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Statement by Socialist Party of Nigeria

The Socialist Party of Nigeria condemns the raging xenophobic attacks in South Africa which have affected Nigerians alongside other African migrants in South Africa. Some have been killed and many injured, while shops have been destroyed and looted in the recurrent violence. Reprisal or retributive actions in South Africa and possibly in Nigeria and elsewhere can only further worsen the cycle of violence.

There have been reports of the South African police supporting the violence or looking the other way. Also, there does not appear to have been any effective measures so far taken by the Nigerian government through its High Commission and Consulate in South Africa to safeguard Nigerians and provide relief to victims of the violence. This is in spite of the much publicised meeting of both countries’ leaders recently on the sidelines of the Ticad conference on African development in Japan where they both mouthed commitments to ending the recurrent violence.

A majority of Nigerian immigrants in South Africa are escapees from the hellish conditions of poverty, lack of jobs and opportunities, as well as the daily insecurity and violence. Meanwhile, thousands more Nigerians and African nationals are trekking through the Sahara desert and drowning in the Mediterranean Sea in the hope of reaching European shores.

Similarly, it is the ruinous anti-poor capitalist policies of decades of post-apartheid African National Congress (ANC) governments that are responsible for the inequality and mass poverty that grips the majority of black South Africans.

As a result of the despair and desperation and with a South African labour leadership not mounting an effective struggle to unite the working class and find a lasting way out of the crisis, the poorest sections and even layers of the workers and middle classes in South Africa are being led, erroneously, to believe that African nationals, including Nigerians, are responsible for their plight.

The only way out is for a united struggle of the working classes of both countries to challenge and defeat their capitalist ruling classes and install a workers-led government armed with socialist policies.

We therefore call on the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress, the United Labour Congress and the National Association of Nigerian Students to immediately convene a conference of labour, students and youth activists as well as socialists and all pro-working people’s organisations and parties to discuss an appropriate response in both Nigeria and South Africa to these attacks.