King Sunny Ade (KSA), a Nigerian veteran singer in his song ‘Lift Up Nigeria’ said ‘Ajo o le da bi ile’, which can be interpreted as ‘The outside world can’t be compared to one’s home’ couldn’t have been better captured. There are also African proverbs like ‘Bi ode o ba gbeni, Ile la n pada si’ interpreted as ‘If the outside world isn’t favorable, one will always go back home’. All of these attest to the fact that there’s no place like one’s home’.
Some weeks back, the African continent experienced unrest as the nationals of South Africa held a rather disturbing anti-immigrant stereotype and decided that it was time to do away with foreigners in their country and their best strategy was to eliminate these foreigners and destroy their businesses. The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) recently made new discoveries about the drivers of anti-immigrant hate crime in South Africa.
A significant share of the general population holds anti-immigrant views and blame the foreigners for the socio-economic challenges facing the country. However, has there been any proof that immigrants are the drivers of problems like crime or unemployment? No. If foreigners are supposedly being employed for jobs nationals desire, could it be because these nationals aren’t qualified for these jobs?
South Africa is an upper-middle-income economy according to the World Bank and it is one of the most industrialized and diversified economies in the continent. It is also the only African country member of the Group of Twenty International Forum.
This country houses a lot of foreign investments, given its dynamic economy, and accounts for 24% of the continent’s gross domestic product that has been attributed to the country’s political stability. If these nationals are actually being side-lined from job opportunities, violence shouldn’t be the solution or their strategic response to the situation.
On the other hand, we salute the patriotism of private citizens who displayed their love for Nigerians by releasing their private airlines to bring Nigerians back home. This act of service has proven over time that Nigerians are indeed patriotic and loyal when it comes to issues affecting the lives of other Nigerians.
However, a crucial note to point out that whilst it is good and commendable that people have gone out of their ways to bring back these people, what’s the plan going forward? This development will undoubtedly add to the already over-populated country where people live on less than a dollar.
The country still faces unemployment, security and well, a debt of $9.6bn to a fraudulent Irish company. Even though the said company has been wound up by a Federal High Court in Abuja following the guilty plea of the affiliate company to fraud and money laundering. This judgment if not overruled will most likely collapse the nation’s economy.
I’m not in any way against their return to their fatherland but a crucial question, “Do we have a contingency plan for these people or are they expected to be thrown into the system and fend for themselves?”
Some of these people have suffered the loss of their family members, friends, assets and businesses, with little or nothing to fall back on. They might have been breadwinners to some of their relatives back here and now, they’ve returned to the same situation of the relatives they left here. These people need to be provided with the basic need of accommodation, shelter, food before they can get back on their feet, but is the Federal Government doing anything about it or better still, do they have the plan to do anything about it.
News circulated the internet about the disbursement of N40,000 airtime for these people and the first question was, ‘What are they supposed to use that for?” This news might be false but so far, there hasn’t been any statement from the Federal Government about their contingency strategy. It’s not enough that we spoke or voiced out our displeasure over the inhumane treatment dished to our brothers, now is the time to act.
Where will these people start from with kids to feed, send to school and clothe? If nothing is done about it, it might lead to an increase in the crime rate. People might take to a life of crime just to survive and put food on their family’s table.
South Africa is just one country out of many and it has stated that it is more interested in promoting tourism rather than having migrants. There are other countries to explore. Can these people be advised to find another greener pasture instead of hoping against hope on their beloved country to do something about their predicament?
Is the Federal Government actually going to do anything about it? Do they have a contingency action? Whilst some may argue that they couldn’t have known that the attack was going to happen, hence, the lack of a contingency action, it’s been over two weeks since the attacks.
Has the Federal Government tried to come up with an action plan on the rehabilitation of these people into our society? The Yoruba tribe has said ‘Jade kuro laye mi ki n se jade laye’, interpreted as ‘leave my life isn’t the same as leave the earth’. There are other countries to be explored and who are willing to accept migrants without anti-immigrant stereotype. Nigerians should go there instead.