Nigerians online reject attacks on South African businesses

A cross section of Nigerians online have criticized attacks on South African business in parts of the country. The reprisal attacks according to reports were in the commercial capital of Lagos and parts of Ibadan in the southwest region.

The first report of an attack on a South African business was from Lekki in Lagos where a Shoprite mall was attacked and looted. Major South African firms in Nigeria include: MTN, Shoprite, PEP stores and Multichoice DSTv.

For people commenting on the development on Twitter, it was bad enough that Nigerians had been attacked abroad but that it was equally unacceptable that Nigerians will turn to reprisals.

A number of people stressed that Nigerian employees were the first to be impacted by the chaos and that most of the franchises are actually owned by Nigerian business people.

Police was deployed to premises of target businesses and reports indicates that security action led to the death of one person. As at Wednesday morning, there is high security presence across a number of South African business premises.

The Nigerian government also issued a statement urging citizens to desist from such attacks. The statement signed by Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed said there was no justification for reprisals.

The Federal Government has appealed to Nigerians not to attack South African companies operating in Nigeria in retaliation for the ongoing xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa.

He said that targetting South African companies in Nigeria for attack is, for Nigerians, a classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face, because the investors in such companies, especially MTN and Shoprite, are Nigerians.

Alhaji Mohammed said the majority of the workers in the South African companies operating in Nigeria are also Nigerians, meaning that its Nigerian workers who will be hardest hit if such companies are forced to shut down for fear of attacks.

Nigeria has sent a special envoy to South Africa over the developments, the ambassador was summoned yesterday by Nigeria Foreign Minister and President Buhari is due to meet with counterpart Ramaphosa in October.

Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu also waded into the attacks describing them as “criminal activities against legitimate businesses.”

“Whiles Federal Government takes diplomatic and proactive actions to protect our brothers and sisters, as the Chief Security Officer of Lagos, I will protect the residents of Lagos against any criminal elements flying pretentious nationalist flags,” he added.

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