By Rotimi Ijikanmi
Abuja – The Federal Government on Thursday appealed to Nigerians not to resort to self help, by carrying out reprisal attacks against South African businesses in Nigeria.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at a media briefing in Abuja, said that though, Nigerians were justifiably angered by the attacks on their compatriots in South Africa, reprisal would be counter-productive.
He said hoodlums had hijacked the peaceful protests by some Nigerians to loot shops at Shoprite and other malls in some locations across the country.
“A Nigerian lady whose shop was looted at the Novare Mall in Lagos, said she lost millions of Naira to the hoodlums who looted her shop.
“The offices of the MTN nationwide have either been attacked or threatened. Other South African firms have either shut their doors or are open under heavy security.
“As we said in our intervention on Tuesday, Nigerians own and run the shops in the various Shoprite malls across the country.
“Nigerians work there also. MTN is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the investors in this company are Nigerians. The workers are mostly Nigerians.
“Same applies to other South African businesses in the country. By attacking them, we are hurting our own people. That is the blunt truth,” he said.
The minister said that some hoodlums had also targeted foreigners under the guise of protesting against the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
“This is saddening. If we are complaining that South Africans are attacking Nigerians in South Africa, how then can we tolerate Nigerians attacking Nigerians and foreigners, right here in Nigeria?
“What purpose do such attacks serve, other than for Nigerians to lose their investments and jobs? Must we cut our nose to spite our face?
The minister assured all Nigerians, and foreigners living in the country, that the government had put in place security measures to protect their lives and property.
He said the security agencies had been put on high alert and looters would be arrested and made to face justice.
The minister said some unscrupulous people were engaging in disinformation, to inflame passion by using fake news and videos of non-related attacks, to instigate the people.
He said that the government had taken some steps, while a number of other measures were also being considered to keep Nigerians in South Africa safe.
Mohammed reassured Nigerians that the government would leave no stone unturned to protect its citizens around the world.