Obasanjo calls for AU Sanction against South Africa

By AdvocateNews on 17/09/2019

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 Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on Nigerian government and other countries whose citizens were victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa to initiate sanctions against the latter should the government fail to take satisfactory steps at dealing with the menace.

Obasanjo said the countries should come together and table appropriate motion before the African Union and consider other measures should the situation in South Africa persist.
This was contained in a letter by the former president to Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the President Emeritus of Inkatha Freedom Party, a copy of which was made available to newsmen.
Obasanjo, who described the incident as unfortunate, said South Africa must start a fence-mending, reconciliation and wound-binding between South Africa and all other African countries whose citizens are victims of xenophobia.
The former president who also took a swipe at the government of South Africa for being an accomplice in the attack said the South African police are either incompetent or colluding with the attackers.
He disabused the minds of South Africans, saying xenophobia will only ruin the economy of the country rather than erroneous belief that the attack will provide more jobs for them.
“The xenophobia or afrophobia going on in South Africa is an unfortunate issue for South Africa and for the whole of Africa. It is unfortunate in many respects. There are only two countries in Africa that have ‘Africa’ as part of their names: Central Africa Republic and Republic of South Africa.
“For any of these two countries and, I dare say, for any African country to encourage or allow or not seriously sanction xenophobia against Africans in their country, it is a great disservice not only to the country where xenophobia takes place and the countries of the victims concerned, but also a great disservice to the whole of Africa and black race.
“I want to thank you, my dear senior brother, for the statement you made to alert leaders and ordinary people of South Africa to appreciate that turning a blind eye and not making a very strong statement of condemnation or taking a very strong stand against xenophobia is encouraging xenophobia or being an accomplice in xenophobia and/or afrophobia.
“As it is being touted that xenophobia will give South Africans jobs, I dare say, it is fallacy. Xenophobia will make investment in South Africa a little bit more difficult which will lead to lack of job creation and loss of existing jobs.
“It should also be realised that most migrants did not migrate out of their country to other countries with total emptiness. Some have education, skills, experience, expertise, entrepreneurship and sheer guts which they can bring to bear on the economy of the country they have migrated to.
“What has helped most developed countries in the world is openness and receiving migrants with open hands and open minds. In any case, all of us in the world are migrants, no matter where we live, depending only on how far back you want to go.
“At this juncture, there is need for fence-mending, reconciliation and wound-binding between South Africa and the countries whose citizens have been victims of xenophobia and afrophobia in South Africa.
“As a suggestion, South Africa should send emissaries to the countries concerned to explain, apologise and agree on the way forward for mutual understanding, accommodation, reconciliation, and binding the wound to promote unity, concord, and brotherhood in Africa.
“Repatriation of Nigerians from South Africa is obviously not a permanent solution. At best it is palliative. But the hurt will still remain for some time. Neither is revenge a desirable solution. Mutual understanding and acknowledgement of what needs to be done on all sides is imperative and getting down to doing them is the solution that will serve Nigeria and South Africa and indeed Africa well particularly in this era of Africa Continental Free Trade Area opportunities.
“In the final analysis, if South Africa fails to initiate appropriate and satisfactory steps to deal with the issues to pacify affected victims and work for reconciliation with the countries concerned to put an end to xenophobia, the concerned countries of the victims should come together to table appropriate motions at the AU level first and consider other measures if the situation is allowed to continue.”
Obasanjo said Africans living in other countries within the continent should be treated as citizens of the country and ensure adherence to judicial process of the foreign citizens when they commit crime.
He also called for unity of purpose amongst African countries to fight the menace of drug within the continent, saying other continents are also victims of drug.
He said, “However, we believe that Africans living in any other part of Africa must be treated as brothers and friends. If they commit any crime, they should be treated like citizens of that country will be treated when they commit crime which will mean applying judicial process.
“Moreover, the South African police and other law enforcement agencies must uphold the letter and spirit of the constitution of South Africa. Where the police would stand aloof watching miscreants and criminals committing crimes against fellow human beings is condemnable and not acceptable in any civilised society.
“This was experienced in South Africa in recent times and it shows either incompetence or collusion on the part of the police.
“The best way to fight crime is to achieve close to full employment in a society and not through xenophobia. Anybody who can deny xenophobia in South Africa of today can deny that my mother is a woman. It should not be a game of denial but rather a game of accepting reality and working at it, together with the rest of Africa where necessary.
“Countries in Africa are not just transit for drugs from sources in Latin America and Asia to consuming populations in North America and Europe, but these countries in Southern Africa and West Africa are also falling victims as consumers and producers.”
Despite the attacks on Nigerians, Obasanjo assured South Africans that Nigeria will continue to play leadership role in Africa, saying Nigeria believes it is a duty to do so as Africans.

Posted 17/09/2019 07:57:54 AM


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