Nigerians’ alleged response to potential South African xenophobic attacks are unacceptable

In general, alerts and/or supposedly news items circulating in Social Media have to be taken with a pitch of salt except if authenticated by bona fide media outlets. On the latter however, exception must be made when it comes to potential xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa, especially as they have proved accurate in the past. I would hope that law enforcing agencies in South Africa take them seriously by way of preventative moves and/or preemptive moves and contingency plans in the eventuality

On the issue of the potential xenophobic attacks in South Africa as currently circulating in Social Media, much as one may sympathise with foreigners and Nigeians in particular, the introduction of Boko Haram is sad and incomprehensible, given that they are a group that has terrorised fellow Nigerians in unprovoked attacks. To quote from one clip in Social Media: “We are very much aware of ongoing threats circulating in Social media that a group of local South Africans are planning another attack on foreign nationals. So as a group of people from different countries we have also started mobilising ourselves and ready for these people. We can,t just watch them killing us like flies. So this is our plan: We Nigerians has contacted our brothers back home who are in Dangerous Boko Harum group to help us. Weapons are starting to creep in as from next month“.

But who are Boko Haram? They are a fundamentalist Islamic group who maim, kill or kidnap fellow Nigerians for no other ‘crime’ than being Christians or even moderate Moslems. They have burnt Christian churches and indiscriminately killed innocent worshippers. Their most infamous act was abducting 200 school girls  from a school in Chibok in northeast Nigeria one night in April 2014 on the pretext that they do not believe in education for women. Some of the girls were subsequently killed or raped. The Nigerian government sought foreign assistance.

Against that backdrop, it is inconceivable that some Nigerians in South Africa are allegedly seeking help from such a group. The move is tantamount to giving the group legitimacy. Besides, given that Boko Haram is proscribed in Nigeria, this group of Nigerians should be sought by both South African and Nigerian law enforcing agencies and brought to book for either belonging to this proscribed group or being complicit to their activities back in Nigeria. While one would hope that this is only a maverick and unrepresentative group, it would be heartening and reassuring to hear dissenting voices from the mainstream Nigerian Community in South Africa, along with those in Nigeria itself, distancing themselves from the alleged association with Boko Haram. 

While xenophobic attacks by a group of South African should be condemned with the contempt they deserve, it is also true that two wrongs do not make a right.
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