YELLOW CARD SAGA: NIGERIA MUST BE PROACTIVE
South African immigration authorities recently deported one hundred and twenty five (125) Nigerians under the pretext that they were carrying fake yellow cards. They were kept waiting for 24 hours without access to food or water.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is shocked by this inhuman, unwarranted and provocative action taken by South Africa. We strongly condemn this inhumanity of man to man. South Africa's role in this yellow card imbroglio negates the well-known hospitable culture of the black man. It is totally unAfrican, despicable and therefore unacceptable. We are of the opinion that there is more to the matter than meets the eye. This is because it is not the first time that South Africa is targeting Nigerians travelling into the country. Nigerians residing there have often been targeted either by the South African police or by criminal gangs.
MURIC suggests that we look back on the lanes of history to find solutions to this embarrassment. Today was born from the wombs of yesterday. South Africans seem to have short memory. Nigeria spear-headed Africa's opposition to apartheid under Ian Smith and later Pieter Botha. It is therefore very strange that anti-Nigerian sentiments now fill the South African atmosphere.
From now on, Nigeria must be more proactive on the relationship between us and South Africa. While we are not advocating the cultivation of hostile attitude towards South Africans living in Nigeria, both the Nigerian government and the Nigerian citizenry have roles to play to counter South African belligerence. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in particular must evolve measures capable of immediately addressing the arrogance of South Africa.
Nigeria must stand up as a nation to protect the interest of all Nigerians in diaspora, not only those residing in or those briefly visiting South Africa. Respect is reciprocal. Those who refuse to acknowledge the dignity and integrity of the Nigerian person must be made to taste diplomatic humiliation on Nigerian soil.
There is a rumour that South African authorities reserve a special prison for Nigerian citizens. South Africa once fined every Nigerian deported from that country the sum of one hundred thousand naira (N100,000.00). They stopped the practice when Nigeria compelled every South African coming to Nigeria to pay the same amount. Respect begets respect.
MURIC therefore suggests that Nigeria takes the following steps:
1. that a similar number of South Africans entering Nigeria (125) must be deported within seven days;
2. that the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs must summon the
South African High Commissioner to explain the inhuman
treatment meted out to those 125 Nigerians;
3. the Federal Government must demand apology and the payment of
damages unless South Africa pays damages to the 125 Nigerians who suffered both physical and psychological trauma during the
unfortunate incident failing which Nigeria must report South Africa
to the African Union and finally to the International Court of
4. Nigerian citizens must show solidarity to the 125 victims of South African inhumanity by boycotting South African goods and services like MTN and DSTV and
5. Nigerians must learn from this ugly incident and change their retrogressive mindset, review their culture of waste and adopt zero tolerance for corruption.
MURIC affirms clearly and unequivocally that unless we take the above steps, Nigerians will not earn respect in the international community.