South Africa dishes out another spit on Nigeria’s face after “District 9”… as Minister apologised

Nigeria-South Africa flagpins

A recent Diplomatic stand-off between Nigeria and South Africa, Africa’s two leading economic forces, political heavyweights and Democratic system torch bearers appears to have been doused through an apology offered by South Africa to Nigerian government in Johannesburg on Thursday.

The South African government  issued the  apology to the Nigerian government over the deportation of its citizens from the Johannesburg Airport, a gesture that Nigeria  reciprocated  with speedy alacrity exposing long nursed reservations between the two African coutries.

With  Nigerian authorities responding with such speed,  diplomatic  circles hinted that Nigeria had been pushed to the wall despite her usual big brother roles in the past when she brushes aside all contemptuous actions , demonstrated  high level of maturity and big brotherhood towards South Africa.

However, Nigeria Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru, speaking to members of the National Assembly on Tuesday, linked the deportations to what he called the “xenophobia” faced by Nigerian immigrants living in South Africa who had been subjected to SA police harassment in their daily lives in the country.

“South Africans will know we are very serious with this matter and that any deportation of any Nigerian, we will meet it with equal reciprocal measure,” Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru told a hearing at the National Assembly late on Tuesday.

“What you see playing out is … xenophobia by South Africans against all Africans, not just Nigerians, including even those from their neighbouring countries,” he said.

Many of the arrests have been revealed to have no solid reasons, except for intentional humiliation and unwarranted hatred towards Nigerians and many other African citizens.

Diplomatic row between the two countries had been played down for long as issues concerning unwarranted killings and illegal arrest and imprisonment of Nigerians in South Africa  have for long been reported, with Nigerian government playing a big brother diplomatic  resolve.

South Africa leader Jacob Zuma

Speaking on the current stand-off, South Africa’s Deputy Foreign Minister,Ibrahim Ibrahim on behalf of South Africa said: “We wish to humbly apologize to them, and we have,” .

Ibrahim told reporters in Johannesburg: “We are apologizing because we deported a number of people who should not have been deported.”

In the hurriedly put together Press conference organised to douse the tension, two officials from the Nigerian High Commission were invited to SA’s  foreign ministry. He officials however  refused to comment though a joint statement was signed in which it was confirmed that there was a   reciprocation of a deportation gesture.

The two countries however said they would not  want the current impasse  sour the sweet relationship they have shared for long

On March 2, South Africa deported 125 Nigerians who, according to SA airport health authorities, carried fraudulent yellow fever cards.

Since then, authorities in Lagos, raising health concerns, have deported South Africans in a similar gesture..

Goodluck Jonathan

Ibrahim however caved –in to agree that  South African airport authorities did not properly check to determine whether the cards were authentic, which sold the situation out as beyond the issues of yellow fever cards.

According to him, South Africa was considering reopening a health clinic at the airport to ensure such deportations are not repeated.

“We are not a xenophobic country,” Ibrahim said Thursday.

A wave of violence in 2009 that left scores injured and about 62 people dead further fueled the xenophobic claims. Most of those attacked during the violence were foreigners, Nigerians inclusive, competing for housing and jobs. Many protests by youths in South Africa claimed Nigerians were taking up their available opportunities, especially jobs and social activities.

Nigeria, a nation of Cannibals.. says South African Film.

It is not the first time that South Africans will spit on Nigeria face with derision.

In 2009, a contemptuous attempt by South Africa to bastardise Nigeria, depicting the most populous black nation as a country of criminal gangsters and cannibals was criticised by many across the world.

The systematic Nigeria  image destruction was portrayed in a movie about aliens and discrimination produced by Sci fi movies, handled by Sony Entertainment of South Africa.

The movie titled, “District 9” was  screened in some part of the world and its setting is about aliens and discrimination.

It has the Nigerian main characters acting as antagonists to societal progress.

In the Unite States alone, the movie  capped up about US$37million (Thirty Seven Million US Dollars) as it debuted in the last weekend of August 2009.

More, Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo was deeply embedded in the film, which played on the intelligence of 160million Nigerians by spelling Obasanjo’s name as Obesandjo, a main character and the  head of a gangster.

The South African based Sci-fi movie has been vehemently rebuffed by Akunyili who has requested for unreserved apology from Sony  Entertainment, the producer  of the movie.

‘Obesandjo’ acted as a main Nigerian gangster in the film.

Associated Press has reported the movie as one of this summer’s biggest blockbusters.

In one scene, ‘Obesandjo’ tries to cut off and eat the arm of the film’s protagonist, in an attempt to gain his supernatural powers.

In one scene, Obesandjo tries to cut off and eat the arm of the film’s protagonist, in an attempt to gain his supernatural powers.

In others, Nigerian prostitutes were seen courting alien customers to lure them into sexual acts.

It was a big hit which gave Nigeria international sworn enemies opportunities to savour the image mutilation of a nation whose progress was being so  internationally sabotaged.

Disgraceful: A Nigerian woman based in South Africa was molested to a state of unconsciousness for holding a poster during a protest
Associated Press has reported the movie as one of this summer’s biggest blockbusters.