Posted by News Express | 18 April 2015 | 4,214 times
A Nigeria-based international rule-of-law and civil liberty organisation, The Due Process Advocates (DPA), has started mobilising for nation-wide boycott of South African businesses in Nigeria in protest of the o-going xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
DPA Founder and Principal Administrator, Ephraim Emeka Ugwuonye, Esquire, said in a message he circulated this morning from Lagos: “DPA MEMBERS IN NIGERIA SHOULD PREPARE FOR A CALL FOR A NATION-WIDE BOYCOTT ON SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESSES IN NIGERIA.”
Ugwuonye lamented that the attacks worsened over-night in defiance of global outrage. According to him, “Clearly, the South African Government is not doing enough to stop the mindless violence against the foreigners who are blacks in South Africa. All nations in Africa must now react in any manner they find fit to send a message to the South African Government, to get their leaders to understand that the dangerous situation is unacceptable.
“A call for boycott of South African business is now inevitable. It shall be a strong message to the incompetent and corrupt government of Jacob Zuma.”
Meanwhile, DPA late yesterday delivered a protest letter to the South African Government through M. S. Monaisa, Head of Mission at the South Africa High Commission in Lagos. The letter, signed by Ugwuonye, reads:
“On behalf of the Due Process Advocates (DPA), an international rule-of-law and civil liberty organization, with 28,000 members, I hereby address you on a matter of extreme and grave urgency occurring in South Africa. This refers particularly to the continued xenophobic and indiscriminate attacks on non-South African blacks in South Africa.
“Members of DPA are devastated as they hear the stories of these attacks and see pictures upon pictures of gruesome street violence meted out against other Africans who happened to be resident in or visiting South Africa. Equally troubling is the fact that we have not heard of adequate corresponding measures taken by the South African authorities to stem this violence and protect the lives and properties of the victims and those that fall within the groups that are the targets of the spate of mindless violence.
“In addition to my capacity as someone speaking for the members of DPA, I feel a significant degree of personal grief over these events and the sad light in which they have placed South Africa, particularly its leaders. You may wonder why I should feel personally aggrieved. But my personal relationship with South Africa and its leaders has been a compelling one. In the 80s, as a student of law in Nigeria, I, like most Nigerians of my generation, was impassioned against the tragic racial crisis that black South Africans faced under the Apartheid policies of the then supremacist regimes in South Africa. I personally traveled to the ANC office in Obalande, Lagos, to submit my name as a volunteer guerilla fighter with the “Umkhonto we Sizwe" to fight the South African Apartheid army. It was then the ANC Representative in Lagos, Mr. Victor Mantlo, who discouraged me by insisting that I could be more useful to the anti-apartheid movement alive and outside South Africa than to die fighting in the jungles of Southern Africa.
“Since then, South Africa had remained precious to my heart. In 1994, when Nelson Mandela became the President of South Africa, a South African classmate of mine at Harvard Law School, David Storey, and I organized a memorable party for Harvard Law Students just to celebrate the triumph of democracy and human dignity in South Africa. In 1996, as a faculty member at Harvard University, I had a unique opportunity to meet again the then Deputy President Thabo Mbeki and the then South African Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Son. I call it “meeting again” because as a teenager, I had met Mbeki in Lagos in the early 80s when he was the ANC Representative for West Africa and stationed in Nigeria. From that second encounter with Mr. Mbeki, I came to know many more South African leaders and professionals, too many to list by name here. Thus, the struggle of South Africa was our collective struggle. My heart bleeds today as I read stories of the same people we have viewed as brothers turning against their fellow brothers and massacring them so viciously and so senselessly.
“I went to the length I did in describing my mental and psychological connection with South Africa and its people in order to explain to you what it means for us in DPA to see the sad and unacceptable situation in South Africa today. It is thus natural and understandable that DPA will rise and oppose the violence, and demand as a matter of urgency that the Government of South Africa perform its constitutional duties of protecting the lives of all in South Africa and demonstrating a continued belief in the African unity, which is unfortunately the long-term casualty of these sad events in your country.
“We would like to further point out the fact that South Africa is a member of the Commonwealth and several UN Agencies, and signatory to several international treaties, including the United Nations Convention on Human Rights and the Treaty of Rome. South Africa must therefore live up to its international law obligations as regards protecting all people from mass violence, which is based on xenophobia, and racial and national-origin bigotry.
“As regards how the situation is viewed in Nigeria, most Nigerians find it totally unacceptable that South African businesses and nationals would be enjoying conducive and welcoming environment among their Nigerian hosts while Nigerians and Nigerian businesses in South Africa are hounded from pillar to post by marauding mobs lusting for blood. It will be irresponsible of the South African leaders if they fail to realize the implications of the situation on the continued relationship between Nigerians and South African communities within Nigeria, should this situation continue.
“While we, the members of DPA, do NOT support violence, particularly retaliatory violence, we must inform you of our intention, among other measures, to call for a nation-wide boycott of South African businesses in Nigeria, should the violence against non-South African blacks continue. If by Monday, April 20, 2015, there is no clear indication that these attacks have stopped and that South African Government is able and willing to protect the lives and properties of the black foreigners in your country, we shall call for a boycott of South African businesses. We further demand that the South African government prosecute all known supporters or sponsors of these attacks.
“It will please us to hear convincingly that adequate measures are being taken to end these attacks and to restore security and safety of all in South Africa in the next couple of days.
“Thank you in anticipation of your immediate and comprehensive response to our concerns, as expressed here.”
•Photo shows Ugwuonye.
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