By Kingsley Okoye
Abuja, – The Committee of Youth on Mobilisation and Sensitisation (CYMS) on Tuesday appealed to youths and students’ organisations in Nigeria to refrain from further planned picketing of South African businesses in Nigeria over xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in their country.
The committee’s Director-General, Mr Obinna Nwaka, who made the appeal in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, however, condemned the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) had on Aug. 8, picketed three South African companies, including MTN, in Abeokuta, Ogun, to protest the frequent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
The other companies picketed were MultiChoice DSTV and Stanbic IBTC in Abeokuta.
The protesters had carried placards with different inscriptions such as “Nigerian students can no longer keep quiet while South Africans kill Nigerians.
“All South African business interests must leave Nigeria.”
No fewer than 127 Nigerians have been reportedly killed in various dimensions of xenophobic attacks in South Africa over the years.
NANS had also on July 26, embarked on a protest in Markurdi, Benue, against the inhuman treatment of Nigerians in South Africa, as they picketed some establishments affiliated to South Africa operating in Makurdi.
The students, who had decried the killing of Nigerians in South Africa, noted that they would not allow South African businesses to run in Nigeria
Nwaka described South African xenophobic attacks on fellow Africans as unpleasant and did not represent the Pan-African philosophy of late Nelson Mandela.
“While appreciating Nigerians for their concerns over the attacks, we call on youths and students’ organisations to stop taking laws into their hands by picketing South African businesses like MTN, DSTV and other organisations,” he said.
Nwaka warned about the consequences of any attempted reprisal attacks, saying such would increase violence, crime and worsen the unemployment situation in Nigeria.
He, however, implored the South African government to adopt proactive measures to end the killing of Nigerians and ensure peaceful coexistence between citizens of both countries.
On “#RevolutionNow” protest, Nwaka, noted that CYMS condemned the act in its entirety.
He urged groups, students and youths bodies to desist from supporting undemocratic and unpatriotic activities.
He appealed to the Federal Government to temper justice with mercy and release the arrested protesters along with their leader, Mr Omoyele Sowore.
Nwaka said, “ the demands of Sowore for a better governance is good but his approach would have resulted to a national embarrassment and distraction to governance.”
Nwaka used the forum to felicitate with Muslim faithful on the celebration of Eid-el-Kabir and congratulated Nigerian youths on the occasion of the International Youth Day celebration with the theme “Transforming Education”.
He said CYMS was a body charged with the responsibility of mobilising the support of young people for government policies and programmes.
He urged government at all levels to reciprocate patriotic disposition of Nigerian youths by providing then with secured environment, basic standard education and inclusion in governance as promised during the 2019 electioneering.
Nwaka said it was important for governments to allow young people to be part of decision making process that concerned them, saying this approach if implemented, would help reduce unnecessary protests, crime and restiveness in the country.