Govt Denies Alleged Quit Notice to Nigerians in South Africa

The federal government thursday dispelled rumours of a quit notice given to Nigerians leaving in South Africa to leave the country by June 16, 2017 or face dire consequences.

The Acting High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Martin Cobham, who denied the report in a telephone conversation with THISDAY, advised people to be wary of some reports in the social media or online news media. He said some of the reports have the capacity of straining the relations between Nigeria and South Africa. Cobham however, promised that the mission would investigate the matter and report accordingly to the appropriate quarters.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Sola Enikanolaye, said in a telephone conversation that the ministry was unaware of any threat to Nigerians living in South Africa, adding that the mission in South Africa was yet to report any of such to the ministry.

According to some online media publications, the President of the Nigerian Union in South Africa, Ikechukwu Anyene, had in a statement revealed that two communities in Johannesburg had issued quit notices to Nigerians to leave over allegations of dealings on hard drugs, as well as luring young girls into prostitution. According to the statement, the Kuruman community in Northern Cape Province gave Nigerians until yesterday to leave the place while the Klaafontein community, Extension 5, Johannesburg, also directed landlords not to renew the rent of Nigerians in the area. Anyene said the grievances of the South Africans were that Nigerians were responsible for some social vices such as illicit drug trade and prostitution and they blamed every crime in the country on Nigerians even when it was clear that they were not committed by Nigerians. Anyene narrated how a Ugandan man allegedly raped a girl in Kwazulu Natal Province and was described as a Nigerian in the media just to make it seem as if the man was a Nigerian.

“The Nigerian Union held series of meetings with the affected communities as well as police and local authorities on the recent threats to Nigerians. “We have also written reports on these incidents and sent to the Nigerian Mission and the South African police. “We recommended interventions before the June 15 deadline to the mission and we are waiting for their response. The union is worried that any incident involving non-South Africans are attributed to Nigerians. There have been sustained media propaganda against our people,” he said.

Alex Enumah/THISDAY