Monday, May 6, 2019 4:58 pm
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has called for a review of the Early Warning Signals (EWS) mechanisms put in place by Nigeria and South Africa Governments.
Dabiri-Erewa told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that “the EWS set up in 2017 did not appear particularly effective for the purpose it was set up.”
The presidential aide, who was reacting to the latest killings of Nigerians in South Africa, said the elements that led to the establishment of the EWS were not working.
Early Warning Signal Unit, a multi-sectoral mechanism, was to afford Nigerians living in South Africa access to the agencies responsible for their safety and security, as well as the mandate to address their complaints in that country.
The Early Warning system, a mechanism which guarantees and protects the interest of Nigerians when such early signals occur was set up in March 2017 by the two countries.
The membership of the Unit comprises the Nigerian Consulate, Nigeria High Commission, the leadership of the Nigerian community in South Africa, South African Ministry of Home Affairs, and South African Police.
The Early Warning Unit would pave way for South Africans to work with law-abiding Nigerians, and would also afford Nigerians the opening through which to give South African authorities information on criminal elements without getting a backlash.
Dabiri-Erewa who expressed displeasure over the renewed killings of Nigerians in South Africa said the present early warning mechanisms system seemed to do little or nothing to prevent the occurrences of such killings.
A Nigerian, Okechukwu Henry, was stabbed to death in Middleburg Mpumalanga Province on May 3 by alleged locals that wanted to snatch his car from him.
Similarly, another Nigerian, Ebuka Udugbo was allegedly killed by the police, although the police claimed he committed suicide in their custody in Cape Town on April 28.
A Nigerian, Mr Tony Elochukwu, was shot dead in Witbank Mpumalanga province by unknown assailant on April 24, while three others were murdered at different locations in South Africa between April 6 and April 24.
Dabiri-Erewa said that with the renewed killings, there was need for an urgent review and implementation of the EWS between the two prominent African countries to forestall further attacks and killings.
“The present mechanisms seemed to do little or nothing to prevent the occurrences of these killings,’’ she said.
According to her, the review and urgent implementation of the mechanism are imperative as the attacks in South Africa are not reducing but instead increasing at an alarming rate.
She also called for thorough investigation into the renewed killing and ensure that the perpetrators were brought to book.