Xenophobic attacks: It’s time for Nigeria to change ‘Africa as Centrepiece’ foreign policy-Rep

Members of the House of Representatives Delegation, L-R Henry Nwawuba, Femi Gbajabiamila and Nnenna Ukeje, after a media briefing before diplomatic shuttle to South Africa in 2017

…….South-African Govt giving attackers tacit support

By Kemi Yesufu

Deputy chairman House of Representatives Committee on Niger-Delta, Rep. Henry Nwawuba, has advised the Federal Government to jettison the long held ‘Africa as centrepiece’ foreign policy of Nigeria.
Nwawuba who was a member of the Femi Gbajabiamila-led committee which was mandated by the House to visit the South-African parliament in 2017, following xenophobic attacks that year, gave the advice is a personally signed statement sent to journalists on Wednesday.

The lawmaker who described the latest round of attacks as barbaric and wicked, called on President Muhammad Buhari to adopt the diplomatic reciprocity deployed by the U.S in recent times in response to the latest round of attacks against Nigerians.

He criticised the lack of political will on the part of the South African government to deal with those who attack and kill foreign national as well as destroy thier property.
Nwawuba, who is the member representing Mbaitoli/Ikeduru/ Federal Constituency of Imo State, also challenged the South African government to order an independent investigation into violent attacks against foreigners, as this is a sure way of finding immediate and lasting solutions to the ugly culture.
The statement read in part: “Suffice to say that the sequential and unmitigated attacks against Nigerians, in South Africa, clearly exposes the lack of political will of the South African government to nip the killings in the bud. Otherwise, it won’t be wrong to assume that the South African political class, and her security architecture, are tacitly inclined to the believe of some of the irate South African citizens who sees Nigerians as potential threats, thereby, building up xenophobic emotions against them.

“Let me use this singular time to once again call for an independent investigation of the remote and immediate causes of this repeated attacks against Nigerians, So as to identify its motivations, and lasting solutions. May I also remind the government and people of South Africa, the big brother role Nigeria played in dismantling all apartheid structures which hitherto placed South Africans in this same precarious situation they have chosen to put their erstwhile benefactor, Nigeria”.

“It is my view that this developments affords the government of Nigeria another opportunity to look into her Foreign Policy Objective, and see if it can possibly be reviewed to meet the contemporary needs, challenges and aspirations of Nigerians, and the Nigeria State, viz-a-viz her national and international relationships. At times like this, Nigeria should see the need to remodel her Foreign Policy Objective which hitherto was hinged on “Africa As The Center Piece”, and begin to look the way of “Diplomatic Reciprocity” just as the US recently did”, the statement further read.



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