EYEAFRICA TV: Lagos, Nigeria: Nigeria said on Tuesday that no discontent can justify persistent xenophobic attacks and looting of shops of its nationals in South Africa, threatening “definite measures” if the attacks are not halted immediately.
Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama told South African envoy Bobby Moroe that Abuja is uncomfortable with the rising violence against its citizens, demanding that everyone involved in the “criminal looting and attacks” be apprehended and prosecuted.
“We insist that no discontent can justify the criminal violence and looting of shops of foreigners and we demand that security agencies must respond without fear of anything,” Onyeama said at a joint news briefing with Moroe in Abuja.
Several foreign owned shops were looted in Johannesburg on Monday as rioters descended on the streets of South Africa’s largest city blaming migrants for taking opportunities allegedly meant for them. Vehicles and buildings housing businesses belonging to foreign nationals mainly from other African countries and Asia were torched.
Moroe, for his part, condemned the attacks on foreigners but said police are working “round the clock” to address the crisis.
He called for restraint on both sides saying the South Africa High Commission will be meeting student leaders in Nigeria in an apparent step to forestall reprisals against South African businesses and nationals in Nigeria. “We condemn this violence in its entirety,” Moroe said, adding that at least 70 suspects have been arrested since outbreak of the latest violence.
“I will convey the message of the Nigerian government to our government and a lasting solution will be found to this crisis,” Moroe said.
He also said allegations of South Africa’s police complicity in the attacks would be investigated, adding that such charges had led to the arrest of eight policemen in the previous xenophobic attacks.