Nigerians in South Africa have called on the Federal Government to come to their aid as they now live in fear in South Africa following the outbreak of xenophobic attack.
According to The Nation, when the South Africans carried out the plot in the early hours of February 24, Nigerians, who had prepared themselves for any eventuality, were spared the loss of lives, which had been their lot in previous attacks.
As he watched the violent attacks on television, Femi, who pleaded that his full name should not be used for security reasons, realised that he and other Nigerians owe their lives to the benevolence of some of their hosts. Femi, who has lived in the former apartheid colony for five years now, said Nigerians now live in fear of attack every day.
Weeks after the latest waves of attacks on foreigners by South Africans, Femi, who trades in accident cars, is yet to get over the trauma of the ugly incident.
Recalling his experience, he said: “We had information from people close to the South Africans that they were going to attack us.
“They normally say they are going against illegal immigrants.
“The week before the last attack, they came to a mechanic workshop owned by a Nigerian. The place is called Embassy, on Christophel Street in Pretoria. They burnt 28 cars in that shop.
“On 24th of the month, they marched around from Attridgeville down to Pretoria West. During the march, they were destroying and looting shops. It was chaos.
“I stayed in Pretoria West, and I was indoor throughout. I switched on the television to monitor what was happening. The experience was horrible. You can imagine watching people moving round and attacking your people. I don’t pray to go through such experience again.
“At a stage, the immigrants, Ethiopians, Somalians and Nigerians, decided that they would fight back, because even though the South Africans and their police know the drug peddlers and the prostitutes, they still go ahead to attack foreigners who go about their legitimate businesses. “
Femi says he no longer feels secure in South Africa. “I am just trying to get myself together and go back to Nigeria or relocate to a more peaceful country,” he said with a tinge of sadness.
The story was the same for Seye Oladeji. For him, living in Pretoria West in the last 10 years has been a tough decision.
Like other Nigerians, Oladeji survived the latest attack because some friendly South Africans told him of an impending attack.
He said: “I was indoor all through the period of the attack. I have been in South Africa since 2007. I witnessed it in 2008. I know how they are.
“Two houses close my residence and belonging to Nigerians were burnt. It was a really traumatic experience.”
However, despite the trauma and loss foreigners go through in South Africa, he is not ready to quit. With his firm understanding of the country and its people, Oladeji said he would always get by in the midst of the violence.
“Some of us know how to go around when they are doing all these. I get by,” he said with a sense of assurance.
Ezechukwu Emmanuel lives in Durban, South Africa. For eight years, he had learnt to relate with the people around him with suspicion. Although the last orgy of violence was largely restricted to Pretoria and its suburbs, Emmanuel said most Nigerians in the country feared for their lives while the attack lasted.
“I don’t really know why these people are doing this to us. We go about our businesses legally, but they are envious of our achievements and they want to kill us,” Emmanuel said.
As the angry mobs attacked Nigerians and looted shops belonging to Somalis, Pakistani and other migrants in townships around Pretoria and parts of Johannesburg, the venom and anger on their faces were enough to scare the daylight out of any human.
As they went round looting shops and other properties owned by Nigerians and other foreigners, it was obvious that the intent was to exterminate anybody that tried to stop them.
“They (foreigners) should know that this they are a guest in my house. I am treating them with respect. They should treat me with respect,” one angry protester told the BBC.
Nigerians in South Africa were “notorious” for dealing drugs, he added, calling for greater checks on foreigners coming into the country.
The main South African group behind the Pretoria attacks, Mamelodi Concerned Residents, blamed foreign nationals for taking jobs and accused them of being involved in prostitution rings and drug cartels.
The petition delivered by the group to the home affairs ministry alleged worshippers from Zimbabwean apostolic churches, who congregate in the open, were “destroying our public parks”, and accused them of defecating, urinating and burning fires.
It also said foreigners were “arrogant and don’t know how to talk to people, especially Nigerians.”
But a Nigerian, who said he had earlier sent his family back home to Nigeria, said the accusations were wrong. He claimed he suffers daily attacks from South Africans, who he accused of envy.
“I think the main reason these people attack us is because they are envious. Nigerians are hardworking people. If you look round the country, we don’t mind any kind of job, and we carry ourselves with pride. But they have termed that to mean that we are arrogant.
“For instance, if you go to a car wash business owned by a Nigerian, you would see the difference with one owned by a South African. Rather than change their attitude to work, they are trying to make scape goats of foreigners, particularly Nigerians.”
The South African President, Jacob Zuma, said many foreign citizens living in South Africa were law-abiding and huge contributors to the economy.
“It is wrong to brandish all non-nationals as drug dealers or human traffickers. Let us isolate those who commit such crimes and work with government to have them arrested without stereotyping and causing harm to innocent people,” Zuma said in a statement.
Speaking further, the president denied that South Africans were xenophobic and that the event “was anti-crime in the main. It was not an anti-foreigners march.”
At the height of the attacks, Nigerian groups in the country rose with one voice. The leaders of the Oodua Progressive Union (OPU) in South Africa said five buildings with Nigerian businesses, including a church, was looted and burnt by South Africans.
The coordinator of the group, Tunji Aladeselu, said: “One of the buildings is a mechanic workshop with over 20 cars under repair. Aside this, other vital documents were burnt during the attack. The pastor of the church sustained injuries and is currently receiving treatment in the hospital.”
Aladeselu called on the Nigerian government to help protect Nigerians from further attacks.
“We visited the Nigerian Embassy to meet with other members of the Nigerian community and to fashion out ways of safe guarding Nigerians.
“We also demand that the Federal Government of Nigeria relate with its South African counterpart to increase security presence in areas highly populated by Nigerians and their business concerns.”
In the same vein, the chairman of Nigerian Union in Kwazulu Natal, Mr.Barthlomew Eziagulu, condemned the understanding of the South Africans. He said the people are now more alert to attacks. “The people’s understanding is low. We are still on alert. While the attacks were on, we encouraged our citizens to be indoors.
“Even up till now, we are still on the alert.”
The current hardship ue to harsh economic situation currently facing the country may have forced about 3 .67 million Nigerians into the unemployment market within a one -year period covering October 2015 to September 2016, figures obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics have revealed.
According to an analysis of the unemployment report for the period, which was obtained by our correspondent in Abuja , the number of unemployed Nigerians rose from 7 .51 million in the beginning of the October 2015 to 11. 19 million at the end of September 2016, Punch reports.
The unemployment report for the fourth quarter of last year covering October to December 2016 , which is still being prepared by the NBS, is due for release on March 29 based on the data release calendar of the bureau .
The report added that while the number of those employed rose from 55.21 million in the beginning of the fourth quarter to 69. 47 million as of the end of September , the labour force population rose from 75. 94 million to 80. 66 million .
A breakdown of the 3 .67 million unemployed Nigerians showed that about 522 ,000 people became jobless within the fourth quarter of 2015; while 1 .44 million people joined the labour force in the first quarter of 2016.
For the second and third quarters of 2016, further analysis of the unemployment report of the NBS showed that about 1 .16 million and 550 ,000 people entered the labour market in search of jobs.
The NBS report explained that unemployment rate was highest for persons in the labour force between the ages of 15- 24 and 25- 34, which represents the ‘ youth ’ population in Nigeria .
For instance, it said the unemployment rate was highest for those within the age group of 15 to 24 rising from 17.8 per cent in the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2015 to 25 per cent as of the end of September 2016.
For the 25- 34 age group , the unemployment rate , according to the NBS report increased from 10. 8 per cent to 15 per cent as of the end of September 2016.
It noted that unemployment and underemployment were higher for women in the third quarter of 2016 .
It said while 15.9 per cent of women in the labour force were unemployed as of the end of the third quarter of 2016, a further 22. 9 per cent of women in the labour force were underemployed during the period.
On the other hand , the report said 12 per cent of males were unemployed in the third quarter of 2016, while a further 16.7 per cent of males in the labour force were underemployed during the same period.
“Given that the nature of rural jobs is largely menial and unskilled , such as in agriculture , unemployment is more of a concern in urban areas where more skilled labour is required.
“The unemployment rate in the urban areas was 18. 3 per cent compared to 11. 8 per cent in the rural areas , as the preference is more for formal white- collar jobs, which are located mostly in urban centres,” the report said .
Commenting on the unemployment rate in the country, the President , Institute of Productivity and Business Innovation Management, Mr. Remi Dairo, said the harsh operating environment may have been responsible for the development.
He said , “The huge number of unemployment is a reflection of the current economic realities as only few businesses are growing and employing while many others are shedding jobs.
“The lack of productive skills in both the private and public sector is one of the major reasons for the country’s underdevelopment and there is need for a comprehensive education policy that would help to address the skill gaps in the country .
“In order to close the existing gaps in skills between the extant programmes of educational institutions and the requirements in the industry, the government needs to restructure the educational system to meet the present and future needs of the country. ”
The Registrar , Chartered Institute of Finance and Control of Nigeria , Mr . Godwin Eohoi , advised the government to encourage the patronage of locally produced goods to boost economic activities .
He said , “We have to look inward to boost the economy through encouragement of local content by ensuring patronage for locally made goods .
“This would help stimulate production by local industries and thus boost the GDP. Companies like Innoson Motors should be empowered by both the government and the private sector .”
He added, “The government should come up with policies that would encourage investors to set up plants in Nigeria for production rather than spending money importing all these items that are depleting our foreign exchange reserves.
“The government should also reduce the interest rate to make funds available to critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture , manufacturing and others.
“Since foreign investors are shying away from investing in the country, we should look inward and encourage our local industries by reducing interest rate and making foreign exchange available to them to continue production .”
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Saturday alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission was working in collaboration with the All Progressives Congress to rig the 2019 general elections .
He further alleged that INEC had consulted the APC with a view to post compromised electoral officers from APC states to Rivers State .
The governor stated this when he visited Etche Local Government Area of the state , to thank the people for their support for the PDP during the supplementary elections .
Wike said , “INEC is planning to rig the 2019 general elections . They claim that they are re -deploying the 23 electoral officers in the state . But we have authentic intelligence report that INEC has consulted APC and they plan to post electoral officers from APC states to Rivers State .
“These electoral officers being handpicked from APC states are to help in rigging the elections in 2019.”
Wike added that no level of fraudulent postings by INEC to Rivers State will lead to a favourable ground for rigging elections .
“If they like, let them post their fathers to Rivers State , we will resist any attempt to rig the 2019 elections in the state . Our people will remain vigilant .
“They can rig in another state , certainly not Rivers . For us , we must elect our representatives through the democratic process . Nobody will intimidate us”, he said .
He noted that any electoral reform by INEC should have the input of stakeholders at the state levels .
He said , “The head is rotten . You have to cut off the head . They should first cut off the head before coming down to the lower rung of the ladder. ”
The governor said nobody died during the February 25, 2017 Etche/ Omuma Federal Constituency elections because security agencies acted professionally .
He added that once security agencies follow electoral guidelines , elections will hold peacefully and the actual representatives of the people will always emerge .
While commending the Etche people for standing firm during the supplementary elections , Governor Wike assured them that they will always benefit from his administration .
Member Representing Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency , Mr . Jerome Eke said that the several rerun elections in the state have confirmed Governor Wike as a true leader of the state who has the support of the people .
The African Magic Viewers Choice Awards 2017 held yesterday, Saturday March 4th at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos yesterday
Many celebrities attended the red carpet event including celebrities couples like Funke Akindele & JJC, Osas Ighodaro & Gbenro Ajibade, Olu Jacobs & Joke Silva.
Annie Idibia was so elated about the love that exists between the two Veteran Actors, Joke Silva & Olu Jacobs.
She shared their loved-up photo from the Awards Night and captioned:
Omg😍😍😍😍😍😍😍 love love this love … when it isn’t infatuation,when its deeper than the physical looks,when its so REAL than the bits on social media,when you understand that it isn’t about who is wrong or right,when you work so hard to conquer together, when you understand forgiveness, when you understand that you r now ONE,means you can’t hurt or destroy your own self, you Protect you(yours)..And yes,this takes 2 people,not just the woman or man…but both as ONE….It doesn’t have to be perfect!!! this just melts my heart. I want 2 grow with u like this my “mine” .. Goodnight Fam.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday directed the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to inject N2 billion into each of the 12 new universities established by the Federal Government in 2011.
Buhari, who spoke as a visitor to the maiden convocation of the Federal University, Wukari in Taraba, said that the amount was to fund critical infrastructure in the institutions.
Represented by Dr Bello Kumo, the Director Academic Standards in the National Universities Commission (NUC), the President also directed that each of the institutions should be given additional N2.5 billion in the next two years.
The amount was in addition to the normal N1 billion funding contained in the 2017 fiscal provision.
He said that his administration was ready to support research, training and retraining of staff of the Federal Government-owned tertiary institutions in order to fulfill their mandates of teaching, research and community service.
Buhari warned, “We will not condone corruption and lawlessness in administering the funds that are injected for the development of your institutions.’’
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof Abubakar Kundiri, thanked the President for approving “massive special TETFund intervention for the development of key infrastructure in our university’’.
Kundiri said that the university had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Colorado, Wolverhampton and Manchester to position it as a formidable stronghold of scholarship and research.
He said that the agreement would promote collaborative effort in research, staff training and exchange programmes.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that highlights of the event was the investiture of the Ona of Abaji, Dr Adamu Baba Yunusa, as the Chancellor of the University.
The university also conferred honorary Doctorate Degrees on retired Lt.-Gen. T. Y. Danjuma, the Ona of Abaji and the Aku Uka of Wukari, Dr Shekarau Angyu, for their respective roles in the development of Nigeria.