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Xenophobia: Environmental activist shuns South Africa conference

By Idowu Isamotu, Abuja

Following the reappearance of killings of Nigerians in South Africa, a renowned environmental activist and the Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Nnimmo Bassey, on Wednesday announced to boycott the forthcoming conference scheduled to hold between September 10 and 11, 2019, in Cape Town.

Bassey, who announced his in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja premised his decision not to attend the conference tagged: ‘Financing the Future’, upon a solidarity with victims of the ongoing xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

SAHEL STANDARD reports that the environmental activist was invited as a speaker to the conference and as one of the Global Ambassadors.

He disclosed that he had earlier agreed to attend the conference, got visa and air ticket but had to cancel the trip to solidarise with families of Nigerians who have lost their lives in the unfortunate attack.

He said that having watched the spate of hate and xenophobia being played out on the streets of South Africa, he was deeply disappointed that political leaders could allow things to degenerate to the level that was being displayed.

The statement read, “Bassey had agreed to attend the conference, had obtained a visa and received the international air ticket for his participation but had to cancel the appointment as a mark of honour to the victims of the mindless violence of Nigerians and other Africans living in South Africa.”

According to him, the hate and the resultant violence against “others” reminds us of the dark apartheid days and appears to underscore the deep disruptions that swirl under the surface of a deeply unequal society.

Bassey was of the opinion that the violence against Nigerians in South Africa should agitate the entire continent and that the African Union (AU) should urgently step up and play a role in realigning the mindsets of all Africans, irrespective of colour or location.

He said it was time for federal government to draw the line and demand that leaders in South Africa should make efforts to improve the lives of their people and get the nation to work rather than indulge in banditry and shedding of innocent blood.

While condemning the horrible attacks, he noted the radical role Nigeria played in fighting against the apartheid regime in South Africa.

He, however, urged Nigerians not to vent their anger and frustration on South African businesses in Nigeria, stressing that two wrongs never make a right.

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