By Bimbo Ogunnaike
Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed his anger on xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other African nationals in South Africa.
Obasanjo in a letter written to the founder of the Inkatha Freedom Party, in South Africa, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi on Tuesday, urged Nigerians and others African countries whose citizens were affected by xenophobic attacks to report to the African Union.
The former president further described xenophobic attacks on foreigners by South Africans as a great disservice to Africa.
Obasanjo called for urgent reconciliation between the countries affected and South Africa, adding that repatriation and revenge was not the best solution.
The letter read, “For any African country to encourage or allow or not seriously sanction xenophobia against Africans in their country is a great disservice not only to the country where xenophobia takes place and the countries of the victims concerned, but also a great disservice to the whole of Africa and black race.
“At this juncture, there is need for fence-mending, reconciliation and wound-binding between South Africa and the countries whose citizens have been victims of xenophobia and afrophobia in South Africa.
“As a suggestion, South Africa should send emissaries to the countries concerned to explain, apologise and agree on the way forward for mutual understanding, accommodation, reconciliation, and binding the wound to promote unity, concord, and brotherhood in Africa,”Obasanjo said in the letter.
“Repatriation of Nigerians from South Africa is obviously not a permanent solution. At best it is palliative. But the hurt will still remain for some time. Neither is revenge a desirable solution.
“Mutual understanding and acknowledgement of what needs to be done on all sides is imperative and getting down to doing them is the solution that will serve Nigeria and South Africa and indeed Africa well particularly in this era of Africa Continental Free Trade Area opportunities.
“Nigeria and South Africa must stand together to champion African cause and to jointly shepherd African development, unity, cooperation, security, and progress to make the 21st century Africa’s century,” the former Nigerian president said.