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Xenophobic Attacks Continue in South Africa

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Nigeria
  • Xenophobic Attacks Continue in South Africa

There appears to be little respite for Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora at the moment. While those at home are facing economic challenges due to the current recession, those in South Africa are grappling with xenophobia from the citizens, while Libya has become living hell for many seeking greener pastures and wanting to cross to Europe.

Even those in Europe already, albeit, illegally, face deportation, while palpable fear stares those in the United States (US) in the face as a result of the policies of President Donald Trump.

On Thursday, no fewer than 43 Nigerians were deported from Germany, Belgium and Italy for alleged immigration-related offences and unruly behaviour.

Earlier in the week, 171 Nigerians returned from Libya with a tale of woes after their attempts to cross to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert failed.

Yesterday, the xenophobia protests continued across South Africa, with violence spreading to Pretoria, the country’s capital. The South African police said it arrested 136 people, as the anti-foreigner protesters clashed with African immigrants in the capital.

Acting police chief, Khomotso Phahlane, said the arrests were made during the past 24 hours, but did not disclose how many were South Africans and how many foreigners, according to News 24.

In Pretoria, a march organised by a group calling itself the Mamelodi Concerned Residents escalated into a tense confrontation between protesters and foreigners, some of who carried rocks, sticks and machetes, which they said was to protect their property.

The Police used tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators on both sides, according to Reuters. Video footage from the protests showed angry South Africans chanting and calling for African immigrants to be sent home.

The protesters accused African immigrants, including Nigerians and Somalis, of being involved in crimes, such as drug and sex trades. The incidents have prompted an angry response in Nigeria, where protesters in Abuja on Thursday marched to the offices of South African telecoms firm MTN and satellite cable service provider, DSTV.

Over a quarter of the South African population is unemployed and protesters have blamed foreigners for taking local jobs. The founder of a new anti-immigrant political party called South African First, Mario Khumalo, told news site Times Live that over 13 million foreign nationals were living in South Africa.

But South Africa’s last census in 2011 estimated that only 2.2 million people born outside the country were living there, according to fact checking site Africa Check.

The United Nations put the number of foreign migrants living in South Africa at 3.1 million in 2015. President Jacob Zuma denounced the violence against foreigners in a statement yesterday, saying: “It is wrong to brandish all non-nationals as drug dealers or human traffickers.

“Let us isolate those who commit such crimes and work with government to have them arrested, without stereotyping and causing harm to innocent people.”
The country’s Interior Minister, Malusi Gigaba, told South Africa’s Parliament on Thursday that authorities would crack down on the employment of illegal migrants by local businesses.

South African labour law requires 60 per cent of a company’s employees to be South African or permanent residents of the country. The country has experienced periodic outbreaks of xenophobic violence in the past. In 2015, at least five people were killed in attacks on African and international migrants in Pretoria and Johannesburg, while properties and businesses owned by foreigners were looted and torched.

In Abuja, a civil rights group, the Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), yesterday threatened to embark on series of coordinated actions that would send a strong message to South Africans to refrain from further xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.

CASER’s Executive Director, Frank Tietie, in a statement urged the South African government to match words with action by taking urgent steps to permanently arrest the recurring hate attacks on Nigerians.

CASER stated that its action is irrespective of what the two governments do or fail to do, even as it charged both governments to move beyond rhetoric and ensure that victims of the renewed xenophobic attacks in South Africa were compensated.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market. Contact Samed on Twitter: @sameolukoya

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COVID-19: EU Restricts Nigerians From Entering Europe After Infecting them

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European Union Excludes Nigerian from 54 Nations that Can Enter the Region

The European Union (EU) has excluded Nigeria from the list of 54 nations that will be allowed to enter the region when it eventually opens its external borders in July.

In a statement published on schengenvisainfo.com, the union listed the 54 countries as Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Australia, Bahamas, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Dominica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guyana and India.

Others are Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mauritius, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Paraguay, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Serbia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vatican City, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zambia.

While China, the outbreak nation, South Korea and Japan, two of the most affected nations in the world, will be allowed to enter the Euro-area when external borders reopen in July, Nigeria with fewer cases of COVID-19 has been excluded from the list despite an Italian businessman been the index case.

The Italian businessman had traveled to Nigeria in February 2020 and tested positive to COVID-19 on February 27 after interacting with Nigerians that came in contact with him.

The Nigerian government had allowed citizens of Euro-area to travel into the country despite the rising number of new cases in the region, especially in Italy, France and Germany. However, the revise is the case now, even with Nigeria addressing the situation started by the European Union.

Eric Mamer, the spokesman for the commission, said “The European Union has an internal process to determine from which countries it would be safe to accept travellers.”

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FG Test-Runs Nnamdi Azikiwe, Lagos Airport Ahead of Flight Operations

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FG Test-Runs Nnamdi Azikiwe, Lagos Airport Ahead of Flight Operations

The Federal Government on Saturday conducted a test-run of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport ahead of commercial flight operations following months of lockdown due to COVID-19.

In line with safety protocols, passengers will be duly screened to protect them and the cabin crew.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), provisions were made for hand wash and alcohol-based sanitisers, there were temperature checks, as well as strict compliance to social distancing of about one metre.

Also, the Federal Government has acquired robots to process passengers at the departure hall, according to NTA news.

robot 2

These robots were reportedly tested in Lagos earlier this morning.

robot

It would be recalled that Air Peace had flown 25 empty planes from Lagos to Abuja, Port Harcourt and back to Lagos to ascertain their working condition ahead of flight resumption.

The airline spokesperson, Stanley Olisa, stated on Thursday.

He said, “All the aircraft took to the skies flying to Abuja, Port Harcourt and back to Lagos without passengers.”

Speaking on the airline readiness, Olisa said “We have been operating ‘special flights’ to local and international destinations, and we have more of such flights in the works.

“This accentuates our preparedness for operation restart as our pilots, cabin crew and engineers have been hands-on and are current. So, we are 100 per cent ready to resume.”

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Oxford University Commences First Human Trials of COVID-19 Vaccine in South Africa

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Oxford University Commences First Human Trials of COVID-19 Vaccine in South Africa

Oxford University in Partner with the University of Witwatersrand has rolled out the first human trials of COVID-19 vaccine in Africa in South Africa.

The trials that started on Wednesday will consist of 2,000 volunteers between the age of 18 to 65 years, this will include HIV positive patients. Together they will be administered the vaccine and monitored for 12 months to evaluate how well the vaccine protects them against COVID-19.

Shabir Madhi, a professor of vaccinology at Wits University and leader of the trial said, “Once 60% of the population, especially the adult population, becomes immune, we expect that effective reproductive rate to go under 1, which basically means the virus will still be around, it will still circulate, but its chain of transmission has been interrupted.”

South Africa is now the second country after Brazil to take part in the trial outside the United Kingdom where 4,000 people had previously volunteered.

The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, also known as AZD1222, was developed by Oxford University scientists, that are now working with AstraZeneca on development and production.

The trial has created a mixed feeling among Africans following decades of using Africans as guinea pigs for new medical trials.

Junior Mhlongo, a volunteer who received the vaccine at a hospital in Johannesburg, said: “I feel a little bit scared, but I want to know what is going on with this vaccine so that I can tell my friends and others.”

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