A renowned evanglist and philanthropist, Reverend Mother Esther Abimbola Ajayi has called on the international community to take a decisive step to stop xenophobic attacks on foreign citizens in South Africa.
She also called on religious leaders in Africa to preach love and peace and cooperate with their political leaders to end hatred among their members.
The clergy spoke on Friday at the United Nations headquarters in New York where she co-chaired a high level UN roundtable on “Turning swords into ploughshares in the quest to reduce violence globally.”
She also appealed to other African countries to stop reprisal attacks on business interests of South African, noting “two wrongs don’t make a right.”
She decried the level of religious intolerance in Africa especially in Nigeria and urged preachers to stop inciting their members against others.
She said that “the quest for peace should start from each of us by putting it in practise in all we do.”
She said Africa has all that is needed to be great and called on leaders to reduce poverty in the continent, noting that “an hungry man is always angry.”
The International evangelist expressed optimism that Nigeria would soon recover from all her challenges and play her role as a “Big Brother” to other African countries.
Nigerians and other foreigners in South Africa have been the target of attacks since last week when a taxi driver was killed by an alleged drug peddler from Tanzania in Pretoria.
Foreign-owned businesses have been looted and burnt in different parts of the country.
As of Monday, three persons had been killed while one person was in hospital being treated for smoke inhalation.
Anger on Tuesday greeted xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa with dignitaries and organisations including President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, the Senate and the House of Representatives, expressing their displeasure over the continued killing.
President Buhari specifically sent a special envoy to President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, to express his deep concern about the “reported attacks on Nigerian citizens and property in South Africa since August 29, 2019.”
Also, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in compliance with Buhari’s directive, summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, to express Nigeria’s displeasure over the continued killing of Nigerians in South Africa.
In a statement in Abuja, the Presidency said the special envoy Buhari sent to Ramaphosa was expected to land in Pretoria by Thursday.
The statement, which was signed by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, did not give the name of the envoy.
It added that Buhari was deeply concerned about the “reported attacks on Nigerian citizens and property in South Africa since August 29, 2019.”
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday said that at least 10 persons have been killed, two of them foreigners, in a wave of riots and attacks.
The president said this in a televised address in Johannesburg.
“Over the past few days, our country has been deeply traumatised and troubled by acts of violence and criminality directed against foreign nationals and our own citizens,” Ramaphosa said.
“People have lost their lives, families have been traumatised. We know that at least 10 people have been killed in the violence. Two of whom were foreign nationals.”
South African police arrested more than 80 people and confirmed five deaths as riots in Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria intensified on Tuesday, spreading to surrounding townships with roving groups attacking mainly foreign-owned shops.
The latest wave of unrest in South Africa has raised fears of a recurrence of violence aimed at foreigners in 2015 in which at least seven people were killed.
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