Senator Mao Ohuabunwa has strongly condemned the rising wave of xenophobic attacks by South Africans against foreigners in their country, saying Nigerians did not deserve the ill treatment from South Africans.
The former Speaker, ECOWAS Parliament, and also former senator representing Abia North at the Senate, spoke in Umuahia on Sunday.
He also tasked the Federal Government to take the necessary diplomatic steps to bring the ugly development to an end.
The former federal lawmaker said the barbaric act amounted to paying Nigerians with the wrong coin in view of their uncommon sacrifices and messianic role against apartheid era in South Africa.
Ohuabunwa wondered why South Africans should target their follow Africans living in their country for no just cause.
He said Nigeria helped South Africa in their struggle against apartheid and “does not in any way deserve the type of inhumane treatment to her citizens living and doing their legitimate business in South Africa.
“This is tantamount to challenging your neighbour to a race after he helped to remove the thorn in your foot,” he said.
“Why is South Africa rewarding our benevolence with snake and scorpion bites? He queried.
Ohuabunwa recalled that from 1966, Nigeria gave material and financial support to the freedom fighters in South Africa which helped in ending apartheid.
According to him, Nigeria refused to sell oil to South Africa in protest against the white minority rule, thereby losing approximately $41 billion in the process.
“This was our oil boom moment then,” he said, adding that “Nigeria also provided $5 million to the ANC and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) annually.”
He further recalled that in 1976, Nigeria had set up the Southern Africa Relief Fund (SAFR) for the purpose of bringing relief materials mto the victims of the apartheid.
“I remember that Nigerian students skipped their lunch to make donations to aid South Africa against apartheid, and by June 1977, the total contribution to the fund had reached $10.5 million. “