There is growing concern over Nigeria’s diplomatic and economic ties with her South African neighbour as more pictures of xenophobic attacks on immigrants in South Africa appear online on Sunday.
The violence has forced foreigners, especially Nigerians, out of their homes with many ending up in transit camps set up by non-profit groups. The search for greener pastures has turned to search for refuge as some Nigerians may be forced to return home this week.
The xenophobic attacks are coming seven months after Pastor TB Joshua’s Synagogue of All Nations church building collapse in September, 2015 in which 84 South Africans were reportedly killed, causing ripples of tension between the two countries.
Like the Synagogue building collapse, the attack against Nigerians in South Africa is renewing rivalries between the two African giants as several groups, politicians and activists have condemned the atrocities. While some are seeking economic sanctions, others are berating the South Africa’s government management of the crisis.
The News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday quoted the Nigerian Consul-General in South Africa, Uche Ajulu-Okeke, as saying that Nigerian citizens in South Africa had lost more than 1.2 million rand, amounting to over N20m to the violence.
The Nigerian envoy said at Jeppe, a Johannesburg suburb, the mission had helped about 50 stranded Nigerians to resettle.
According to Ajulu-Okeke, the loss recorded by Nigerians so far included looted shops, burnt shops, two burnt mechanic workshops, 11 burnt cars and two stolen cars, among others.”
“Nigerians have compiled damage to their property and it is totalling about 1.2 million Rand or N21 million, which will be sent to the Federal Government for further action,” she said.
South Africa’s large investments in Nigeria such as MTN, DSTV, Protea Hotel, IBTC, Shoprite. and Nigeria may suffer a setback as Nigerians at home are already calling for a sabotage.
If it continues, the violence may take its toll on the economic relationship between the two countries.