Xenophobia: Affected Nigerians seek assistance

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Nigerians affected by the recent xenophobic attacks in Sternkopf and Poffader in Northern

Cape Province of South Africa have called for assistance to enable them resettle.

Mr Emeka Muo, a businessman in Sternkopf, told us on Wednesday that he lost everything to the xenophobic attacks on June 15.

‘’ My family and I are now taking shelter in a neighbouring community. The attackers looted everything we had and we are left with nothing.

‘’ My wife and our little baby are now taking refuge in a family friend’s house in Springbok, a neighbouring town.

‘’ We appeal to the Federal Government to direct the Nigerian Mission in South Africa to come to our aid.

“ We need urgent assistance to survive the winter period in South Africa,’’ he said.

Mr Christian Onovo, the Ward Chairman of Nigerian Union in Springbok, said property such as cars and house hold items were burnt by the attackers.

‘’ As I speak to you, more than 11 Nigerians and their families are stranded. They have been forced out of the community and there is fear of more attacks.

‘’ We are living on the edge in Springbok. We need assistance to resettle Nigerians affected by the renewed attacks,’’ he said.

The President of Nigeria Union, South Africa, Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, said some members of the national executive of the union had visited the affected communities to assess the situation.

Anyene said the union met with senior police commanders in the affected areas.

“ After the meeting with the police and Nigerians, it was agreed that the police should provide security for all residents of the community and address the concerns of local residents.

‘’ The police assisted by providing temporary accommodation for three Nigerians.

“ The situation is stable and there are no more attacks. The authorities assured that measures have been taken to prevent further attacks,’’ he said.

Anyene said the union had written to the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa, but had not received any response yet.

‘’ Nigerians affected by the attacks want urgent response from the Mission to salvage their situation.

‘’ We were able to interact with the natives and found out that issues bordering on poverty, crime and operating businesses without permit were the main reasons for the attacks.

‘’ The union proposed for periodic meetings with foreigners and South Africans in the community to sort out the concerns and bridge the communication gap that could cause crisis,’’ he said.

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