Xenophobic Attacks: Catholic Archbishop Of Lagos Speaks


Archbishop Martins Condemns Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa


Says it is an attack on African brotherhood and the ideals of
Pan-Africanism! “This is not what Nelson Mandela labored for”.
Admonishes Nigerian youths to shun reprisal attacks.

The Catholic
Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins has condemned
in very strong terms the continuous attacks on Nigerians in particular
and other Africans in South Africa, describing such attacks as barbaric,
reprehensible and an attack on the very core of African brotherhood.

to the recent onslaught on Nigerians by some South African nationals
which led to the loss of lives of Nigerians and nationals of other
African countries as well as the vandalization and looting of their
several business interests in the country, the Prelate described as too
little and ineffective the manner the Federal Government has handled the

In a release signed by the Acting Director of Social
Communications, Rev Fr Anthony Godonu, Archbishop Martins noted that the
failure of the Federal Government to decisively deal with the issue
using very strong diplomatic means continues to embolden the
perpetrators and makes the South African government not to do enough to
stem the tide of the attacks. That South African Police officials are
seen publicly rousing peoples’ anger against foreigners in their country
without any visible repercussion gives an impression of some official
endorsement of the mob action and our government needs to pursue this to
its logical conclusion.

“It is the responsibility of every
government to protect the lives and properties of its citizens within
and outside the country. Any attack on Nigerian citizens should elicit a
swift response from the government not to talk of them being killed
with impunity.

“The insufficient response of our Government in
confronting the matter with the seriousness it deserves does not project
us in a good light as a country that cares enough for the welfare of
its citizens. My fear is that if decisive diplomatic measures are not
taken now, this matter may go out of hand with enormous consequences for
Recalling the frontline role Nigeria played in bringing an end
to the obnoxious apartheid policy in South Africa, and the enormous
financial and human resources deployed for that purpose, Archbishop
Martins wondered why fellow blacks who had, and are still benefiting
from their relationship with our nation have chosen to pay us back by
unleashing so much violence against our citizens. This is not the kind
of South Africa that Nelson Mandela labored for”

He further said,
“this marks another wake-up call for our leaders to work even more
assiduously so that the social and economic situation of our nation can
be better such migration of our nationals, legal or illegal, can be
reduced and if people who migrate get badly treated, they can come back
home fully assured that they would be in good stead.”
The Archbishop
however urged Nigerians in South Africa to continue to ensure that they
present the nation in a good light, going about only legitimate
businesses and professions. In his own words, “I urge Nigerians in South
Africa to go about only lawful activities in the country and desist
from criminal actions that tarnish the image of the country.”

also appealed to youths in Nigeria to continue to show restraint and
allow the relevant government agencies to exhaust all diplomatic means
geared at stopping the attacks and bringing the perpetrators to book as
soon as possible.

He discouraged any form of reprisal attacks on
organizations owned by South Africans in Nigeria, saying that it does
not offer any solution to the problem. In his words: “when we give in to
the urge to engage in reprisal attacks, how different are we from those
perpetuate these crimes against humanity? An eye for an eye eventually
leaves everyone blind”

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