South African firms suffer revenge attacks after xenophobia

MTN Nigeria

MTN Nigeria

from OKORO CHINEDU in Lagos / EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja 
Nigeria Bureau
LAGOS – SOME South African multinational corporations in Nigeria have been caught up in retaliatory attacks following the xenophobic violence.

Retail group Shoprite, mobile network firm MTN, and entertainment group Multichoice were targeted on Wednesday (today).

Shoprite disclosed several stores in South Africa, Nigeria and Zambia were unable to open due to protest action and extensive damage has been done to several supermarkets since Tuesday.

The retailer said it was highly concerned about the acts of xenophobic violence against foreign nationals that sporadically flared up and the resultant rhetoric of intolerance that is leveled against foreigners.

It noted this was creating a platform for criminals to exploit.

Shoprite stated that as a company with deep African roots, employing thousands of African nationals in 15 countries on the continent, it appealed to an end to xenophobia across the continent.

“We remain committed to engage with Government (both Nigeria and South Africa), industry and consumer groups so that decisive action is taken against those involved in violent crimes and intimidation against foreign nationals as well as to convey our strong position against xenophobia,” Shoprite stated.

Nigerians ran amok in the commercial city of Lagos since Tuesday.

Property in the city was destroyed and a Shoprite outlet in the Lekki zone looted.

MTN Nigeria, which is the South African company’s biggest entity, decried the violence and retaliation.

Three outlets were closed because of tensions.

“MTN Nigeria strongly condemns hate, prejudice and xenophobia and reiterate our unequivocal condemnation of all violence. We are against all forms of bigotry and discrimination. They should have no place in society.”

Multichoice was also affected.

It suffered a further setback when prominent Nigeria artist, Tiwa Savage, pulled out of a music festival the entertainment company is organising for September 21 in Johannesburg.

John Ugbe, Multichoice Nigeria Chief Executive, appealed for dialogue, peace and unity.

“This is a sombre period for every African and beyond, and we urge all our customers, followers and stakeholders to shun violence,” Ugbe said

On Tuesday, Nigeria voiced its concern over the attacks of its nationals in South Africa.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Moroe, to express the government’s displeasure.

Zambia withdrew their senior national soccer team scheduled to play Bafana Bafana in protest for xenophobic violence.

In Zimbabwe, the locals were threatening South African Airways, banks such as Standard, Nedbank and supermarkets like Pick n’ Pay, Spar among others.

– CAJ News

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