By Samuel Adelaja
The Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA) has condemned in strong terms the “incessant cult clashes and killings among Nigerians living in South Africa”, a trend which it says has negatively impacted on the image of the country.
Expressing their displeasure during the union’s National Congress conveyed by the President, Hon. Adetola Olubajo on September 5, 2020, NUSA laments the dishonor the activities of the rogue groups have caused to Nigerians doing their legitimate businesses in South Africa.
According to Adetola during the virtual meeting, “the dangers posed by the undertakings of the Nigerian cult groups operating in South Africa cannot be over-emphasized. If not for our prompt intervention and engagements, the groups’ activities would have been a yardstick to which legitimate Nigerians doing their businesses in the host country are judged”.
While Nigerians are yet to fully recover from the xenophobic attacks on the citizens in the SA, some notorious elements who flag themselves under the banners of rival gangs, have turned the Southern African country into a battle field for scores settling. “These are Nigerians killing Nigerians in South Africa,” Adetola speaks further. He said “we have not been getting the full support from the constituted authority as most times, some of the criminals are arrested only to be released thereafter without a conclusive investigation. These killings will not stop if we don’t take a decisive step” he added.
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“They are members of secret cults who brought their disagreements from Nigeria to South Africa. Many of them are also used by drug dealers to settle scores among themselves. We have engaged their leadership to put end to these avoidable and senseless killings. Many of the violence cases have been reported to the police.” Adetola Olubajo confirmed via phone conversation with a StarMedia Renaissance correspondence.
“Their actions are either traceable to failed business transactions or illicit engagements” Ike, another speaker at the event says while calling for an urgent intervention that would ensure a lasting solution to it all.
At the congress, themed “Post COVID-19: Survival of Small Businesses”, NUSA also raises concerns over what it termed the sequential and dire consequences of the corona virus pandemic on the survival of small and growing Nigerian businesses in South Africa, thereby reminiscing the possibility of the need for support and engagement that would prevent mass job losses as a consequential effect.
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Speaking during the meeting, Mr. Mathew Okafor, an Online Banking and Information Security Consultant with Investec Bank, South Africa, says “the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses in South Africa is huge”. He however advises business owners to solidify a digital presence for their services since it is now compulsory for all to work from home pending the full curtailing of the pandemic.
NUSA, under the leadership of the President, Hon. Adetola Olubajo, has been at the fore front of a deep rooted engagement towards providing a medium of representation for all Nigerians living and doing businesses in South Africa.
In a phone conversation with StarMedia Renaissance, the Union President, Hon. Adetola Olubajo pointed out some of the achievements of the organization;
“We have succeeded in bringing services closer to our people in remote areas through establishment of ward structures. Also, we created a legal desk that helps Nigerians at no cost on legal matters through of the help of our legal adviser, a practicing attorney in Pretoria”.
Adetola disclosed further that the Union has succeeded also in the creation of hot lines to provide help for Nigerians in distress and respond swiftly to any case of brutality and all forms of harassments.
He added, “We have been able to help repatriate impoverished and sick Nigerians back home by raising fund to purchase ticket for them.”
On “war against all forms of criminal activities by Nigerians in South Africa, he says, we openly campaigned against it and promoted legal means of livelihood among our people.”
“During the heat of Covid-19 pandemic, we mobilized fund to feed need Nigerians across the nine (9) provinces of South Africa and helped affected individuals and families known to us.”
“We also created Economic team to help Nigerian owned small businesses adversely affected by the Covid-19 lock-down regulations Adetola stated.