XENOPHOBIA AGAINST NIGERIANS IN SOUTH AFRICA: AN ANALYSIS OF FOREIGN POLICY RESPONSE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA TO THE MENACE

Abstract
This study advocates for a review of Nigeria’s foreign policy from its afro-centric posture in response to the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa. The xenophobic attacks in South Africa have drawn the focus of state and non-state actors in the international system. Among other nationals, the attacks in South Africa have been against Nigerians. A total of 121 Nigerians have been killed since February 2016. Nigeria’s response to these attacks have been conservative and more declaratory than retaliatory, casting her as a weak country in the realm of international politics. This study makes use of secondary data from academic journals, books and newspapers. The study also adopts political realism as its theoretical framework. This study takes the position that Nigeria’s foreign policy should be reviewed from her afrocentric posture, to guarantee the protection of her interests specifically the lives of her citizens in diaspora.

Keywords: Afro-Centrism; Foreign Policy Nigeria; South Africa; Xenophobia

CHAPTER ONE
Introduction
1.1 Background of Study
The concept of foreign policy is ascribed great significance and is an essential characteristic of States. Waltz argues that the existence of a state necessitates the existence of a foreign policy particular to that state through which such an entity will speak with a single voice (Waltz, 2001:179) (Cited in ErbaƟ, 2013). States in the domain of international politics possess certain policies that help guide their interactions with other actors in the foray of world politics. Foreign policies usually encompass outlined objectives which are aimed at managing resources to engender profitable outcomes (Rolenc, 2013). Nigeria’s foreign policy has in past and recent times pronounced an afro-centric posture in diverse issues in world politics. A pointer to this fact is captured in Nigeria’s foreign policy principles and national interest which surround areas such as regional integration in West Africa and Africa, noninterference in the domestic affairs of States, African unity and independence, peaceful resolutions of conflicts and so on (Ezirim, 2011). In support of this argument, Iganga (2013) further reiterates that the nation’s foreign policy has birthed the advocacy for issues at no benefit to herself. This has in diverse ways amounted to inestimable contributions to Africa. One of the notable contributions made by Nigeria as a result of her afro-centric foreign policy is her struggles against the state policy of apartheid as entrenched in South Africa by the minority Dutch Boers beginning from 1948 (Danfulani, 2014).

In recent times, the term Xenophobia has garnered attention in the international system, particular among African States, owing to the killings perpetrated by South Africans against non-nationals (Fayomi, Chidozie, & Ayo, 2015). Through diverse efforts, several scholars have established why these killings are committed. Fayomi, Chidozie and Ayo (2015) establish that recurring decimals of unemployment and poverty among South Africans have given rise to fear of competition from more educated foreigners who might eventually replace the lesser equipped and educated South Africans.

This perpetual racial intolerance and violent attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa has generated local and international condemnation. Advertently, this study thus brings to the fore the core issues of racial intolerance and dislike for foreigners, particularly Nigerians in South Africa, within the broader historical framework of the apartheid regime and the postapartheid socio-economic relations which have over time shaped the existential notions of false community, vague entitlement and vague sense of belonging amongst a number of black South Africans. Indeed, the issue of xenophobia in contemporary South Africa in my view is profound psychosomatic carryovers and the negative product of the apartheid regime that cannot be wished away from the collective consciousness of the people of the rainbow nation. This was as a result of a re-orientation of black South Africans sequel to the post apartheid era. This is even more so, given the attendant dispossession of their heritage and personal pride by the despicable and repugnant apartheid regime, which exploited and segregated them in their own lands. The reality of these historical facts has continued to obstruct the wheel of progress and development especially within the black communities in South Africa; considering the fact that “xenophobia” is a vice that often manifests into a show of aggression against black foreigners by black South Africans. Furthermore, the political crisis of that dark era led to social dislocation, which in turn affected their economic, educational and socio-cultural advancement and developing the required skill sets that would have prepared them for high-level jobs and proper integration into a new South Africa promising a brighter future.

That being said, while xenophobic violence is not a new phenomenon in post-apartheid South Africa, the sudden explosion of violence has been attributed to a combination of factors which include local political pressures over time, increases in prices of basic goods, high levels of unemployment estimated at 25 percent and growing concerns and frustrations at the inability of the South African government under erstwhile President Jacob Zuma to provide essential services to poor people and the resultant economic hardship and tensions surrounding crime and competition over scarce resources by non-national population. The continued socio-economic issues are pushing the average Black South African into extreme poverty in the midst of plenty and there is a high level of dissatisfaction with the scheme of things after the fall of the apartheid regime.

It would be recalled that between May and June 2008, there were 135 separate violent incidents that left people dead, at least 670 wounded and unfortunately, dozens were carnally assaulted and many properties destroyed and looted. At this junction, it would be justifiable to add that the South Africa domestic environment has not been helping matters as it is has not kept privy that it has been hostile to non- nationals particularly, undocumented migrants; and there is implicit culture of impunity – which encourages mob justice in most communities. Interestingly, South African state security institutions such as the police and immigration service show no sympathy to black settlers from other African countries - from the aforementioned, it appears that xenophobia is institutionalized and systemic in South Africa. This attitude generated the questions which include: To what extent can South Africa's inconsistent immigration policy be blamed for xenophobia? Do foreigners really 'steal' South African jobs? Do foreign-owned small businesses have an unfair advantage over those owned by South Africans? What South African government and state security institutions have to comprehend with is that people migrating in search of safer and more prosperous living conditions is as old as man and the right for any person to leave any country is enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

1.2 Statement of the Problem
South Africa‟s domestic environment has been hostile to non-nationals, particularly, undocumented migrants and as such, there is an implicit culture of impunity, which encourages mob justice in most communities. Incontrovertibly and indubitably, this unfriendly disposition towards non-nationals has subsequently established South Africa as one of Africa‟s most dangerous countries to live in. Hence, Nigerians and foreign business owners are usually attacked during xenophobic attacks. At these hazardous and perilous moments in South Africa, xenophobic attacks have inevitably caused a lot of fears and worries, negative feelings in the minds of people living within and outside the country. In fact, pathetically and emotionally, it has drastically discouraged Nigerians and many other foreign investors to come to South Africa. This has subsequently put strain in the relationship between and Nigeria and South Africa; and the country‟s economic development. It has also put the country itself in a state of perplexity, bewilderment and puzzlement. Despite the country having vibrant, brilliant policies and a framework that can handle criminal offences or perpetrators of various attacks – these virtues have not been effectively transformed into reducing xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa. One major problem that arises out of this ineffectiveness is a strenuous relationship between Nigeria-South Africa partnerships over years. Beyond this strenuous relationship is lack of mutual diplomatic and tactful reciprocity on the part of the South Africa government and the country‟s non-state actors for the strategic role Nigeria played in the struggle against apartheid. It is therefore pertinent to assess the pitfalls or effects of xenophobic attacks on South Africa‟s economic state of affairs; and imperative to explore whatsoever diplomatic crisis between Nigeria and South Africa.

1.3 Research objectives
1. Conduct an in-depth literature search on the reasons why xenophobia continues to prevail in South Africa

2. Provide a theoretical analysis on the experiences of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa

3. To analyze the Foreign policy response of the Federal Government of Nigeria on the Xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa.

1.4 Research Questions
1. What are the reasons xenophobia continues to prevail in South Africa?

2 What is the experience of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa?

3 What are the Foreign policy response of the Federal Government of Nigeria on the Xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa?

1.5 Research design and methodology
1.5.1 Qualitative approach
Due to the nature of the study, an explorative research method is used in this study, to discuss squarely the impact of Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians on Nigeria -South Africa Bilateral relationship.

1.5.2 Secondary sources
Secondary data sources for this research were published books, journal articles, magazines, newspapers, government legislations, reports, and company reports obtained from the Internet.

1.6 Limitations of the study
The main limitation to this study was the unwillingness of certain foreign representatives to participate. This was due to the sensitive nature of the topic, as policy regulations of some of the foreign representatives prohibit divulging of sensitive information to the public. The researcher however, is confident that, despite these constraints, the evaluation is able to achieve the aim and objectives of the study as well as provide useful reflections for future improvements.

1.7 Significance of the study
There is a considerable number of published literatures on xenophobic assaults targeted on Nigerians living in South Africa, which left many black foreign nationals wounded, displaced, and a few deaths. These acts of violence were greatly criticized within and outside South Africa at the international level. This study sought to illustrate how acts of xenophobic violence can negatively impact not only on the growth of the country but also on the well-founded international relations that South Africa has established and maintained over the years. The research will contribute to knowledge toward the design of local African policies intended to create egalitarianism through improved social integration. The findings reflect on how inequality has influenced the exclusion of foreigners and some poor black locals from key social and development issues.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 42 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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