A former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof Bolaji Akinyemi, has urged the Federal Government to drag its South African counterpart before the International Court of Justice for its failure to cater for Nigerian citizens resident in South Africa.
Several Nigerians living in South Africa had come under a series of xenophobic attacks. The latest attacks, which started on September 1, led to a diplomatic row between Nigeria and South Africa, forcing the Federal Government to evacuate Nigerians who expressed interest to return home.
In a statement on Sunday tagged, South African on xenophobic attacks on Nigeria, Akinyemi said the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other immigrants were acts sponsored by the South African state in violation of Article 2, paragraph 2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, among others.
For instance, the professor of political science pointed out that the statement credited to the South African Minister of International Relations, Dr Grace Pandor, that Nigerians were drug dealers, among other officials, were inciting.
He said, “The statement credited to the South African Minister of International Relations, Dr Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor, that Nigerians were drug dealers; the statement credited to Deputy Police Minister, Bongani Mkongi, that they fought for their land and that that land would not be surrendered to immigrants.
“The statement credited to the South African Defence Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, that South Africa is an angry nation and that the country could not prevent the xenophobic attacks; and various statements credited to South African diplomats blaming the immigrants.
“The anti-immigrant acts by the South African Immigration service officials which for all practical purposes amount to holding Nigerian immigrants hostage by refusing to allow them to be evacuated; I have come to the conclusion that the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other immigrants are acts sponsored or condoned by the South African state in violation of: Article 2, paragraph 2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
“Article 2, paragraph 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; United Nations Convention on the elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination; and the International Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers.
“I, therefore, call on Nigeria to sue South Africa before the International Court of Justice for failure in its duty of care and protection of Nigerian citizens’ resident there. I furthermore call on Nigeria to file complaints against specific South African officials at the International Criminal Court for aiding and abetting the xenophobic attacks.”