Godwin Adama, the Nigerian Consul General has debunked claims of the fresh attack on Nigerian businesses in South Africa having a xenophobic undertone.
Adama who made a clarification on the attack which occurred at Witbank in Mpumalanga district of South Africa by 9am on Tuesday October 22, said the incident was brought under control within one hour with the cooperation of the police.
He told NAN some locals and taxi drivers in the community launched the attack under the guise of fighting crime.
“We held a meeting with the police authorities and they led us to the place where the attack occurred. Although it happened in a different locality (from the previous one), we agreed to meet often to prevent reoccurrence.
“The police promised to invite the taxi drivers association and Nigerian Citizens Association in South Africa (NICASA) to a meeting to discuss and resolve issues amicably. There is no problem at the moment and we are monitoring the situation keenly and we have been able to reach a reasonable stage of agreement and help out.
“The government is doing everything here to fight crime. The locals take laws into their hands thinking that the police were not doing enough, which is what mostly leads to attack. People feel there is drug or human trafficking and security operatives are not meeting expectations, and so they take laws into their hands to fight crime, but it does not work that way.
Adama added that an effective implementation of agreements reached between governments of Nigeria and South Africa will prevent all forms of conflict between its citizens.
“There was nothing like xenophobia; this attack was crime-related and it is just that some criminals took advantage of the opportunity to carry out the crime.
“We have draft rules and agreements in place; it is a people-to-people relationship we want to concentrate on. If it is government-to-government we do not have much problem at all.
“It is not a one-day matter to resolve, but such modality requires constant discussion platforms to enable people to be able to interact. To be able to arrest criminals, it is better to take issues related to the crime to the police station, rather than take laws into your hands,” he concluded.