As a church, we are saddened by the inhumane treatment of Nigerians and other nationals in South Africa and utterly condemn xenophobia in all its appearances, whether tacitly or full blown. We also want to advice the Government of South Africa not to sweep this issue under the rug, considering we are all human, created in God’s Image.
It should be recalled that Nigeria as a Nation, through her Government and beautiful people, were very accommodating to the South African Nation during the ugly episode of apartheid, and so do not deserve to be paid back with this inhumane treatment of her (Nigerian) citizens in South Africa.
We want to encourage the Nigerian government to explore every diplomatic avenue to put an end to this dark episode, threatening to rip the fabric of friendship between these two top African nations. The Nigerian Government should not, however, go into negotiations without demanding lasting solution. Everything necessary should be done to bring to justice those who partook in the attacks and adequate compensation should be sort for the victims and their families.
It is also important to note that the response of some Nigerian youths to the news of the xenophobic attacks, here in Nigeria, is an indication of an impending catastrophe, if not immediately addressed. While under no guise would we consider the actions of these youths acceptable, we see it as a symptom to what we have been talking about for a while now. There is immense poverty in the land.
The result to looting and vandalism was not borne out of accurate information but a case of ‘an idle hand is the devil’s workshop’. This cannot be allowed to continue. And the only productive way to address it, is to engage the younger Nigerians meaningfully. We advice the Government at all levels to sit right and address the hunger in the land. The Youths are bottled up and if care is not taken, they can upturn the future of this great nation.
We advice those at the helms of affairs of our nation not to play politics with these grave issues but rise to the challenge, seeing this as a clarion call to make a Nation that we will all be proud to hand over to the coming generation.
Signed: Rt Rev Dr Humphrey Olumakaiye. Diocesan Bishop & Missioner, Lagos Diocese( Anglican Communion).
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