- Accuses South African Government of failing to protect Nigerians
- As MTN Group says We’ve injected over $16bn into Nigerian operations
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has given 48 hours ultimatum to all South African companies in Nigeria to relocate over the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
The students gave the ultimatum at a peaceful demonstration at some South African companies in Abuja on Thursday.
During the march the students carried a banner, which read: ‘’NANS Against Xenophobic Attacks on Nigerians.’’
While the students marched, the security men stood and watched to ensure law and order.
The President of NANS, Mr Kadiri Aruna, said in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at DSTV office, a South African company, in Wuse 2, Abuja, that Nigerian students had resolved to condemn the attacks.
“We are saying that enough is enough as South Africans have openly attacked and bullied Nigerians.’’
Aruna said that the protest would also serve as a warning to other countries trying to underrate Nigerians.
He said that after 48 hours, if nothing was done, messages would be sent to students in all university campuses to bring down MTN masts all over the country.
Aruna said that DSTV and Shoprite would also be affected as the union had put adequate strategies in place to make the action effective.
“All the South African business empires in Nigeria and their collaborators in Nigeria will be affected.
“I don’t want to say we will be barbaric but we will not be lawful in our actions, we will do it and face the consequences, enough of this rubbish,’’ he said.
Aruna stressed that the poor treatment being meted out to Nigerians was particularly insulting given the role Nigeria played in ending the apartheid regime in South Africa.
“Nigeria contributed 80 per cent of the freedom the South Africans are enjoying today because we saved them from the jaws of apartheid.
“Who is South Africa to humiliate Nigeria? So they forget things so soon, let them go back to history and records to see how much financial assistance and what the country did to save them,’’ he said.
The union president said that the situation was inhuman and for this reason all reasonable Nigerians must react.
“In science they say you use malaria to cure malaria, now you use madness to cure their madness, and that is why we are advising them to leave Nigerian soil before 48 hours.’’
He said that the Federal Government should not wait till the dying minute before evacuating Nigerians from South Africa.
Aruna said it was time for government not to only condemn the attacks but take a firm stand by summoning South Africa’s high commissioner and if possible cut diplomatic ties with that country.
“Government should take extra-diplomatic measures in dealing with the latest deadly assaults because if nothing drastic is done it will become a regular occurrence.
“This is the time to place South Africa where it belongs,’’ he said.
He said that the last time the xenophobic attack happened nothing was done, no action was taken and no arrest was made and that was why South Africans repeated the attacks.
Aruna said it was so unfortunate that during the attacks the South African Government refused to take up its responsibility of securing Nigerians and their properties.
“The government of South Africa is criminally quiet and they say silence is consent, and their police are folding their hands while they are killing Nigerians, this is conspiracy, enough is enough,’’ he said.
He said the peaceful rally would continue and spread across the country.
Over 50 police and, DSS operatives surrounded the DSTV premises and along the street making it impossible to contact any DSTV officials for comments.
In the meantime, despite the challenges arising from the N330 billion fine imposed on it by Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, last year, MTN Group said, yesterday, it had so far injected over $16 billion in its operations in the country.
Chairman/Chief Executive of MTN Group, Mr. Phuthuma Freedom Nhleko, disclosed this when he led a high level delegation to NCC headquarters in Abuja.
Nhleko, who was received by the Executive Vice Chairman, EVC, of the commission, Prof Umar Danbatta, and his team, said the group had faith in Nigeria and would be willing to invest more in the sector in the years to come.
“We had challenges in the past, during the period of the fine, and we are grateful for the role the commission played towards an amicable resolution,” he said.
Nhleko, whose visit to the NCC management was a valedictory one as he steps down as Group Chairman in March, said: “We have a very long way to go and so ask for spectrum which is the oxygen and life blood to navigate this long and tedious investment journey. Without spectrum, the sector will suffocate.”
Nhleko specifically solicited more spectrum allocation and a release of the one that belonged to Visafone, which equity shares MTN acquired in 2015.
In his response, Prof. Danbatta said: “I like to state that our word is our covenant. When we take decisions, we are concerned about the stability of the industry and there is no way we can guarantee it without considering the dominant status of MTN and its obligations.
“If the dominant status is becoming stringent, we are open to engagement, we will be guided by what is happening in the market to ensure the growth and development of the sector.
“The sector has contributed very well to the National Gross Domestic Product, GDP, and has shown remarkable resilience in this recession.”
Danbatta said the NCC made a case for relaxing fiscal policies towards the sector to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, adding that the CBN governor was favorably disposed to request and further engagement, especially towards major players who desired to import equipment to aid deployment of broadband infrastructure services and others.
Additional report from Vanguard