Human rights organisation, under the aegis of Amnesty International has called on South African authorities to urgently address the escalating attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners living in the country.
Mr Shenilla Mohamed, the Executive Director of the organisation in South Africa, made the call while faulting the government’s attitude to the crisis.
The Director’s criticism comes amid the series of condemnation that has trailed the xenophobic attacks targeted at Nigerians and citizens of other countries in South Africa.
Mohamed, on Wednesday in a statement submitted, “South African authorities must stop fuelling xenophobia in their desperate attempt to win political support”.
“Rather, they must build a country that is rooted in respect for human rights and the rule of law that protects everyone.
“South African authorities must come up with a security plan to ensure the safety of all refugees and migrants and seek to end these attacks once and for all. That begins with holding suspected perpetrators of past xenophobic crimes to account and breaking this cycle of impunity.”
He declared that ongoing attacks against refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, as well as looting of foreign-owned shops in South Africa is a direct consequence of years of impunity.
He also blamed it on the failure in the country’s criminal justice system that has left vulnerable group exposed and unprotected.
The executive director noted that five people have been confirmed dead as violence between locals and foreigners continued to escalate in Johannesburg and other parts of South Africa.
“South African authorities cannot say that they didn’t see this rampant violence coming. For many years refugees, asylum seekers and migrants have been targeted for who they are and what they look like.
“They have also served as convenient scapegoats for unscrupulous politicians who have pushed the insidious narrative that foreign nationals have stolen jobs and are to blame for everything that is going wrong in the country.”
Mohamed further recalled that the first major outbreak of xenophobic attacks in South Africa witnessed more than 11 years ago resulted in the killing of more than 60 people.
He wondered why such crisis was not seen as a wake-up call for the authorities to root out hatred against refugees and migrants and hold those responsible to account.
“Their lack of action has resulted in the subsequent and recurring attacks we’ve seen,” the executive director decried.
Condemning the recent attacks, he noted that South Africa has been experiencing systematic looting and burning of businesses belonging to foreign nationals, largely in Pretoria and Johannesburg for weeks.
Mohamed insisted that businesses belonging to Nigerians and other foreign nationals have been targeted in the two cities, with stock and possessions worth millions burnt to ashes.
He said the violence dramatically escalated last week following confrontations between locals and foreigners, marked by horrific attacks and killings.
The executive director insisted that the South African government has largely failed to address past xenophobic, violent outbreaks across the country.
Nigerian physician, Funsho named one of TIME’s most influential people in the world
TIME named Nigerian physician, Dr. Tunji Funsho to the 2020 TIME100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
The list, now in its seventeenth year, recognizes the activism, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals.
Dr. Funsho, a cardiologist based in Lagos, Nigeria, is the first Rotary member to receive this honor for the organization’s work to eradicate polio, having played an essential role in ensuring Africa’s certification as wild polio-free in August of 2020.
“I’m honored to be recognized by TIME for my part in ensuring that no child in Africa will ever again be paralyzed by wild polio, a disease that once disabled 75,000 African children every single year,” said Dr. Funsho. “Eradicating the wild poliovirus in Africa was a team effort that required the cooperation and dedication of governments, partners, Rotary members, hundreds of thousands of health workers, and countless parents who chose to have their children vaccinated against polio.”
As the leader of Rotary’s Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee, Funsho has worked alongside Rotary members throughout the country to raise awareness about the importance of polio immunization, encouraged governments and public figures to support polio eradication, and served as a vocal leader and advocate for Rotary’s fight to end polio in Africa.
Dr. Funsho works closely with Rotary’s partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI): the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. As a member of Nigeria’s Presidential Task Force on Polio, he has coordinated immunization and advocacy campaigns with the Minister of State for Health and the Inter-Agency Coordination Committee for Polio Eradication. He has also worked closely with the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, the Dangote Foundation, the Traditional Leaders Council and the Federation of Muslim Women’s Association of Nigeria.
In August 2019, Nigeria reached three years without a case of wild poliovirus. Nigeria’s progress, led by Rotary, its GPEI partners and local and national governments, was the result of decades of sustained efforts, including domestic and international financing, the commitment of hundreds of thousands of health workers, and innovative strategies to immunize children who previously couldn’t be reached due to insecurity in the country’s northern states.
On 25 August, the African region was certified wild polio-free. This historic announcement means that five of the WHO’s six regions, representing more than 90 percent of the world’s population, are now free of the wild poliovirus. The virus is now endemic in just two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Rotary’s nearly 32,000 members in Africa have played a critical role in helping the region achieve its wild polio-free status by holding events to raise funds and awareness for polio, and working with world governments and national and local leaders to secure funding and support for polio eradication.
Lagos govt. approves full reopening of churches, mosques
The Lagos state government on Saturday approved the full reopening of worship centres in the state.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who announced this during a briefing in the state said churches are now allowed to observe their mid-week services, while the mosques are also allowed to carry out their five times a day prayer routine, with strict compliance to COVID-19 safety protocols.
“We must not forget that the coronavirus pandemic is still very much with us, and we must, therefore, strive to prioritize the safety of all our children, teachers, parents, and the entire society,” the governor said.
Before now, the state had allowed for a gradual re-opening of places of worship as lockdowns eased.
With the full re-opening now, the governor has urged Lagosians to continue to act responsibly and maintain the required levels of hygiene.
Some other parts of the world have witnessed a resurgence of COVID-19 infections and rising possibilities of “hard lockdowns”, which according to Governor Sanwo-Olu may become inevitable for Nigerians if caution is not applied.
“Let me make it clear that if we do not continue to maintain our guard, and sustain the adherence to all required protocols and guidelines, we will find ourselves in a situation where fresh lockdowns are inevitable,” he warned.
“The only way to avoid this is to continue to act responsibly: maintain the required levels of hygiene, through regular handwashing and use of sanitizers, wear masks in all public places, avoid non-essential public gatherings, and maintain the prescribed levels of physical distancing at all times”.
The total infections in the country have now risen to 56,956, with 48,305 patients recovered and 1,094 deaths recorded.
At the onset of the virus in Nigeria, Lagos became the epicenter, gapping other states with its case load despite frantic efforts to curb the spread.
However, in recent times, other states such as Plateau have started to witness a surge with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 stating that it might become the new epicenter in the country.
Photos: Oyo deputy gov. donates patrol motorcycles to security operatives
The deputy governor of Oyo state, Engr. Raufu Olaniyan on Friday made a personal donation of patrol motorcycles to security operatives in Oke Ogun area of the state to boost their role of ensuring the safety of lives and properties.
Speaking at the event, Olaniyan noted that Security is one of the cardinal objectives of the present administration headed by Governor Seyi Makinde, adding that the government has invested massively to provide facilities and equipment for security operatives in the state to perform their roles.
Speaking further, the deputy governor remarked that ” In the light of the security challenges in the country, it is imperative that we support the government in tackling this malady. It was therefore a delight for me to donate patrol motorcycles, from my purse, to the various security outfits operating in the Oke Ogun area of our state.”
He stressed that security matters should be the responsibility of all and not the government alone.
Olaniyan, however , urged well meaning individuals and lovers of peace to support the government in creating a safe and conducive environment for growth.
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