Xenophobic Attacks: Nigerians in reprisal attacks against MTN

Amidst fresh anti-foreigners violence against immigrants in Gauteng and Pretoria, South Africa, Nigerians at home have expressed their resentment against the killing of their countrymen in the Rainbow nation.

Reports today confirm that some bitter Nigerian citizens targeted South Africa’s MTN in revenge attacks. Nigerian protesters attacked and destroyed some properties in the regional office of MTN in Abuja, obviously in retaliation to the violence on Nigerians living in South Africa.

South African network provider giant, MTN, which has always been the target of Nigerians whenever the killing of foreign immigrants resurfaces in South Africa, is again at the receiving end of the retaliatory measure of some Nigerian protesters.

Recall that in 2015, after violence against Nigerians began in Pretoria, MTN reportedly shut down its regional office in Abuja, to escape the anger of irate youths in Nigeria who were bent on razing the office to the ground.

Speaking about the attack today, an MTN spokesperson said that the protest, which is a reprisal to xenophobic attacks in South Africa, led to the vandalization of equipment, stealing of phones, and even some customers in the premises were not spared.

This revenge coincides with the visit of Phuthuma Nhleko, MTN Chairman to the nation’s capital to see President Osinbajo, Nigeria’s acting president today at the state house.

Protesters are seen during an anti-South African violence rally in front of the Foreign Affairs Ministry building in Abuja, Nigeria February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Earlier this week, Nigeria’s Senior Special Adviser to the President on Foreign Affairs, Hon. Abike Dabiri Erewa called on the African Union to intervene in the matter but nothing has been heard from the AU concerning the incidents.

But today Nigerians seem to have taken laws into their hands, perhaps to send a warning to the South African nation.

Since the violence erupted in Guateng and Pretoria, more than 20 shops belonging to immigrants have been looted and some foreigners have also been wounded.

Notwithstanding the fact the Nigeria and South Africa enjoy diplomatic ties, the recent violence and reprisal is a tug at the helm of the bond that exists between both nations. It is also a nudge that the two nations must sit to discuss measures to guarantee the safety of people and properties in the two countries.

Failure to do this might lead to tensions escalating between both countries.