African nationals towards South African counterparts in their countries.

With more people in countries where there is a presence of South African people and companies threatening reprisals, the ongoing tensions are feared to have dire consequences.

Last Thursday, group of Nigerian youths under the banner of the National Youth Council of Nigeria ransacked South Africa's largest mobile network operator MTN where they made off with several technology gadgets, customer phones and iPads worth millions of Naira before vandalising the offices.

Adults joined frustrated youths as they vowed to intensify violence against all South African companies operating in Nigeria, the continent's biggest economy, in retaliation to ongoing violence targeted at Nigerians in South Africa, particularly Gauteng Province where they are accused of running drug and prostitution cartels.

In an interview with CAJ News, Nigerian Union in South Africa President, Chief Emeka Johnson, said Nigerian entrepreneurs had as a precautionary measure closed their businesses in Gauteng until further notice.

"We urge all Nigerians to always live in clusters in case they are attacked. We also call upon Nigerian parents to withdraw their children from schools in Gauteng province," Chief Johnson said.

He said they had lost confidence in both police and government.

"We shall continue respecting the rule of law. However, I urge all Nigerians to defend themselves when provoked and attacked," said Johnson.

Osita Owoh, a member of the National Youth Council of Nigeria that destroyed MTN offices in Abuja, concurred.

"I think South Africans always believe other African nations are stupid or scared of them when what we prefer is diplomacy. Enough is enough. I believe now is the time to return fire with fire," said Owoh in Abuja.

The attack was an aftermath of anger brewing among Nigerians after government reported over 100 of its nationals had been killed over the past two years in attacks related to xenophobia.

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