By Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
Members of the House of Representatives Friday cut short their recess scheduled to come to an end September 12, to urgently address issues related to the renewed hostility against Nigerians resident in South-Africa.
Addressing the emergency plenary held at the House of Representatives wing of the National Assembly, the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who had earlier hinted that the House may reconvene, said though Nigerians have enough reasons to be agitated by the development, there is need to allow government take necessary steps to address the matter.
According to Gbajabiamila, “To those who are sorely tempted to respond to these latest incidents with violence on our streets and destruction in our communities, I call on you to resist all such temptation. Your anger is justified, your pain is rightly felt but we cannot honour the memory of our fallen citizens by setting our streets aflame and our houses asunder.
“We will achieve nothing by destroying businesses that employ our people and provide a living for our families. We will honour the lives of our fallen brothers by making sure that never again will our citizens’ inalienable right to life and liberty be so wantonly denied here at home or anywhere else in the world.
“We will honour the sacrifices of the fallen by devoting ourselves once more to a covenant of service to one another, certain in the knowledge that our greatest protection against such harms is peace, progress and prosperity in the homeland.”
He noted that the leadership of the House commends the actions so far taken by President Muhammadu Buhari through the Minister of Foreign Affairs in communicating the government’s extreme displeasure at what has occurred and taking action to see to the return of those of our citizens who are willing to come home at this time.
“We will further ask that the president direct the Ministry of Health to assist the families of the bereaved in expediting the return of loved ones who have lost their lives in these unfortunate events.
“The leadership of the House of Representatives will also shortly invite the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa, the Chairman of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission and other stakeholders to jointly consider the causes of these latest incidents of organised mass violence and murder of our people. We intend not only to determine the causes of these latest events but also to assess and account for the losses of life and property that have occurred.
“This will allow the government to more accurately demand reparations to compensate our citizens who suffered in this recent orgy of violence. The House of Representatives is ready to authorise legal funding for those citizens who wish to take legal action against identified perpetrators of the violence as well as those who sponsored them or permitted their actions to occur and to continue.
“We recognise that there are many places in the world right now where internal crises and conflicts have made the terrain unsafe for our citizens there. The House of Representatives will work with all the stakeholders within and outside government to evolve and implement a plan to evacuate our people from these places and as much as possible keep them out of harm’s way,” Gbajabiamila stated.