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Ending the Killing of Nigerians in South Africa

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By Rabi’u Sani Ali  

The frequent killing of Nigerians in South Africa over the years has attracted concerns among Nigerians globally, with its nationals seeking an end to the causal slaying of their compatriots.

Their concerns stem from the fact that relationship between Nigeria and South Africa, both African economic giants since independence era, has always been cordial and mutually beneficial, raising posers as to why slaying of Nigerians should be so casually carried out in the former apartheid enclave.

Nigerians have particularly noted that their nation was a foremost supporter of anti-apartheid movements, fighting the evil consistently until it was eliminated.

Aside contributing immensely towards the emancipation of South Africa from the grip of apartheid, Nigeria’s civil servants also paid “Mandela Tax” to support the Africa National Congress in fighting apartheid.

The worry also hinged not just on why it is taking too long to end the recurrent killings of foreign nationals in South Africa, but also that without precaution to address killings and looting of properties in the country, there could be collateral damage there.

The recent killing of Mr Olusola Solarin, on Dec. 12, 2021 and Mr Kingsley Ezeh, on Jan. 6, 2022, both of them Nigerians resident in South Africa, has further thrown Nigerians into shock.

Their worries are based on the fact that in spite of the historic role Nigeria played in the liberation struggle of South Africans during the apartheid regime, many Nigerians have died there a result of recurring killings.

Although there is no recent data update on the total number of Nigerians living in South Africa currently, it was estimated by Statistic South Africa’s 2016 Community Survey that 30,314 people, or roughly two per cent of foreigners born in South Africa are from Nigeria.

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More so, data reveal that 127 Nigerians have so far been killed in the last three years, while 13 out of these were reportedly killed by South African police.

Solarin was reported to have met his death while returning to his base after supplying commercial goods to his customers outside Johannesburg. He was reportedly waylaid and killed when he refused to surrender his earnings to his assailants.

While Nigerians were mourning the passing of Solarin, who has since been buried at Makun community in Sagamu, near Abeokuta in Ogun, and concerned about the rising death toll of compatriots put at over 127 since 2019, Nigerian Citizens Association South Africa (NICASA) was thrown into shock over the killing of Ezeh, a native of Oduma, Aninri Local Government of Enugu State, allegedly by South African Police, on Jan. 6.

For most observers, this is particularly nauseating because the killings are occurring after South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, sent a special envoy, Jeff Radebe, in September, 2019 to apologise to President Muhammadu Buhari, over the xenophobic attacks on foreigners, on grounds that such killings do not represent South Africa’s value system.

Earlier, Ramaphosa had, in condemning the violence, stressed that measures were being taken to ensure that the violence did not continue, as South Africa suffered international backlash for the xenophobic attacks.

The search for an end to these killings have become important amidst several warnings and negotiations by officials of both countries aimed at stopping the killings.

Analysts have observed that other nationals living in, and working in South Africa have suffered similar fate, but pointed out that Nigeria appears to be worst hit and reiterated the need for an end to the killing of their compatriots in South Africa.

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In this vein, analysts have underscored the need for urgent steps aimed at ending such extrajudicial killings to safeguard the lives and property of Nigerians in South Africa.

Mr Benjamin Okoli, President General of NICASA, said that the passing of Ezeh was circumstantial, like others, in the hands of members of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD).

Okoli explained that the passing of Ezeh was a “systemic xenophobic way” of killing Nigerian nationals by the members of the South African Police.

According to him, if Ezeh was a criminal, the Police should have arrested and prosecuted him, noting that his demise among others was a situation whereby, Nigerians were arbitrarily killed without justification.

“Members of the JMPD invaded the Tyre shop owned by Ezeh in the late evening of Jan. 4, where he was allegedly manhandled in the course of extracting information from him,” Okoli alleged.

“What led to the death of Ezeh on Jan. 4, remains a mystery which will be unraveled by Police investigation,” he added.

Also, Mr Danielson Akpan, former President of the National Association of Nigerian Students, stressed the need for the South African government to take proactive steps, to end the killings in the country.

According to him, Nigerian students will not sit idly and watch the dastardly acts of violence continue.

“We have seen the helplessness of the South African government in reigning on South African citizens and wish to condemn, in unambiguous terms, continues pampering of those involved.

“Every nation has her own internal crisis; no citizen of other nations should be sacrificed for criminal activities of South Africans or any other,” Akpan said Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman/CEO of Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), has stressed the need for thorough investigation into the killings of Nigerians in the country and to bring the perpetrators to book.

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According to her, the incessant and unjustifiable killing of Nigerians in South Africa will no longer be tolerated, as Nigerians are already running out of patience with the increasing scourge.

Dabiri-Erewa said, “We are reaching a tipping point where one more death of a Nigerian in South Africa will be unbearable to Nigerians.

“Nigerians are all angry that anymore killing of any Nigerian in South Africa will not be tolerated.”

She, however, assured that high-level diplomatic efforts between the Nigerian government and the government of South Africa were ongoing to resolve the matter, saying, “We can still make diplomacy work.”

In line with this, Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s Minister in Charge of International Relations, has  urged African leaders to take collective responsibility toward tackling xenophobic attacks.

Pandor said this while addressing diaspora civil society organisations in Pretoria, adding that she would also meet communities where violence flared to understand their concerns.

“The condition of our continent must change, and we must send a clear message to our leaders that we expect this change not just in South Africa, but in all the countries on the African continent,” Pandor said.

Like Pandor, analysts agree that the killing of Nigerians in South Africa could be stopped through diplomatic response and prosecution of those responsible for attacks on foreign nationals in that country.

They particularly noted that the recurring attacks and killings of Nigerians in South Africa were a violation of their fundamental right to life, pointing out that the situation was capable of jeopardizing the mutual relations between both nations.

Rabi’u Sani Ali is of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

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Vote Buying and Sanctity of Nigeria’s Leadership Recruitment Process

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By Femi Ogunshola

Vote buying is not a new lexicon in Nigeria electoral system. Desperate politicians allegedly deployed it to rig their way to victory and subvert the will of the people. As one Yoruba saying goes: “édíbó ésébé”, meaning `vote and cook good soup`.

The last primaries held by the leading political parties to choose their presidential flag bearers were allegedly characterised by vote buying.

“The way the buying is usually done, as we have observed, is that the voters will show the agents their vote for confirmation.

“They’ll pick a paper, and go to a preconceived location to get paid”, said Azuka Ogugua, Independent Corruption Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) spokesperson.

Ogugua said ICPC would partner Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the challenge was addressed.

She told a media event organised by Premium Times ahead of the Osun governorship election that collaboration among security agencies was key to tackling the problem.

The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture has been waging a campaign against vote buying.

“Any voter whose choice of candidates in election is influenced by money, who eventually vote fraudulent people or mediocre into political offices, has ultimately sold out his or her future and that of his or her children.

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“Nigerians should realize that vote buying is detrimental to the development of the country and do away with it”, the ministry said a publication on its verified website.

Similarly, Prof.  Attahiru Jega, the former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has also thrown his weight behind the campaign against vote buying.

“Nigeria political parties need to reorganise themselves and their primary responsibility, not only in promoting their interest, but also mobilising the citizens around national interests.

“Until and unless political parties begin to do that, we will continue to have very weak, if not epileptic democratic development and the will and aspirations of the people will not be satisfied.

With their money very bad and reckless politicians will capture the parties, capture the states, while we do nothing; that is not in the interest of this country”, he said.

Alhaji Yabagi Sani, the National Chairman, Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) urged politicians to stop using money to influence the rights of the people to choose their leaders.

Sani spoke at the Nigeria Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NPSS) during a forum for political parties on “Political Parties, Elections and the Consolidation of Democracy: Emerging Issues and the Needed Interventions in Nigeria.”

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He also said that elections should not be characterised by rancour, noting that the conduct of free and fair elections in Africa has always been a very hard nut to crack.

“The power to choose is the fundamental rights of the people. The reason for electoral violence varies. It can be used to limit number of voters, to undermine the abilities of the opponents or to vandalize votes.

The European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and the ECOWAS, Samuela Isopi who also spoke at the event said there is a lot to be done to address the anomalies that have bedevil Nigeria election such vote buying and other forms of rigging.

The Director-General of NIPSS, Prof. Ayo Omotayo called for sustained efforts in ensuring credible elections in Nigeria.

Political parties according to him must desist from creating political violence and canvass for votes fairly, stressing the imperative of raising the standards of elections in the country.

Meanwhile, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman said the commission would continue to work towards reducing vote buying and other forms of electoral fraud to the barest minimum.

“The latest method employed in vote buying is alarming. Each time INEC takes steps to curb these electoral crisis politicians device more steps to subvert INEC’s efforts”, he said.

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He said such unpatriotic practice erodes the integrity and sanctity of the elections.

Yakubu assured that as the nation’s electoral laws continues to evolve the challenges associated with conducting free and fair elections would be fixed one after another.

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Kelvin Peter: Promoting Nigeria’s Commerce, Politics, Culture in the Prague

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By Chris Alu

An Ambassador is someone who is nominated to build a friendly relationship with another country in the areas of commerce, politics, culture and education among other things between his country of origin and another country.

Both countries build their diplomatic ties in other to have mutual benefits with one another.

As well as strengthen their foreign policies and mission with a common goal of working together as one.

These and many more are what the Nigerian Ambassador to Czech Republic, His Excellency, Kelvin Peter is doing in the Prague, Czech Republic for his fatherland, Nigeria.

Apart from building stronger and diplomatic ties with Nigeria and Czech Republic, Kelvin Peter has performed  excellently well to the admiration of all Nigerian living in the Prague and his home country Nigeria.

On his nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate as Ambassador to Czech Republic, Kelvin Peter swung into action by presenting his letter of credence to the President of the Czech Republic Melos Zeman where he clearly stated President Buhari’s position on the need to build and promote strong bilateral relationship between the two countries and also promote peaceful coexistence as well as create economic, political, agricultural, commence and cultural ties between Czech Republic and Nigeria.

He also stressed the. Need of cordial relationship on mutual benefits in the areas of information technology development, foreign policies to both countries.

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Ambassador who stated this in a grand ceremony organised in his honour also stressed the need for unity and peaceful coexistence between countries.

He urged the gathering to strengthen their diplomatic ties in order to assist one another in a good and workable relationship.

In the same vein, Ambassador Peter also admonished Nigerian living in the Prague to abide by the laws and regulations in the Czech Republic as well as being patriotic devoid of trouble in order to promote Nigeria as a country.

The Nigerian Ambassador to Czech further delves into   meaningful and international discussions with stake holders on the need to strengthen diplomatic ties among European countries.

This was achieved by taken out time to meet with Nigerians in the Prague ,goverment officials on diplomatic mission and foreign diplomat including officials of the host countries , all of this was for him to create an enabling environment that will enhance a good and workable relationship of mutual benefits to both countries.

Ambassador Peter, also entered into a bilateral agreement on technological transfer to Nigerians.

He also foster and strengthen agricultural transfer hen he hosted Nigerian agricultural expert who weer on a three month course on modern mechanised system of farming in Czech Republic.

Kelvin Peter also hosted the honourable members House of Representatives committee on foreign affairs, who were on oversight function to foreign mission.

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The committee was headed by its chairman Hon. Yusuf Buba.

Their mission was to review the activities of Nigerian missions abroad and their performances, where he gave them all the assistance they need all in a bid to make the mission work effective.

Ambassador Kelvin also promotes the talents of creative Nigerian in the Czech and have assisted Nigerian in the Czech in several ways including humanitarian assistance both home and abroad.

Ambassador Kelvin Peter is a role model who is described as a philantropist, a positive and creative man who is living a life humanitarian to the poor and the less privilege persons living with disability.

He is a man of innovative and entrepreneur who many are looking onto as a good leader, his footprints are already writing in gold for posterity sake.

A nationalist with strong patriotic antecedents, astute politician and experienced financial expert, Peter, a Fali by tribe, hails from Mubi North Local Government Area of Adamawa State.

His choice as an Ambassadorial Nominee from Adamawa State has been applauded by people across ethnic divides, religious lines and party affiliation.

Kevin Peter’s choice has been greeted with ovation across the state signaling that the Secretary to the federal Government, Barrister Boss Gida Mustapha and President Muhammadu Buhari has made a brilliant choice.

Hon. Peter is a man with a large heart, a detrabalised Nigerian who is practically putting into use what he has learnt in an area of his passion from several seminars both in Nigeria and outside the country, the Christian/Muslim relations.

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Hon. Kevin Peter’s personality has endeared him to many People across the country, his simplicity has seen him relate with both the high and the lowly without discrimination. A trait that made him a people’s person, a political asset, a voice in his community and an enigma.

Hon. Kevin Peter holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration (MPA) after been certified as a Senior Financial Manager in 1995.

Peter was also conferred with an Honourary Doctorate Degree (PhD) Public Administration by All Saints University of America (ASUA) in 2010.

In his sojourn as a politician Hon. Kevin Peter was first elected as Chairman Mubi-North Local Government Area in 1999, re-elected Chairman Mubi-North Local Government in 2009. He is also the Adamawa North APC Zonal Chairman, a position he holds from 2018 till date.

He has served his state of Adamawa and the nation meritoriously in various capacities, including Chairman, screening committee, National Assembly Party Screening Committee for Ogun State in 2006; member, Adamawa State Presidential Initiative Distribution Committee in 2014; –Administrator, Mubi-North Development Area in 2007; Special Adviser on Border Integration, Adamawa State Government in 2012; Mubi-North Local Government Coordinator, for the federal Government program, SURE-P in 2013; Director General, Governorship Campaign, Adamawa State in 2014 and Special Adviser on Special Duties, Adamawa State Government in 2017.

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Gov Adeleke Lands with Fury

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By Eddy Odivwri

Governor Ademola Adeleke kicked off his governance last Monday in a windy start. It looked like the wind that blew across the state had been whirling all along, but just being held down. But by Monday, with all the restraints cut off, the wind blew forth with fury, scattering many things including even the roofs of royal palaces.

  

Gov Adeleke was sworn-in last Sunday. Not quite 24 hours after, he had released six Executive Orders. The Executive Orders had frozen all the bank accounts of the state, changed the name of the state, dethroned three monarchs in the state, sacked 12,000 workers in the state, including the Chairman of the State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC), Mr Segun Oladitan and the other members of the electoral body, etc.

 It was indeed a tumultuous start.

Nearly a week before he was sworn in, he had warned about thirty civil servants who were just being appointed as Permanent Secretaries by the (outgone) Oyetola administration not to accept such appointments, threatening to not only reverse such appointments, but to also sack those who fail to reject such appointments.

Gov Oyetola appears bent on reversing everything his predecessor did after July 17, 2022.

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The election that brought Adeleke to office was held July 16, 2022. He was declared winner on July 17.

By drawing a line on July 17, in undoing everything Oyetola did, would suggest that the former governor did not have the right or powers to appoint persons or take any other action as a sitting governor. Perhaps Gov Adeleke should be reminded that between the date of the election and the date of the swearing in, former Governor Oyetola had almost five months to govern the state.

Adeleke cannot, in the eye of the law, undo and rubbish everything Oyetola did, legally as a sitting governor, just because a new person had been voted for, but has not assumed office.

Many people have reacted sharply to the first set of actions of the governor, who seems to have come to office with some pressing quest for vengeance and redress.

Already, the state’s lawmakers who are predominantly members of the rival political party—the All Progressives Congress (APC), are kicking against the reversal of the name of the state from the State of Osun to Osun State. The lawmakers have argued that the flipping of the name of the state, including the adoption of its own flag, anthem, emblem, crest, appellation, etc., by the administration of former governor, Rauf Aregbesola, went through proper legislative process and order as evidenced in Schedules I,II,III and IV of the resolutions of the State House of Assembly on December 18, 2012 and that Gov Adeleke cannot just, by the whimsical fiat of an Executive Order, reverse it without a recourse to the state’s House of Assembly which gazetted the name in 2012, under the Aregbesola administration.

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What’s more, the rumble caused in the royal community is yet to settle. He also sacked Akirun of Ikirun, (Oba Yinusa Akadiri), Aare of Iree (Oba Ademola Oluponle) and Iwa of Igbajo (Oba Gboyega Famodun) and order the security agencies to “take charge” of the various palaces, even as the royal houses in the various kingdoms have insisted that the appointments of those royal fathers went through the normal procedure as required by law and tradition.

Many believe the governor had started on a wrong note. He barely could contain his vengeful quest. Rather than outlay his plans to rebuild the state and grow it and work towards unifying the fractious divisions caused by the election, he appears poised to muscle out every and anything that has the semblance of the opposition party.

The shenanigans of State of Osun or Osun State, own flag, own anthem, crest and all such administrative warts are not quite what the ordinary man in Osun State is bothered about. Osun State is one of the poorest in the country. Efforts must be made to grow the latent potential of the state beyond the inanities of nomenclature and undue hard-headedness.

Gov Adeleke beyond wanting to establish the partisan dichotomy in the state should be concerned with the overall well being of the state and its people. Sacking 12,000 workers in one fell swoop would have telling implications on the state of security and crime level in the state. He must rise above the frailty of politics or getting swarmed if not misled by the flaming desire of the PDP to either literally draw blood or catch up all they had “lost” in the past.

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At the end of the day, it is Gov Adeleke’s legacy that will be measured and assessed.

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