The Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has stated that Nigeria’s relationship with South Africa which condoned the killing of Nigerians by South Africans in the past must change.
Gbajabiamila who addressed a world conference in response to the xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa, rejected the South African Government’s attempt to change the true narrative of events by casting the recently organised acts of violence as merely internecine conflict between gangs fighting for turf.
He also warned the South African authorities against adding insult to our grief following its Foregn Minister, Naledi Mandisa Pandor’s claim that most Nigerians living in South Africa are involved in drug and human trafficking.
He said “We do not intend to speak many words . The time for speaking has long passed, and the time for action has arrived upon us with a fierce urgency demanding nothing less than our total commitment to revoking the old arrangements that have made such abominations against our people possible.
“Nigerians have long travelled far and wide in search of knowledge, of experience and prosperity. As we have travelled, we have opened also our borders to those who will seek their greener pastures here.
“In Africa, we have demonstrated our commitment to the brotherhood of nations, sacrificing life, labour and wealth to achieve peace and restore freedom from Sierra Leone to Liberia, Sao Tome to South Africa.
“We have sought nothing in return, we have made no claims to the land and resources of our brothers.
“Our commitment has always has been to the advancement of Africa, to freedom in all our lands and prosperity for all our peoples.
“Yet today and too many a time, we are called to stand as pallbearers, bringing home to burial the bodies of our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, our children, savaged and decimated. What is their offence? That they dared to dream of glory and profit beyond our borders, and having dreamt, they endeavoured to make real the visions of their heart.”
” We did not provoke, nor do we deserve the violence that has been visited on our people in South Africa. We reject entirely the obvious attempt to change the true narrative of events by casting the recently organised acts of violence as merely internecine conflict between gangs fighting for turf.
“Unless it is the position of South African government that all Nigerians living in South Africa are gangsters and criminals, we demand that they reject these claims without equivocation.
“The vile images of violent devastation and death randomly visited on innocent people seeking their way in the world, strikes at our heart, causing pain that words alone cannot express. Let no one add insult to our grief.”