…Urge probe of looting of multinational firms
Chris Steven, Abuja
A faction of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has said that its members were not involved in the last Thursday’s reprisal attacks on some companies belonging to South Africa in Abuja following xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in Pretoria.
The students’ umbrella body however expressed dismay over therecent barbaric violence in South Africa, as well as, the attempted reprisal by some misguided youths in Nigeria.
This was contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by the National President of the association, Chinonso Obasi in which it called on the security agencies to fish out those who vandalised properties of multinationals during the said protest.
“While we join the rest of the world in condemning the wanton killing and destruction of property in South Africa, we wish to register out displeasure in the association of the recent vandalism and attacks on multinational firms in Nigeria, particularly Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Our attention was drawn to visuals of some hirelings that carried out mindless destruction and looting of offices and commercial entities owned or run by South Africans in Nigeria.
NANS, being a responsible union of Nigerian students, have met and resolved to issue this rebuttal and call on Nigeria security agencies to fish out the criminal looting and destruction of offices of companies doing legitimate business in the country.
It is regrettable that the security agencies failed to nip the destruction by heeding our earlier alert that some enemies of due process were hiring jobless artisans to unleash destruction on South African businesses in the name of anti-xenophobe protests.
The National Association of Nigerian Students under my leadership as President had in a press statement that was published on many online media platforms on 23rd February, 2017 revealed that plans by some disgruntled to disguise their hunger for mischief by gathering street urchins from neighbouring settlements in the name of our responsible umbrella body (NANS) to carry out attacks on facilities and investments owned by South African interests. (see: naij.com and daily post of 22nd of February, 2017).
While the xenophobic attacks in South Africa is unfortunate, barbaric and constitutes a breach of human rights and harmonious diplomatic relations among countries, we are convinced that reprisal action was the best approach to counteract such base and cowardly behaviour.
We are insistent that instead of emulating the lowliness of banditry, young people, particularly undergraduates of higher institutions of learning should show higher moral examples.
We therefore condemn en toto the attacks on business offices owned by South Africans, particularly MTN Nigeria Communications Limited by criminals whose unstated intention was to put the Nigeria and its future leaders into disrepute.
By the same token we state without equivocation that the unruly protesters that attacked and destroyed public buildings and looted shops in the name of anti-xenophobe protests were not members of the National Association of Nigerian Students.
Consequently, the security agencies should swing into action immediately to examine the video clips of the protests and hold the culprits to disclose their identities and real motives for their obvious criminal actions.
We have it on good record that some of the firms vandalized and looted are partly owned by Nigerians, but also involved in job creation for Nigerian youths. As such there is no way students who are worried by spiraling graduate unemployment should leave his/her academic pursuit to engage in orgy of violence.
We believe in the ability of the Federal Government of Nigeria to take up the issues of xenophobia attacks on the citizens in South Africa with the country’s government and extract commensurate compensation and undertaking to ensure there is no repeat. As Africa’s leading nation, we should not shy away from showing leadership in civilized beahaviour and international cooperation” he said .