The meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa and National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has ended with a resolution that MTN NigeriaMultiChoiceShoprite and other South African companies in Nigeria should stop operation and quit the business environment within seven days.

These companies were given seven days ultimatum to shut down their businesses and leave Nigeria pending the time the South African government end the killing of Nigerians in South Africa. The continuous crackdown on Nigerians and other African nationals by South Africans has given rise to intense tension between both countries since the targeted Xenophobic attack began some years back.

Speaking on behalf of NANS, the President, Comrade Danielson Akpan, urged Nigerians living in South Africa to cancel their stay, while advising South Africans in Nigeria to leave Nigeria as well, as the group plans to start treating South Africans in the country the same way Nigerians are being assaulted, killed, leaving their properties destroyed or stolen.

“Behold, the killings have continued and have even assumed a more dangerous dimension. This worsening development calls for a swift reaction. Importantly, we want to call on Nigerians in South Africa to reconsider their stay in South Africa and return home.

“Having gone through the first phase without any remorse or practical action to end xenophobic attacks in South Africa, we wish to announce that Nigerian students have decided to take on South Africans same way they are doing to our people. We have seen the helplessness of the South African government in reigning in on their citizens and wish to condemn in unambiguous terms the continued pampering of those involved. Every nation has its own internal crisis hence no citizen of other nation should be sacrificed for criminal activities of South Africans or any other.

“Since the economic prosperity of Nigerians can no longer be tolerated and their lives secured in South Africa, there’s no need also to condone the continued flourishing of South African businesses and her citizens in Nigeria.”

Quit Notice: Danielson Akpan also asked all South African companies in Nigeria to vacate the country.

“We, therefore, wish to officially ask all South African-owned businesses in Nigeria to relocate in the next seven days. We specifically want Multichoice, MTN, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Shoprite and others to close their businesses in their own interest within seven days.

“In the same vein, we request that South African nationals in Nigeria should return to their home country as we can no longer watch them enjoy peaceful living in Nigeria while our citizens in their country continue to pay with dear lives for no reason other than being resourceful and flourishing in their businesses and career.”

The failure of diplomacy: He further said, “We have consistently maintained that diplomacy has failed in addressing the xenophobic question. We have heard and seen diplomatic measures put in place without any sincere action taken by the South African government. We have seen again that the people of South Africa are not committed to peaceful coexistence with other nationals, hence the wanton killings and destruction of other Africans.

“The Central Coordinating Committee of the entire students’ movement in Nigeria is hereby activated for mass action. We thank all those who have shown genuine concerns in ending the xenophobic madness and wish to reassure our citizens everywhere across the globe of our determination to fight this to a logical conclusion.”

What does this mean for SA firms: There had been argument in the past regarding how important Nigeria and Nigerians are to South African businesses within Nigeria, with some stating that the relevance of Nigerians will be greatly felt if these businesses were shutdown in Nigeria. This had always fueled the ‘South African businesses must go’ chant, but a recent fact-check done by Nairametrics discovered that the bulk of these companies’ revenue isn’t in Nigeria, as explained by the video below;

Nairametrics had previously reported that NANS planned a protest against South African businesses operating in the country last month, July 2019. Some of the protests scheduled to hold nationwide were, however, stopped by the police.

Shortly afterwards, Model and founder of Oduduwa Classics, Tayo Faniran and his friends were stopped by some South African police officers on their way to a business meeting. A video on Tayo’s Instagram Live showed that more than two Police officers held him down while another officer strangled him in an attempt to prevent him from capturing the assault.

His harassment by the Police officers occurred days after the media practitioner condemned the South African rapper, Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, popularly known as ‘AKA‘, for the comment he made after South Africa lost to Nigeria in the African Cup of Nations tournament. Faniran had stated that AKA’s tweet was motivated by Xenophobia. Faniran was later arrested before the Nigerian Government secured his release days later.

Government’s intervention: Abike Dabiri, however, advised NANS to exercise patience and not proceed with their clampdown on South Africans and their businesses, stating that President Buhari and the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa were planning to meet over the Xenophobic attack in South Africa.

She condemned the attack on Nigerians, stating that the killing was becoming pathetic,

“Really it’s pathetic, it’s sad. As we said before, until about 2016, we have had 118 Nigerians killed in South Africa. Between 2018 and today, 88 Nigerians have been killed in South Africa. Out of this 88, 25 were cases of Nigerians killing Nigerians and we have had the case of Mrs Elizabeth Chukwue who was murdered in her hotel room.

“We know that every country has its own challenges, we have ours and they have theirs. But killing other people is not the solution to anything. If a Nigerian commits a crime, you deal with the person.”