The Diocese of Lagos, (Anglican Communion) has condemned in totality the ugly trend of xenophobic attacks of Nigerians and other African nationals by South Africans which reached its peak recently and has since sparked pockets of violent reprisals from citizens of victim-countries, especially Nigeria.
Reaching out through a signed release signed by Rt Rev Dr Humphrey Olumakaiye. Diocesan Bishop & Missioner, Lagos Diocese (Anglican Communion) and made available to the media, the Church expressed its utter condemnation of the gruesome killings and other most inhumane treatment, of scores of Nigerian citizens who had been sojourning in the former Pretoria colony-country in the struggle for economic survival.
The oldest Diocese in Nigeria which is currently in the celebrative mood of commemorating its centenary existence in the country, has admonished the government of the rather stranger-intolerant nation of South Africa to wake up to its duty and do the needful concerning the safety of all residents therein, even as the Church reminded the country of the immense sacrificial roles played by Nigeria to help South Africa out of its dark days of brutal apartheid of the Pretoria regime.
The Diocese also encouraged the Nigerian government to carefully deploy all necessary diplomatic machinery in dealing with situation even as the Church cautions that Nigeria should not settle for any negotiation that will not secure a commitment by South Africa to a lasting solution to the issue.
The release reads: “As a church, we are saddened by the inhumane treatment of Nigerians and other nationals in South Africa and utterly condemn xenophobia in all its appearances, whether tacitly or full blown.
“We also want to advise the Government of South Africa not to sweep this issue under the rug, considering (that) we are all human, created in God’s Image.
“It should be recalled that Nigeria as a nation, through her government and beautiful people, was very accommodating to the South African nation during the ugly episode of apartheid, and so does not deserve to be paid back with this inhumane treatment of her (Nigerian) citizens in South Africa.
“We want to encourage the Nigerian government to explore every diplomatic avenue to put an end to this dark episode, threatening to rip the fabric of friendship between these two top African nations. The Nigerian Government should not, however, go into negotiations without demanding lasting solution. “Everything necessary should be done to bring to justice those who partook in the attacks and adequate compensation should be sort for the victims and their families.
“It is also important to note that the response of some Nigerian youths to the news of the xenophobic attacks, here in Nigeria, is an indication of an impending catastrophe, if not immediately addressed. While under no guise would we consider the actions of these youths acceptable, we see it as a symptom to what we have been talking about for a while now.
“There is immense poverty in the land. The resort t to looting and vandalism was not borne out of accurate information but a case of ‘an idle hand is the devil’s workshop’.
“This cannot be allowed to continue. And the only productive way to address it, is to engage the younger Nigerians meaningfully. We advise the Government at all levels to sit right and address the hunger in the land. The Youths are bottled up”
“We advise those at the helms of affairs of our nation not to play politics with these grave issues but rise to the challenge, seeing this as a clarion call to make a Nation that we will all be proud to hand over to the coming generation”.