Representatives of Nigeria, South Africa and other citizens’ groups in other parts of Africa have signed a peace accord to spark off a process leading to non-violent means of settling differences and discouraging the wave of xenophobia currently rocking South Africa.
The peace accord, which was initiated by Nigerians In Diaspora Integration Agency (NIDIA), was signed on Thursday in Abuja with the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Lulul Mnguni, as observer.
According to the President-General, NIDIA, Ms. Caro Nwosu, who signed on behalf of Nigeria, there is no alternative to peace through non-violent dialogue to foster unity on the continent while supporting the efforts of all stakeholders to wipe out xenophobia in South Africa.
Nwosu, who also presented a letter to the South African president Jacob Zuma through Mnguni, expressed concern that the xenophobic attacks were threatening to derail the hard fought freedom, democracy and peace not only in South Africa but Africa as a whole.
“We are here to show our love and concern for what is happening on the continent. We in diaspora are concerned about what is happening in South Africa through derailment of peace and violence extremism.
“We stood tall and united in times of need all these years, and that is why our hearts bleed over what is happening,” she said.
Nwosu insisted that there was no alternative to non-violence, which she said, was the only way to mend a broken community and seek to implement the law by appealing to the conscience of the great decent majority who through blindness, fear, pride, and irrationality had allowed their conscience to sleep.
In a letter NIDIA presented to Zuma, the group recommended amongst other things: mass population re-orientation by various means, deliberate government renunciation of hate speeches by political and traditional leaders, and control of the social media in moments of crisis.
Responding, Ambassador Mnguni gave further assurances that the xenophobic attacks would be quelled.
He called for unity and vowed that xenophobia and any other forms of violence would be wiped off from South Africa and the rest of the world.
He said: “Inasmuch as we are concerned, we are being strengthened by being together. That is why we are here today to ensure that we are united together to emphasise on peace through dialogue.
“This is what Nelson Mandela emphasised that despite the fact that he spent almost three decades in prison, he still embraced peace. So I say to you, we will remove xenophobia and any other forms of oppression from the face of the earth.”
The peace accord was signed by the representatives of Nigeria, South Africa, West Africa, North Africa, East Africa and Central Africa.