A cross section of Nigerians online have criticized attacks on South African business in parts of the country. The reprisal attacks according to reports were in the commercial capital of Lagos and parts of Ibadan in the southwest region.
The first report of an attack on a South African business was from Lekki in Lagos where a Shoprite mall was attacked and looted. Major South African firms in Nigeria include: MTN, Shoprite, PEP stores and Multichoice DSTv.
For people commenting on the development on Twitter, it was bad enough that Nigerians had been attacked abroad but that it was equally unacceptable that Nigerians will turn to reprisals.
A number of people stressed that Nigerian employees were the first to be impacted by the chaos and that most of the franchises are actually owned by Nigerian business people.
Police was deployed to premises of target businesses and reports indicates that security action led to the death of one person. As at Wednesday morning, there is high security presence across a number of South African business premises.
The Nigerian government also issued a statement urging citizens to desist from such attacks. The statement signed by Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed said there was no justification for reprisals.
The Federal Government has appealed to Nigerians not to attack South African companies operating in Nigeria in retaliation for the ongoing xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa.
He said that targetting South African companies in Nigeria for attack is, for Nigerians, a classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face, because the investors in such companies, especially MTN and Shoprite, are Nigerians.
Alhaji Mohammed said the majority of the workers in the South African companies operating in Nigeria are also Nigerians, meaning that its Nigerian workers who will be hardest hit if such companies are forced to shut down for fear of attacks.
Nigeria has sent a special envoy to South Africa over the developments, the ambassador was summoned yesterday by Nigeria Foreign Minister and President Buhari is due to meet with counterpart Ramaphosa in October.
Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu also waded into the attacks describing them as “criminal activities against legitimate businesses.”
“Whiles Federal Government takes diplomatic and proactive actions to protect our brothers and sisters, as the Chief Security Officer of Lagos, I will protect the residents of Lagos against any criminal elements flying pretentious nationalist flags,” he added.
As despicable and condemnable as the #XenophobicAttacks in South Africa are, we, Nigerians, must NOT descend to the same level of mindless criminality, despite the provocation. We must instead task both the— Dr. Joe Abah (@DrJoeAbah) September 3, 2019
NigeriaGov& the GovernmentZA to address the issue. #SayNoToXenophobia
I just heard people been robbed fellow Nigerians in lagos and claiming it's a reprisal to the attack of south Africans on nigerians.must we capitalise on ills to hurt people?it's wrong..we can't be working to solve an issue and another brewing at home..stop pls..— Apst Johnson Suleman (@APOSTLESULEMAN) September 4, 2019
You can’t treat injustice against Nigerians in South Africa by rendering Nigerians jobless in Nigeria. Some of these South African franchises are businesses owned by Nigerians. This is a failing of the government. As usual, reacting way too long and too weak!— JJ. Omojuwa (@Omojuwa) September 3, 2019
The scenes in Lagos over #XenophobicAttacks are wrong. I understand the anger but now more than ever #Africa needs to unite for growth & dev. Without collaboration , centered around a commonality, in this case being black Africans, we won't make progress. #CommonSense— Kadaria Ahmed (@KadariaAhmed) September 4, 2019
Boycotting isn’t synonymous with attacking, violence as a reaction to violence (note: self defence doesn’t fall under this category) is violence and should be shunned. #Xenophobia https://t.co/TsaoQWPJpR— . (@FakhuusHashim) September 3, 2019
The attack on South African Business interests is not the best way to handle the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians. Such issues are better handled both diplomatically and politically. The two governments should engage each other quickly with a view to arresting the ugly situation.— Garba Abari (@GarbaAbari) September 3, 2019
My store at Novare, Timekeepers Novare mall, Sangotedo, Lekki, has been broken into, looted and goods worth millions has been carted away with, this is getting out of hand, this happened this evening, am so sad.. Plz share this pic.twitter.com/9VMr3u1W9F— Lily Loveth (@Love96047280) September 3, 2019
I refuse to watch the barbaric butchering of my people in SA. This is SICK. For this reason I will NOT be performing at the upcoming DSTV delicious Festival in Johannesburg on the 21st of September. My prayers are with all the victims and families affected by this.— Tiwa Savage (@TiwaSavage) September 4, 2019