Nigeria’s Consul General in South Africa, Ambassador Uche Ajulu-Okeke, has described the recent xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other foreigners in that country as unfortunate.
Ajulu-Okeke, who visited affected homes and businesses, told the News Agency of Nigeria on the telephone from Johannesburg, South Africa, that Nigerians suffered heavy losses.
“The Consulate General of Nigeria in South Africa went on a fact finding and direct field assessment of the xenophobic attack sites.
“We visited seven locations in Pretoria West. At the first location, a garage, 29 cars, 80 Nigerian passports, welding and painting appliances and a restaurant were burnt while cash totalling R140,000 (N3.360m) were removed,” she said.
The envoy said 12 of the damaged cars belonged to South Africans while the rest were being repaired for sale.
“The garage employed 26 Nigerians and six South Africans and was doing very well,” she said.
Ajulu-Okeke also said a Nigerian, whose home was attacked, threw his three children all aged below five years over the fence to save them.
“In the process, one of the kids hit the skull on the floor and is now hospitalised.
“Also, the man disarmed an attacker with a machete but was arrested by the South African police for trying to defend himself,” she stated.
According to her, the assailants also attacked a church and stabbed a Nigerian pastor.
The pastor, he said, was also receiving treatment in an hospital.
Ajulu-Okeke said she received information that South Africans were planning to carry out new attacks on Friday and had sent such messages to foreigners.
She said the information had been reported to the police.
“I have made a contingency arrangement for Nigerian women and children to be evacuated to the High Commission in Pretoria and the Consulate in Johannesburg.
She said three Nigerians arrested during the attacks had been released following her intervention.