Obasanjo, who responded to the xenophobic crisis through a letter to the President of the Inkatha Freedom Party, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, yesterday, condemned the attacks and South African government’s inaction.
In the letter which was made available to journalists through his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, Obasanjo said: “For any African country to encourage or allow or not seriously sanction xenophobia against Africans in their country, is a great disservice not only to the country where xenophobia takes place and the countries of the victims concerned, but also a great disservice to the whole of Africa and black race.”
The former President declared that there was a “need for fence-mending, reconciliation, and wound-binding between South Africa and the countries whose citizens have been victims of xenophobia and Afrophobia in South Africa.”
Obasanjo suggested that the government of South Africa should send emissaries to the countries concerned “to explain, apologise and agree on the way forward for mutual understanding, accommodation, reconciliation, and binding the wound to promote unity, concord, and brotherhood in Africa.”
To him, however, “repatriation of Nigerians from South Africa is obviously not a permanent solution.
At best, it is palliative. But the hurt will still remain for some time.” He kicked against reprisal attacks on South Africans, insisting that “revenge is neither a desirable solution.”