Xenophobia; Nigerian Government Reacts To Recent Arson Attacks On Nigerians

Nigerians living in South Africa have suffered irreparable loss over the incessant Xenophobic attacks in the past years. However, the recent attack at the Nigerian embassy and burning of shops and houses owned by Nigerians seemed to be the height of the attacks.

Though the South African police has arrested some people over the arson attacks on Nigerians’ shops in the country, the loss is equated to be worth Millions of Naira. The Federal Government of Nigeria has described the attacks as senseless and worrisome

The government of South Africa reported it had arrested dozens of people in Johannesburg, after the rioters looted shops and torched buildings and vehicles. BBC reports that the police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades in an attempt to quell the unrest on Monday, September 2.

South Africa’s Police Minister, Bheki Cele, who visited the Central Business District (CBD), where most of the unrest had been happening, claimed that criminal elements are to be blamed for the “senseless violence”, saying they only use xenophobia as an excuse. “Nothing… has sparked any form of conflict between the South Africans and foreign nationals,” he said

The Nigerian Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, reacted to the situation by saying that Nigerian shops had been targeted by “mindless criminals” and promised to take “definitive measures.”

The latest unrest was said to have started on Sunday, September 1, when a building in Johannesburg’s (CBD) caught fire and collapsed, killing at least three people. The violence then spread on Monday, to the nearby area of Jeppestown and then Denver, Malvern and Tembisa.

Geoffrey Onyeama has however accused the South African Police of complicity in the attack on Nigerians and their properties.

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