Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday said it was a “fallacy” for South Africa to believe that xenophobia would make more jobs available to its citizens.
Obasanjo, in a letter to the leader of South-Africa’s Inkatha Freedom Party, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, said that such an attitude would rather cripple investment in the country.
“As it is being touted that xenophobia will give South Africans more jobs, I dare say, it is fallacy. Xenophobia will make an investment in South Africa more difficult, which will lead to a lack of job creation and loss of existing jobs,” Obasanjo said in condemning the recent xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other Africans in South-Africa.
Obasanjo noted that Nigerians had played great roles in the liberation of different peoples in different parts of Africa, including fighting against the apartheid regime in South Africa. He said such kind gestures were not motivated by praises or positions but by a sense of duty and obligation as Africans towards fellow Africans.
The former president condemned what he described as “incompetence or collusion” on the part of South African Police for standing aloof watching miscreants and criminals committing crimes against fellow human beings in the country.
“This was experienced in South Africa in recent times and it shows either incompetence or collusion on the part of the police. We believe that Africans living in any other part of Africa must be treated as brothers and friends. If they commit any crime, they should be treated as citizens of that country will be treated when they commit a crime, which will mean applying judicial process,” he said.
He advised the South African government to send emissaries to the countries concerned to explain, apologise and agree on the way forward for mutual understanding, accommodation, reconciliation to promote brotherhood in Africa.
“Repatriation of Nigerians from South- Africa is not a permanent solution. At best, it is palliative because the hurt will remain for some time and revenge is also not the desirable solution. Mutual understanding and acknowledgment of what needs to be done on all sides are imperative and getting down to doing them is the solution that will serve Nigeria and South Africa and indeed Africa, particularly in this era of Africa Continental Free Trade Area opportunities, he explained.
“In the final analysis, if South- Africa fails to initiate appropriate and satisfactory steps to deal with the issues to pacify affected victims and work for reconciliation, the countries concerned should come together to table appropriate motions at the African Union level first and consider other measures if the situation is allowed to continue,” he added.
He said that most migrants did not migrate to other countries with total emptiness, adding that some had education, skills, experience, expertise, entrepreneurship which could help economies of host countries.
“What has helped most developed countries in the world is openness and receiving migrants with open hands and open minds. In any case, all of us in the world are migrants, no matter where we live, depending only on how far back you want to go,” he said.
Obasanjo urged African countries to develop programmes that would provide a livelihood for its
terming the youth population.
He noted that such a measure would discourage the youths from embarking on hazardous journeys to places where their lives would be endangered.