THE xenophobic attack on foreign nationals in South Africa has dealt a huge blow to African unity. It has ignited diplomatic row between Nigeria and South Africa. Many Africans have left the country with tears, sorrows and trauma.
Thousands of them fled the country leaving their businesses in frantic bid to avoid being trapped in the escalating violence and rage of the misguided South African youths. Many who run big and small-scale businesses had their ventures either looted, scattered or burnt to ashes.
Their living abodes were equally destroyed by the rampaging South African mobs who naively believe that Nigerians in particular, by their business acumen and conscientious pursuit of economic activities to earn a decent living, have constituted great obstacles to their livelihood and existential struggles to live like their erstwhile apartheid masters. In other words, these uncultured youths wrongly believed that the good lives they are meant to live have been taken over by other Africans, especially, Nigerians.
THE expression of congenital jealousy is an outcome of long-bottled-up reservation which had been nursed since a long time. In 2008 expression of violence was unleashed on Nigerians in South Africa leading to the death of many and scores inflicted with degrees of injuries.
The world was enraged and had expected that the government of South Africa would never allow such quixotic and uncultured conduct to repeat itself. But little occurred to the foreign nationals living in South Africa that more vicious plans were being incubated as years rolled by, even as it was later learnt that influential citizens and notable politicians were covertly instigating the uncouth youths towards the xenophobic attacks to frustrate the foreign nationals to the extent that they would see vacating the country as the only option.
The execution of this year’s xenophobic attack in the “Rainbow Republic” is reported as the worst in the history of the country. Its primitive gambits adversely affected most Nigerians. The magnitude of the violence and its extreme barbarism has led hundreds of Nigerians to seek relocation to their home land. .
HAVING been thoroughly exasperated and frustrated going by the magnitude of the destruction of their houses and business , the thought of going back alive to their country became almost impossible. While the federal government was planing what to do to ameliorate the agonising condition and perilous situation of Nigerians there,
even as it was enmeshed with diplomatic tangles with South Africa, recalling her High Commission and asking the South African counterpart to go, air-line magnate, Chief Allen Onyema came on board to salvage the situation. In a swift action akin to rescuing people from an inferno, he mobilised his Boeing 777 aircraft to move into South Africa to evacuate the anguished Nigerians seeking to go back to their country.
THIS very rare and noble gesture of Onyema threw Nigerians whose relations were in agony there into joy. According to the airline magnet, he expended over N200m in airline logistics to ensure that willing Nigerians were evacuated from the hostile enclave.
THERE may not be enough space to dig into the past to relate the great sacrifice which Nigeria has made to extricate South Africans from the thralldom of apartheid regime. But for the massive financial investment in the execution of the campaign to end the white racist regime which rendered South Africans slaves in their father land, they would have been in the slave-yoke of the white minority supremacist rulers.
CREDIBLE sources had confirmed that the government of South Africa was not keen to stem the tide of xenophobic attack which has been going on intermittently for decades. Recent conduct of the South African Government did not exonerate them from being accessory to the barbaric indulgences and vicious exploits of the youths who believe that by driving the foreign nationals, especially Nigerians, they would be wallowing in opulence and all the good things of life.
THUS the significance of the rare and outstanding gesture of the management of Air Peace lies in the fact that many Nigerian’s lives would have been lost due to the appalling conditions they were quartered as they flee from the hostile hordes. That indeed is a true definition of humanitarian service.
NATIONAL Light believes that the federal government should not wash her hands from taking the responsibility of evacuating the stranded Nigerians from South Africa. Onyema has bridged the gap of the agony of Nigerians who were running helter-skelter for their lives.
He has saved them from the mobs who were thirsty for their bloods. In as much as we believe that Onyema did not do this for any personal gain or to curry favour from either the federal government or Nigerians, we suggest that the federal government should honour him for protecting the nation’s pride and saving Nigeria from great shame.
ONYEMA and his airline have pointed out the way big and not so big businesses should follow to help wean off the young generation of Nigerians from their country. Mr Onyema’s act shows that there are big people who still care.
NATIONAL Light showers encomium to Onyema and his staff who have laboured to bring the stranded Nigerians back to their homeland. The federal and state governments should map out programmes to resettle the people to lessen their traumatic experience in that hostile sister country.