Reps summon Minister over killing of Nigerians in South Africa

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama

By Omotilewa Quadri

The House of Representatives on Wednesday summoned the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, over the killing of Nigerians in South Africa.

The summon followed a motion on the need to protect the rights and lives of Nigerians in South Africa.

At least 118 Nigerians have reportedly been killed in South Africa in the last two years.

The lawmaker who sponsored the motion, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, said the Federal Government needed to hold talks with the South African government over the killings.

The Abia lawmaker said despite the condemnation that has trailed the killings, there has been no resolute step taken by the Federal Government to engage the South African government to stop such acts.

She added that Nigerians remain an “endangered” people in South Africa with no succor in sight from either the Nigerian or South African government.

She recalled the case of one Francis Ochuba who was killed on May 5 in central Johannesburg while visiting his tenant to demand rent.

She also recalled the cases of two other Nigerians — Chidi Ibebuike and Sunday Ezeji — “extrajudicially” killed in May and November respectively.

Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnenna Ukeji, said she had discovered that the killings were not coordinated by government but by “criminal elements”.

Rita Orji from Lagos berated the Federal Government for failing to take necessary measures to protect Nigerians abroad.

“Nigerians are being killed because of the failure of the institutions charged with protecting them. Nigerians are not safe at home and abroad,” she said.

The green chamber then resolved to invite Onyeama and Dabiri-Erewa to brief it on actions taken so far to stop the killings.

Last week, Dabiri-Erewa said efforts to end the killings has not been successful.

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