By Toby Prince
Former minister of education, Oby Ezekwesili, has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa to apologise over the xenophobic attacks on foreigners after meeting with leaders of the Nigerian community in Cape Town, South Africa.
Mrs Ezekwesili met the Nigerians during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Cape Town.
The meeting led by the acting president of the Nigerian Community Western Cape (NCWC), Cosmos Echie, comprised of Nigerian entrepreneurs and professionals.
Others who were at the meeting included representative of Yoruba community in Cape Town, T.A Odutayo; chairman of Ohaneze Ndigbo (Western Cape), Vincent Nzekwe; Secretary, Simon Odumegwu; leader of the Ogoni community, Barry Wuganaale; financial secretary of NCWC, Fuster Ludjoe; Treasurer of NCWC, Felicia Feni; Ebiere Joseph-Akwunwa, Chukwudi Nwokeabia, Samson Famuyiwa and Sunday Ekene.
According to a communiqué issued after the meeting and obtained on Monday, Ezekwesili and the Nigerian community in South Africa described the attacks as ‘Afrophobia’.
The communiqué read: “Officials of the government of South Africa must immediately desist from making any further pejorative and incendiary comments targeting Nigerians and their country and instead publicly commit to taking preventive and surveillance measures that will foreclose a repeat of Afrophobic attacks of Nigerians and other African nationals.
“The President of South Africa should offer a sincere public apology to Nigeria, other countries affected by the attacks and the entire continent for the tragic hostility and harm perpetrated against their citizens.
“The President of South Africa should send a sharp signal to South Africans and the continent by visiting the victims of the Afrophobia attacks to empathise with and reassure them of their safety in South Africa and the government should consider paying compensations for losses sustained in the attacks.”