XENOPHOBIA: Nigerians find safe havens in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, others

Instead of returning to Nigeria with nothing to show for their long stay away from the country, some Nigerians are relocating to other African countries to continue their busineses.

While the Peace Airline continues to evacuate Nigerians from South Africa, up to 30 per cent of the population affected is returning home while a great number of them have already taken their business activities to other African countries. Saturday Telegraph gathered that the population of Nigerians in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Liberia and Gabon has increased as most of the Nigerians resident in South Africa have relocated to those countries. In a telephone interview with some of them from Awka, Ozubulu and Ihiala, they lamented that they lost a lot in South Africa and could not come home to start life all over again. On his part, Mr. Jude Enukeme, lamented that: “What are we coming home to do? We left Nigeria because the environment is not friendly for business and our aim is to better the lives of our people when we return.

“But if we return home now, where do we start? If the Nigerian government wants us to come home, what arrangement has government put in place for us to continue our business?” “Are we returning home to face the same problem that made us leave the country? I have been in South Africa for two years now and my fortunes started changing for the better before the xenophobia problem and lost almost everything.” Speaking also, Mr. Matthew Nwokoye, an auto mechanic, contended that he sold his workshop in Nigeria and all that he had to go to South Africa, lamenting that on his return to Nigeria, he had no place to start life again after four years of searching for greener pasture. He said: “As I speak with you I am in Zimbabwe and I have told my wife and parents not to worry about me, I will be fine.

I sold my mechanic workshop to go to South Africa and I cannot come home a failure and a liability to my family members. “The crisis in South Africa has opened our eyes to discover that it is not only there that one can do business and more than 80 of us are now in the country from South Africa and we have bright chances of making it and I can assure you that we will make it.” In countries like Liberia, Mozambique and even Gabon, Nigerian’s population has doubled as was confirmed by Mr. Chukwunonye Ikeagwu, a motor parts dealer. He said: “There are so many of them here in Mozambique and they are willing to work and do business here.

The problem with most of these countries is that their citizens are lazy and they enjoy a lot of welfare from their government so they are not interested in working. “Very soon Nigerians will take over all the jobs in these countries even in Gabon and Liberia because Nigerians are strong and hardworking. “Some stopped over in Mozambique before entering other countries in East and South Africa, but I pray they do not abuse the privileges that we are already enjoying in those countries.” Speaking with some parents in Anambra State, they confirmed that their relatives are not returning home. “My son and his cousin called us to tell us that they are not coming home because they have nothing to show because of the problem in South Africa,” a parent said.

They said they had relocated to Mozambique while some said that they were now in Liberia and Zimbabwe to continue their business in those countries. At Ozubulu where the popular South African business man, known as Bishop comes from, villagers confirmed that most of their sons and daughters had refused to join the returnees.

“They are still in South Africa and most of them said they are remaining in South Africa and making business contacts in other parts of Africa,” a resident volunteered. Meanwhile, most hotels in those countries where Europeans reside have been populated by females perceived to be Nigerians who are alleged to be laughing all the way to the bank from commercial sex business.

“There are so many of our girls in those countries now and they prefer to do business in hotels where the whites come to relax and unfortunately, most of them are graduates from our universities and polytechnics. “They are paid in dollars and they have already formed a kind of union which understudies the number of Nigerians in every city including the men in order to avert any xenophobic attacks by the indigenes,” Mr. Joseph Iweha told Saturday Telegraph. He added: “Such name like Oduduwa Co-operative Society, Ikenga Investments, Niger Delta Brotherhood are organisations aimed at keeping a tab on their kinsmen doing business in those countries with known Nigerian citizens in those countries heading these organizations”. These bodies, according to Iweha, will be registered with the local authorities presenting details of the kind of businesses Nigerians in those areas are doing and also to checkmate any attack by host communities.


The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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  1. Wow! 9ja no dey carry last.

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