The Former Minister of External Affairs and Director General of Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi has said Nigerian shopkeepers are usually targets of attacks by rioters and looters each time there is crisis in South Africa.
Prof. Akinyemi stated this while commenting on the current crisis in South Africa during an online interview session covered by Prime Business Africa.
The crisis currently rocking various parts of South Africa started as a protest by supporters of the former President, Jacob Zuma who has been sentenced to 15-month imprisonment over contempt of court charge.
The protest drifted into anarchy as hoodlums seized the opportunity to loot and burn shops belonging to both local and foreign nationals, carting away valuables in various parts of the country.
Prof. Akinyemi noted that white people are also involved in the looting, revealing that he has some videos showing white people participating in the looting. He accused Western media of being silent on that, but instead portraying blacks as the only looters in the crisis.
While highlighting the underlying factors predisposing the people to embark on the protest, the retired diplomat advised that the South African government need to address the issue of economic empowerment, especially for the blacks, as according to him, the current incident is close to mini revolution, a reflection of poverty, economic inequality, frustration and feeling of alienation of the citizens by the political and economic leaders of the country.
He also advised that South African government should not bow to pressure by the protesters to release Zuma because that would send a wrong signal to the world about their constitutional democracy and justice system, that there are people who are above the law.
According to media reports few days ago, business outlets owned by Nigerians are among the places burnt and looted by rampaging South Africans.
The President, Nigeria Union in South Africa (NUSA), Adetola Olubajo, who confirmed that about five business outlets belonging to Nigerians were looted and burnt, appealed for calm and self restraint by the Nigerians in South Africa.
“NUSA appeals to Nigerians to remain calm and law-abiding but be very vigilant. Our national secretariat has already issued safety tips to Nigerians, we will continue to give such useful information to our people,” Olubajo stated in a release on Monday.
The government has consequently deployed security operatives to quell the crisis and restore law and order. Sadly, about 72 people are reported to have died as a result of the violence.
A police source reportedly said some of the victims of the crisis were as a result of stampede during the looting and burning of properties in different parts of the country.