Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has asked the Nigerian Federal Government to sue the South African government and demand compensation for Nigerian victims of the xenophobic attacks in the country.
Falana, in a statement, titled: “Beyond the condemnation of xenophobic attacks by the federal government,” said like its counterpart in Nigeria, the political class in South Africa have failed to address the challenge of poverty and inequality confronting the majority of the black people.
“Even though apartheid was defeated by the people of South Africa over two decades ago, the unjust socio-economic system erected by capitalism had not been dismantled. The crisis has been compounded by wanton corruption and the neo-liberal policies of the government.
“Hence, the South African masses have been denied the dividends of democracy by the African National Congress-led government. In particular, the masses have no access to health, housing, education and employment. Out of sheer frustration, millions of young people in South Africa have decided to subject African immigrants to xenophobic attacks,” he said.
According to Falana, the African National Congress, ANC, must accept responsibility for the misdirected antagonism against poor African imigrants. He said apart from the official condemnation of the shameful and cowardly attacks, the South African Government should fish out the culprits and prosecute them.
“In addition to the payment of adequate compensation to all the victims of the mindless attacks the Government must teach South Africans about the immense contributions of the people of Cuba and a number of African countries to the struggle waged against apartheid and colonialism in the Southern African region.
“However, since the Cyril Ramaphosa administration is not likely to accede to the demand for compensation the federal government should brief a team of lawyers to seek legal redress for the victims of the attacks in South African courts.
“The Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria should be directed to coordinate the legal defence. In view of the regular harassment of Nigerians in South Africa and a few other African countries, the federal government should make the Declaration to enable individual victims of human rights abuse to access the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights sitting in Arusha, Tanzania,” he said.
The activist said since there was no assurance that Nigerians and other Africans would no longer be subjected to xenophobic attacks, the federal government should boycott the World Economic Forum scheduled to commence in South Africa on September 4