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Xenophobic Protests: NANS and the Wild and wooly comment
The parlance of “Kill a Nigerian in South Africa, we kill three South Africans here; destroy a Nigerian business over there and we will destroy three South African businesses here in Nigeria.” will only cascade into a collosal disaster as Students who claim to be fighting for its citizenry will end up bearing the brunt of their actions.
Members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) last week took to the streets in some part of the country to protest against xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa, where students marched through major streets of Abeokuta and Adamawa bearing placards and ending up at the offices of companies owned by South Africans.
Last week, the Students carried posters with inscriptions such as: ‘NANS say no to xenophobia,’ ‘Why kill our citizens and loot their properties?’ ‘Enough of spiral silence,’ ‘Nigerian students can no longer keep quiet while South Africans kill Nigerians,’ ‘Nigerians are no weaklings or cowards,’ ‘End South African businesses in Nigeria.’
Shocking enough, reaction trailed NANS over a wild and woolly Comment as the Student body during the weekend at Abeokuta threatened to kill three South Africans living in Nigeria for every one Nigerian killed in South Africa as a result of xenophobic attack. Much as Nigerians understand the Students plights over the xenophobic attack which has no end in sight, yet ‘cutting the head was never a migraine cure’.
Though the Protest was diplomatic in nature yet Nigerians have argued and slightly discredit the NANS demonstration saying that there are many burning interior-issues battling the nation especially with the Educational System,ought to be address in the expense of the xenophobic attack which is on the far side of their armpit .
However, the Nigerian Students would have earned a more special position in the heart of Nigerians if the peaceful protest was staged at the nation’s embassy , to quicken and incite the Government into action rather than taking laws into their hands by shuting down South Africa businesses. The parlance of “Kill a Nigerian in South Africa, we kill three South Africans here; destroy a Nigerian business over there and we will destroy three South African businesses here in Nigeria.” will only cascade into a collosal disaster as Students who claim to be fighting for its citizenry will end up bearing the brunt of their actions.
Morever, it was a perfect time to call on Federal Government to as a matter of urgency and necessity, set up a visitation panel to all higher institutions of learning even as public education system, from pre-primary to the university level, has ceased to be the priority of Nigerian Government, it was a better time to lament the poor state of education across the states of the federation.
The half-hearted promises and pronouncement on Education, Job Opportunity, economy have since lost meaning to the hapless citizenry who have been denied access to good quality Education and good standard of living enjoyed by members of the ruling class. Education System is worrisome as education that was free and accessible in the days of today’s leaders, is now unaffordable to the sons and daughters of the poor, infact most lecture rooms,research Centres, laboratories and libraries had become ill-equipped in recent time.
What about Unemployment? The recurring ugly decimal of graduates unemployment in Nigeria that keeps worsening by the decade calls for serious concern and urgent action. As such intervention long been expected from a sustained pragmatic synergy involving the federal and state governments, as graduates are now agonising over spilt milk as the wave of sundry crimes such as armed robbery, hostage taking for ransom, terrorism, prostitution as well as drug peddling and its addiction takes over our directionless youths. It was a perfect time to Subject government into implementation of bills and not just mere pronouncement.
‘First, remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.’ The peaceful protest was a diplomatic call yet it is necessary for the Student-leaders to first tackle problems combating the Nigerian Students internally, and incite the Government to action over xenophobic attack since we have embassy and concerned agencies betrowed with bi-lateral relationship duties than taking law into their hands. As consequences of “Kill a Nigerian in South Africa, we kill three South Africans here; destroy a Nigerian business over there and we will destroy three South African businesses here in Nigeria.” comment might later be regretted alone with government folding its arm if care is not taken. Revenge and retaliation always perpetuate the cycle of anger, fear and violence.
Lastly, let me leave you with a conundrum, with the flexing ambience of the protest wasn’t it a best time for NANS to declare state of emergency on Nigerian Education System too or
the association has lost its primary focus, strong essence and tool?
Adejayan Oluwagbenga Gsong is the Columnist of the People’s Shadow