Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, has criticsed the federal government for allegedly not taking steps to end the extrajudicial killing of Nigerians in South Africa.
In a statement on Sunday, the lawyer said the government “has not gone beyond the regular condemnation” of the killings while also accusing the South African government of inaction.
At least 121 Nigerians are reported to have been killed in South Africa in the past 18 months, usually in xenophobic attacks, the most recent being Chibuzo Nwankwo who was murdered last week.
Falana said despite the killings, governments of Nigeria and South Africa have “deliberately refused to accept the jurisdictional competence of the African court on human and people’s rights by making a declaration in line with article 34 (6) of the protocol for the establishment of the court.”
“Thus, by refusing to make the declaration, both countries have made it impossible for their nationals whose human rights have been violated by state actors to seek legal redress in the court,” the statement read.
“On its own part, the government of Nigeria has not gone beyond the regular condemnation of the brutal killings. Up till now, the government has not deemed it fit to take bold diplomatic measures to guarantee the security of the life and property of every Nigerian citizen living in South Africa.
“However, the lackadaisical attitude of the Nigerian government to the brutalisation of Nigerian immigrants in South Africa is not surprising in view of the impotence of the State to curb the incessant killing of innocent citizens at home by terrorists, herders, armed robbers, kidnappers and other bandits.”
The senior advocate of Nigeria added that to stop the extrajudicial killings, government must “pressurise” the South African government to bring all culprits to book forthwith and compensate victims.
He urged the current administration to stop “exposing Nigeria to ridicule” by making the declaration to facilitate access to the African court without further delay.
“We are therefore compelled to call on the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights to conduct an enquiry into the killings of African immigrants in South Africa and make appropriate recommendations to the African Union,” he said.