The Nigerian Citizens Association in South Africa has condemned fresh attacks on Nigerian-owned businesses located in Witbank Mpumalamga in South Africa, saying it is worrisome.
The President of NICASA, Mr Ben Okoli, who made this known in a telephone interview with newsmen on Wednesday, described the attack as a criminal act.
He said that the attack, which occurred around 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday was carried out despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s state visit to that country on October 3.
Okoli said, “There was an attack on Nigerian-owned businesses in Witbank Mpumalamga; this was not xenophobia attack but criminality masterminded by the taxi drivers under the guise of fighting crime.
“About five Nigerian-owned businesses were attacked, vandalised and burnt; the businesses included a big spare parts dealership, two restaurants, a grocery shop, and Nigerian foodstuff shop.
“NICASA leadership was informed and we intimated the Consul General of Nigerian High Commission immediately, who in turn contacted the relevant authorities and they swung into action to control the attack.’’
He said that the association and the Police in that province held a meeting and both organisations visited the affected shops, businesses and those admitted in the hospital over some injuries sustained.
According to him, the association demanded the protection of the lives of Nigerians in the province and elsewhere in the country.
He also urged Nigerians living there to be law-abiding and not to take the law into their hands, saying a follow-up meeting will be organised to promote mutual understanding between both nationals.
“The Nigerians attacked were not into any illegal dealing, but are into legitimate businesses and were not conducting themselves in any bad way.
“The attack was totally unprovoked and unwarranted; the taxi drivers took the law into their hands and acted on Nigerians,” the president added.