Nigerian citizens resident in South Africa have called on the Nigerian government to do more to enhance the well-being and security of its citizens at home and in the Diaspora.
The Convener and participants in a peaceful march to the Nigeria High Commission in Pretoria on Wednesday, on the platform of the ‘Nigerian Lives Matter (NLM) Movement’, expressed concern that it has “become gravely difficult for Nigerians to live and dwell in safety and secure their lives and property” both in Nigeria and in South Africa.
They urged the government, in a memorandum addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, and presented to the Nigerian High Commissioner, Ambassador Kabiru Bala, to address the fall in major indicators of economic growth and development, strengthen democratic institutions and adhere to the rule of law to ensure continued good governance in Nigeria.
“We know that no country can work effectively without functional and democratic institutions. The doctrine of separation of powers should be entrenched in the Nigerian system,” the memorandum stated.
It further implored the government for more concerted efforts to stop the harassment and killing of Nigerians, particularly by law enforcement agents in South Africa, as well as the contract killing by fellow Nigerians of their brothers and sisters in the country.
The Movement decried the inherent imbalance in business relations between Nigeria and South Africa.
“Another obvious fact is that Nigeria is one of South Africa’s biggest markets for companies such as MTN, SHOPRITE, MR PRICE and a host of others. These companies operate in Nigeria freely; the same cannot be said of businesses in South Africa. Nigerian businesses face random swoop attacks from the Police; it is time to change this position of things,” it declared.
Free and fair elections
It also placed a demand on the Nigerian government to ensure that the forthcoming elections are free and fair, and fast track efforts to make it possible for Nigerians in the Diaspora to vote in subsequent elections.
The Founder of the Movement, Prince Adebowale Adesina, told NewsPlus in an exclusive interview that Nigerian professionals in South Africa would be very willing to return home if the environment was conducive for them to operate.
“We have a formation here in South Africa – the Guild of Nigerian Professionals. We are practically trying to see how we’re going to assist the government. Just recently, I did some training for some security experts from Nigeria. When we finished, they were so impressed that they said, ‘Brother, you have to come back home’. And I learned the skills here in South Africa. When the country is not conducive for good things to take place, definitely you will run away, otherwise you will not be able to do the right thing”, Adesina stressed.
Listen to the full interview here:
The Convener of the March, Dr Anne Ijeoma, reiterated the need for Nigerians in the Diaspora to work with the government to make Nigeria better.
“Coming home and sitting down there, sometimes, may not even put us in the right position, but many times, your intellectual contribution even outweighs your physical contribution….If they listened, they would actually find that we are trying to contribute our quota in the little way that we can with our voices and intellectual suggestions that we give from the Diaspora,” she said.
Dr Ijeoma commended Ambassador Bala for the cordial way he received members of the Movement with the assurance that he would convey their concerns to the Nigerian government.
Listen to Dr Anne Ijeoma’s interview here: