Xenophobia: Nigeria Set To Commence Legal Action Against South Africa

•APC charges FG to severe economic, diplomatic ties

Romanus Ugwu and Godwin Tsa, Abuja

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The
Federal Government has begun plans to drag the South African government
to the African Court on Human and Peoples Right in Arusha, Tanzania.

The
legal option is to enforce the fundamental rights and freedoms of
Nigerians and other African nationals in South Africa affected by
anti-foreigner violence..

A highly placed source in the Federal
Ministry of Justice said the action is consequent upon the refusal of
the South African government to adopt diplomacy to resolve the killings,
and also to the fact that Nigeria is a party to the African Charter on
Human and Peoples’ Rights, having ratified the charter on June 22, 1983.

Besides,
the legal option, according to the source, is further predicated on
Nigeria’s ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human
and Peoples Rights on the establishment of an African Court on Human and
Peoples Rights, done on May 20, 2004

Specifically, the source
said: “Following repeated incidents of killings, maiming and destruction
of properties of Africans, especially Nigerians living in South Africa,
and since it appears diplomacy has failed to prevent the South Africans
from committing xenophobic attacks on foreigners, particularly
Nigerians, it behooves the Federal Government to exercise its duty under
international law to protect the rights of its citizens in diaspora.

“It
is an elementary principle of international law that a state is
entitled to protect its subjects, when injured by acts contrary to
international law committed by another state, from whom they have been
unable to obtain diplomatic action or international judicial proceedings
on his behalf, a state is in reality asserting its own rights, its
right to ensure, in the person of its subjects, respect for the rules of
international law.

“In a South African reported case, Kaunda v.
President of the Republic of South Africa, which lends credence to the
Nigeria’s position, the Constitutional Court of that country states
that: ‘There may … be a duty on government, consistent with its
obligations under international law, to take action to protect one of
its citizens against a gross abuse of international human right norms.

“A
request to government for assistance in such circumstances where the
evidence is clear would be difficult, and, in extreme cases, possibly
impossible to refuse. It is unlikely that such a request will ever be
refused by government, but, if it were, the decision will be justiciable
and the court will order the government to take appropriate actions.’

“Thus
even if Nigerian government is refusing to act in this circumstance,
Nigeria can be compelled to take action by the court. The decision of
the South African Constitutional Court is further corroborated by
Article 19 of the Draft Articles on Diplomatic Protection, which
provides that: ‘A state is entitled to exercise diplomatic protection
according to the present draft articles, give due consideration to the
possibility of exercising diplomatic protection, especially when a
significant injury has occurred; take into account, wherever feasible,
the views of injured persons with regard to resort to diplomatic
protection and the reparation to be sought; and transfer to the injured
person any compensation obtained for the injury.’

“Nigeria is
thus entitled to take action in this xenophobic attacks on her citizens
because South Africa has blatantly and with impunity failed to apply the
‘National Treatment’ principle, treatment equal to that given by South
Africa to its own nationals to foreigners within its territory and
consistently encouraged gross violation of the fundamental rights and
freedoms of Nigerian citizens living in that country.”

Continuing,
he told Daily Sun that, when a state disregards the application of
either, the “international minimum standards” or the “national
treatment” principles by resorting to killings, indiscriminately
arresting and violating the fundamental rights and freedoms of foreign
nationals in its territory, it is a clear violation of Article 55 (c) of
the United Nations Charter and other International Human Rights.”

When
Daily Sun sought the reaction of the Attorney-General of the Federation
and Minster of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on the issue, he
declined comments.

Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has charged the Buhari government to be ruthtless in handling the attacks.

Addressing
newsmen n Abuja, APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, asked the
Federal Government to severe all economic relationships with South
Africa.

While demanding the avoidance of South African business interests, he urged Nigerians to drop their MTN SIM cards.

He
also advised government to revoke agreements over the ownership of
Shoprite, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Standard Chattered Bank, among others.

“South
African companies are making billions of dollars from the Nigerian
economy year-in-year-out, and repatriate same out of Nigeria…in order to
send a very strong message to South African authorities and South
African people, urge Nigerian government to take steps to take over the
remaining shares of MTN that are owned by South Africans so that MTN
becomes fully Nigerian-owned.”

Source:- Sunnewsonline

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