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The leadership of Private Telecommunications and Communications Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and its MTN Branch are calling on the governments of Nigeria and South Africa to genuinely explore all diplomatic measures to end the violence against Nigerians in South Africa and reprisal in Nigeria
The association in a statement issued on Thursday described the violence in both countries as unfortunate and disturbing and should be nipped in the bud before it destroys the age-long diplomatic relations between both countries.
The statement signed by the PTECSSAN General Secretary, Okonu Abdullahi, and PTECSSAN MTN Branch, Elisha Adamu, urged the presidency to take punitive action against the organisers and perpetrators of these attacks on Nigerians and other Africans in the country.
According to the labour leaders, the right of Africans to live peacefully as law-abiding residents in any country on the continent must be respected.
They reminded the South Africans government of the immense contributions of the Nigerian Government and its people to the anti-apartheid struggle for the country’s liberation when over $10.5m was donated to the South Africa Relief Fund by Nigerian workers and students.
PTECSSAN also condemned the reprisal attacks on MTN Nigeria and other South African business interests in Nigeria.
The association said, “We understand the pain and frustration of our people because of xenophobia going on in South Africa but we must not as a people succumb to the temptation of reprisal as this will be tantamount to stooping so low to the level of the South Africans. We must know that any reprisal is uncivilised and will be counterproductive, hence, condemnable.
The labour leaders enlightened Nigerians that majority of members of Board of Directors of MTN Nigeria and other South Africa business interests in Nigeria were Nigerians who had contributed immensely and still contributing to the growth of the country.
The statement added, “Workers in MTN Nigeria and other businesses of South Africa origin are Nigerians, not South Africans. Therefore, those involved in the reprisal must have a rethink and refrain from further attack in the interest of our economy and wellbeing.
“It is irrational for Nigerians to attack Nigerians, their means and places of livelihood. Nigeria is currently battling with a high rate of unemployment and any act capable of worsening the surly and pitiable situation must be condemned, discouraged and resisted by all and sundry.”
The association called on the Federal Government to review its foreign policy to focus more on the welfare of Nigerians irrespective of where they reside in the world to curtail further vilification and attack on citizens.