Saturday, 4 March 2017

News Release:: Open Letter To Nigerian Parliamentary Delegation To South Africa

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) welcomes the recentresolutions passed by both houses of the National Assembly to engage the SouthAfrican Parliament over the renewed spate of xenophobic attacks on foreignersin that country, particularly Nigerians.

Similarly,we welcome the decision of both houses of parliament to send delegations tovisit South Africa to assess the situation on the ground.

While we commiserate with the thousands of Nigerians who may have suffered one formof attack or the other; we are constrained to draw the attention of theNational Assembly delegation to other variants of xenophobic attacks which arenot in the public domain.

1. There are hundreds of Nigeriansin South Africa who are serving various prison sentences or awaiting trial.From reports available to us, many of these unfortunate Nigerians are subjectedto xenophobic attacks as they were regularly singled out for harassment, onaccount of their nationality  orarbitrarily isolated in solitary confinement, by the South African prisonofficials.

2. Henry Emomotimi Okah is a Nigerian who is currently serving term at Korkstad Prison in the Kwa-ZuluNatal Province of South Africa. The accounts of few persons who have beenprivileged to visit him in prison are gory and unsavoury. He is permanentlylocked up in solitary confinement; a Korkstad Prison policy which is basedpurely on xenophobia and jungle justice. The grim reality is that Henry Okahand many of his fellow compatriots in South African prisons are dying in prison.

3. We therefore call on the Nigerianparliamentary delegation to find time to also visit various prison facilitiesin South Africa where they will indeed, be confronted with the real victims ofxenophobia in South Africa.

Jomo Gbomo

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