African commission mulls appropriate action against South Africa over xenophobia

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Cleric condemns attacks on Nigerians, others

Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Soyata Maiga yesterday agreed to ‘take appropriate actions’ on request by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to sue South Africa over xenophobic attacks on other Africans.

The development, analysts say, has brightened the prospects of getting justice for Nigerian victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.The group had earlier requested the commission to “submit a case on the escalating xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other African citizens to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, as well as seek effective remedy and reparation for Nigerian victims.”

In its letter to Maiga last Friday, SERAP stated that, “these xenophobic attacks constitute serious violations of the human rights of Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa.”Advertisement

It also urged the commission to “seek in the case to the African Court, punitive damages and adequate compensation of $10 billion on behalf of hundreds of Nigerian victims and their families. The amount will sufficiently address individual harm they suffered.”

In her response to SERAP, Maiga said: “Thank you for your open letter requesting our commission to take action in court. I have just shared the letter with Jamesina Essie King, Chair of the Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, for follow-up and appropriate action.”

Responding to Maiga’s email, SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said: “Thank you for your email and swift response to our request. We appreciate your commitment to human rights in Africa, the indication and assurances that the commission will take action on this very important matter.

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Meanwhile, Bishop and Missioner, Diocese of Lagos, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Humphrey Olumakaiye, has condemned xenophobic attacks in South Africa and charged the Nigerian government to ensure that its South African counterpart does not sweep the matter under the carpet.

Recalling Nigeria’s involvement in helping South Africans overcome apartheid, he lamented the evil South Africans were now visiting on Nigerians who accommodated them during their travails.

He enjoined the Federal Government to explore all diplomatic avenues with a view to ensuring a lasting solution to the attitude of South Africans, which he said, was capable of threatening the relationship between both countries. Olumakaiye also said South Africa government should prosecute those responsible for the the inhuman treatment of Nigerians with adequate compensations paid to the victims to forestall further reprisals from Nigerians, especially the jobless and hungry youths.

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