Find us on Google+

Friday, 30 May 2008

Counting the cost of RSA's xenophobia.....the Nigerian way

Nigeria is seeking compensation for its citizens caught up in RSA's xenophobia violence. In the words of Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe:

"It is reassuring that no Nigerian was killed in the wave of attacks ... (but) many of them lost their properties and their shops were looted....The mission has already compiled the list of Nigerians ... with the purpose of seeking compensation from the South African government"
Would be interesting to know who else might follow suit. I have problems with the idea of compensation, because it strikes me that people go abroad in search of better prospects, and with that they accept the risk that they may not be welcomed. That aside, it appears the Nigerian government is charging the South African government with general neglect - the failure to protect the people under its care (usually applied to extreme cases such as failing to prevent a terrorist act which results in massive lost of life). That is the only logical explanation on why compensation is not being sought from the criminals but the South African government.

Update (1st June 2008) :

The same Nigerian Minister has been busy again suggesting that the
xenophobia is due to South Africans' poor understanding of history (see Gershom's blog for similar assessment) :
“What has been happening on the streets of Durban and Johannesburg is the absence of history that has led to hysteria.....When you have embarked on great acts of solidarity like that, and you don’t teach your children what you did, and how you worked together, they will come out on the streets some day killing foreigners from the very countries that levied money to fight for their freedom....Xenophobia is a sign that the kinds of conversations that ought to be taking place have not been taking place.”


  1. That is the only logical explanation on why compensation is not being sought from the criminals but the South African government.

    No. The logical explanation is that the Nigerian government has no hope to get any compensation from the criminals and thinks South Africa will pay them.

    I think that the victims, Nigerians or otherwise have a strong chance to get compensation from the SA government for failure to protect in South African courts but here Nigeria is interested in getting some for the Nigerian government.

    This is the same foreign minister who was making a weak argument for re-opening Bakassi a few months ago.

  2. Read the last part of my blog. I think the affected countries, particularly the so-called frontline states, should demand reparations from South Africa for what they suffered when they supported ANC as a liberation movement and were attacked by South Africa. Today their citizens are being killed in senseless xenophobic attacks.

  3. Random,

    The Nigerian government is notorious for capturing any rent it can. At the moment their London High Commission has refused to pay the London Congestion Charge because it violates "diplomatic rules" on taxation.


    Read your blog. Very good.
    I think reparations may be too much..but it does beg the question whether some of frontline states' investment was wasted.


All contributors should follow the basic principles of a productive dialogue: communicate their perspective, ask, comment, respond,and share information and knowledge, but do all this with a positive approach.

This is a friendly website. However, if you feel compelled to comment 'anonymously', you are strongly encouraged to state your location / adopt a unique nick name so that other commentators/readers do not confuse your comments with other individuals also commenting anonymously.