‘Mixed feelings among Nigerians in South Africa’

The Nigerian Union South Africa has said though the atmosphere within the Nigerian community in South Africa is calm, there are concerns that xenophobic attacks can reoccur without warning.

The President of the union, Adetola Olubajo, in an interview with our correspondent, stated that the Nigerian and South African governments had intervened in last week’s renewed attacks, in which three Nigerians were injured and one Nigerian’s shop was set ablaze.

According to Olubajo, Nigerians in Witbank, Mpumalanga, where the attacks occurred, and other parts of South Africa, are not apprehensive but have “mixed feelings.”

He said, “There is calm. There is no other incident apart from the one that happened a few days ago in the morning.

“I have been able to interact with a number of Nigerians. The atmosphere is calm; it’s just that people are not so much at rest because they don’t know when next it is going to happen. But they are not apprehensive because using the word ‘apprehensive’ would be a misrepresentation of the feeling.

“But there are mixed feelings; a mixed bag of feelings that anything could happen at any point in time. However, I believe that with the attention of the two governments, it would be very difficult for us to see a big casualties.”

The NUSA president said the Nigerian Mission visited the scene in Witbank to speak to the police.

He added, “They are being responsive since the last attack, unlike before. This time round, there is an improvement. Immediately we put it out that the incident was happening, they went out to speak with the policemen.

“One of the things that the two governments always failed to do was proper integration back to the community. There are disagreements on a people-to-people level, so now, the governments will solve it at a government-to-government level.”

Written by Tobi Aworinde, Punch Newspapers