Need to Value Human Lives
THE continued attack of Nigerians in South Africa and lack of clear and strong condemnations against such act have brought to the fore the level of value attached to human lives in Nigeria. The death of Elizabeth Ndubusi-Chukwu, Deputy Director General of Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria who was allegedly murdered in her hotel room in a suspicious circumstance calls to question Nigeria’s foreign thrust about xenophobic attacks on its citizens.
NOT only South Africans attack and maltreat Nigerians, our close border nation, Ghana also engage in such act. This bellicosity from African neighbors is alarming especially at a time the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) just joined the rest of Africa and signed a remarkable trade agreement for the continent.
We therefore feel that it is high time the Federal Government critically looked at its foreign policy as it concerns her citizens who live in foreign countries, most importantly, Africa. Nigerians should not be made endangered species in any country. These attacks are unacceptable. They rob us of our dignity.
ACCORDING to report, no fewer than nine Nigerian owned shops were burnt in recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa while 118 Nigerians lost their lives in different attacks over the years, 13 out of which were by South African police.
Also in Ghana, shops belonging to Nigerians were recently locked up by Ghanaian traders at the popular Opera Square Electronic Market in the central business district of Accra. The angry traders reportedly attacked Nigerian traders and sealed off their shops.
THAT incident was the second time in few weeks that Nigerian traders at the market were being selectively attacked by the Ghana Electrical Dealers Association (GEDA).The first incident occured in June, when several shops were also locked up by GEDA. The latest incident, which was instigated a few days after the Ghanaian Parliament threw its weight behind the traders by insisting that foreigners must be barred from retail business in the country, was more pronounced.
THE anti-Nigerian sentiment in many countries is prevalent due to the Federal Government’s lackadaisical attitude to promptly reciprocate any unfriendly treatment against Nigerians anywhere. We believe that government should respond in a more tough way as a way of ending the xenophobia.
For instance, this is not the first time Ghana had maltreated Nigerians. Last January, Ghana deported 723 Nigerians on alleged illegal stay, cybercrime and prostitution between January 2018 and January 2019. The Ghanaian government clearly acted then based on mere suspicion without thorough investigation.
The Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Olufemi Abikoye protested against the ill-treatment meted out to Nigerians by the Ghanaian Immigration Service (GIS). Unfortunately, the authorities in Abuja did absolutely nothing about it. This might have given Ghana the impetus to deport a Nigerian professor on a flimsy charge.
WE therefore feel that the Nigerian government needs to reciprocate any unfriendly treatment of its nationals in other countries. The era of big brother is gone. Any country that does not value the lives of Nigerians should be dealt with diplomatically and put in its own shoe.
OUR position is that no institution can protect the interest of Nigerians except the federal government. Therefore, the onus is on the government to protect the interest of its citizens outside. We recall a lady whose life would have been cut short for an offence she knew nothing of but was rescued by this administration in Saudi Arabia. That is a hallmark of a country that values the lives of its citizens.
WE therefore enjoin the government to be proactive in the protection of the interest of its citizens. It should not only complain when the interest of its citizens are being compromised, it should match action with words. The era of big brother at the expense of Nigeria is over. Nigerians should be the centre piece of the nation’s foreign policy.
WE recommend that government should borrow a leaf from the United States of America which stops at nothing to protect its nationals abroad.
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