Group begs Nigerians to shun reprisal attack on South African businesses

By Mary Okoh

The South East Amalgamated Markets Traders Association (SEAMATA), an umbrella body of all traders in South East Nigeria, has enjoined Nigerians to shun reprisal attack on South African
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by SEAMATA’s President-General, Chief Gozie Akudolu, and its Secretary-General, Mr Alex Okwudili,
in Enugu on Wednesday.
SEAMATA after its emergency general meeting Condemned the the xenophobic attack on Nigerian citizens in South
It stated: “The association is passionately appealing to traders and all Nigerians to resist this provocation and strong urge to engage in reprisal attack on South Africans and their businesses anywhere in the country.
``For not engaging in reprisal attack, we shall not only be showing our maturity to the world but will be protecting the jobs of our teeming brothers and sisters that are employed by these South African
business concerns.’’
The group however lamented that the citizens of Nigeria that sacrificed so much in human, material and financial resources to bring down the Apartheid regime in South Africa, could be ``rewarded’’ with the unimaginable treatment.
It said, “That the South African security agents should watch their citizens kill and maim Nigerians, loot and burn down their shops and other businesses is unimaginable.
``That the South African security agents themselves indulge also in the actual killing of innocent Nigerians, the country that sacrificed so much in liberating and giving them the freedom they are enjoying
today is not only embarrassing but a public exhibition of wickedness.
``It is most painful that South African citizens should display their short memory and knowledge of history so soon,’’ it said.
The group also called for immediate and proper documentation of all Nigerian citizens killed in South Africa, all the shops and businesses and the value of goods looted, vandalized or set ablaze till date.

``The government of South Africa shall as a matter of urgency do enumeration and documentation for the South Africa's proper and immediate compensation of these innocent Nigerians and their families.
``The government of South Africa should as a matter of state policy, provide with immediate effect, adequate security for Nigeria's citizens in South Africa the way Nigerian government is protecting South African citizens and businesses here in Nigeria.
``SEAMATA wishes to remind the government and people of South Africa that no one stock of people or nation has the monopoly of violence, more so when they have giant business concerns even in our country.
``We therefore warn very seriously that enough is enough,’’ it said.
The association further lamented that over 80 per cent of the victims of the unfortunate and avoidable attacks were members of the association that relocated their businesses to South Africa for greener pastures.

The group therefore appealed to the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency,
take on the government of South Africa to stop giving only lip service to the security of lives and property of Nigerians in South Africa.

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