Former Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, has said that the Nigerian government and its South African counterpart should be allowed to critically examine the problem of the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, with a view to finding lasting solution to the menace.
Speaking in an interview, Ndoma-Egba said: “I think that both the Nigerian government and the South Africa government should be given an opportunity and should be encouraged to carefully look at the dynamics of this problem and the fundamentals of the problem. We shouldn’t just be carried away by the hysteria.”
The erstwhile Chairman of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), who strongly condemned the xenophobic onslaught on Nigerian citizens, wondered why South Africans would want to pay Nigeria back in this manner, considering the lead role it played to free South Africa from the shackles of apartheid.
He was, however, quick to point out that peaceful and amicable resolution of the matter remains the best option.
The ex-Senate Leader noted that the option of Nigeria breaking off diplomatic relations/ties with South Africa as being suggested by some should not arise.
“It is not a government to government problem. First, let us look very closely at the locations where these things are happening. What is the nature of the conflict? Who are the dramatis personae in this conflict? We have to be cool and objective in analyzing this problem. I don’t think being emotive will help the matters now,” Ndoma-Egba said.
On the reprisal attacks that were targeted at businesses believed to be owned by South Africans in Nigeria, he stated: “Those seeming South African businesses have substantial shareholding ownership by Nigerians. If you take MTN, look at the shareholders, they are largely Nigerians, at least MTN Nigeria.
“And then who are those who work in MTN? Your children and my children, your brothers and my brothers, your sisters and my sisters! So, the people who would lose their jobs from these so-called reprisal attacks are not South Africans.
“At least, not the South Africans of the type who are causing the crisis in South Africa. When you say reprisal, the action should be directed at the persons who are causing the problem in South Africa. So, if one person is causing a problem in South Africa and your actions are affecting another person here, it is not reprisal in my view.
“So, I don’t think that is the way to go because those businesses have huge local content, huge Nigerian content. We are indirectly harming ourselves by going that way. I don’t think that that is the way to go.”