Lagos activist lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has said that the actions and inactions of the governments of Nigeria and South Africa have encouraged the xenophobic attacks and killings of Nigerian immigrants in South Africa.
Falana had in a statement reacting to the killing of Mr Chibuzo Nwankwo, said his death has brought to 121 the number of Nigerians killed in South Africa in questionable circumstances in the past 18 months.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria accused the South African government of not only deliberately refusing to put measures in place to prevent the xenophobic attacks and killings of the immigrants by her citizens, but purposely embolden the murderers since none of them involved in the barbaric acts have so far been prosecuted.
‘’On its own part, the government of Nigeria has not gone beyond the regular condemnation of the brutal killings.
‘’Up till now the government has not deemed it fit to take bold diplomatic measures to guarantee the security of the life and property of every Nigerian citizen living in South Africa.
‘’The federal government has not even assisted the victims of xenophobic attacks and relatives of those who have been hacked to death to demand for the payment of aggravated damages and prosecution of the culprits who are well known to the police authorities in South Africa.
‘’It is curious to note that in spite of the leadership roles of both Nigeria and South Africa in the African continent the governments of both countries have deliberately refused to accept the jurisdictional competence of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights by making a Declaration in line with article 34 (6) of the Protocol for the Establishment of the Court.
‘’Thus, by refusing to make the declaration both countries have made it impossible for their nationals whose human rights have been violated by state actors to seek legal redress in the African Court on Human and People’s Rights sitting in Arusha, Tanzania.
‘’In order to stop the reckless killing of Nigerians in South Africa the federal government should pressurise the Ramphosa administration to bring all culprits to book forthwith and compensate the bereaved families of Nigerians that have been killed in South Africa due to official negligence impunity on the part of the government.
‘’Finally, there should be a firm commitment on the part of the government of South Africa to protect the life of every African immigrant in strict compliance with article 4 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.
“Even though the government of South Africa has not been directly implicated in the killings, its refusal to prosecute the suspected murderers has emboldened the criminal elements that have specialised in the killing of unarmed African immigrants. To that extent, the South African government is liable to bear full responsibility for the mindless killings”, Falana stated.
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