Nigeria’s government is responding to reported xenophobic attacks on its citizens in South Africa by boycotting the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) in Cape Town, South Africa and will reportedly recall its ambassador to South Africa.
Nigeria’s foreign minister also invited the South African high commissioner to Nigeria “to protest the unacceptable burning and looting of properties belonging to Nigerians” and make “concrete proposals” for compensation of Nigerians affected.
Reports of the attacks in South Africa first emerged on Monday with news of looting and destruction of dozens of shops owned by foreigners, including Nigerians. Looters in Johannesburg’s Central Business District “targeted” shops believed to be owned by foreigners, local South African media reported. The attacks continued on Tuesday leaving five dead. Local police said the dead were mostly South Africans.
The graphic images of these latest xenophobic attacks—both real and fake—have had an impact that’s now reverberating across the continent, resulting in reprisals. Xenophobia is the fear or hatred of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange.
In Nigeria, several outlets of South-Africa owned businesses including retailer Shoprite and telecoms operator MTN have been targeted around the country. In one incident in Lekki, an upmarket Lagos neighborhood, a clash between police and protesters at a mall housing a Shoprite outlet left one person dead. The protesters were also said to be screening cars and stores in search of foreign nationals to attack.