The Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa said South African politicians fuel xenophobic attacks by telling citizens that foreigners, including Nigerians, are taking their women and jobs.
Speaking on a television programme, she admitted that there were foreigners who commit crime in South Africa, and they can be dealt with, but not by discriminating against Nigerians or any other race or country.
Dabiri-Erewa pointed out that the xenophobic attacks in South Africa was driven by hate speech and misinformation.
She said, “There are people who commit crime in South Africa, such people are in any country. If South Africa is fighting crime; let it fight crime, not fight brothers and sisters, who are legitimately working in South Africa,
“Don’t forget that these attacks happened in the past. This is the seventh attack. The last one was in 2015… the king of Zulu made some remarks that were inciting, that led to the last attack.
“This particular one, let’s look at the circumstances. Fine, there are economic issues everywhere in the world. Politicians are campaigning and telling their people, ‘you know what, drive these criminals away, they are taking your jobs, and they are taking your women too’.”
The SSA advised South Africa companies operating in Nigeria to do more to educate South Africans on the need to stop xenophobia.
She stated that MTN, DStv and other South African companies should initiate a campaign against xenophobia by educating citizens in the former apartheid enclave.
“Imagine MTN sending text messages to everyone in South Africa, saying Xenophobia is bad, don’t do this and that.
“They should embark on some corporate social responsibility. Those multinationals should get up and do something. DStv should be doing various jingles on why xenophobia is bad, they should take over the awareness campaign,” she stressed.