- Obasanjo claims to have met Nigerians employing South Africans.
- Calls on the South African authorities to punish offenders in line with the law of the country.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has faulted those describing Nigerians living in South Africa as criminals involved in drug peddling and other forms of crime.
Speaking on Saturday during a session with reporters at his Presidential Library residence in Abeokuta, that Ogun State capital, the former president believes that those making such allegations should be thankful to Nigerians, many of whom he says are contributing to the growth of the South African economy.
Reacting to the insinuations in some quarters , Obasanjo said Nigerians in South Africa are not criminals, adding that many of them are genuine businessmen, and genuine professionals making a meaningful contribution to the economy and the social life of their country.
Having met two Nigerians doing legitimate business in South Africa with the turnover running into millions of dollars, Obasanjo stated that these people employed scores of South Africans in the country, and thereby condemned the insulations that foreigners were taking the jobs of South Africans.
While advising Nigerians in the diaspora to be good ambassadors of their country, he cautioned South African authorities against bias while punishing erring foreigners. He added that they should be impartial and offenders should be punished in line with the constitution of the country.
“The point that I made and that I believe should be made is that if a Nigerian in South Africa commits an offence, you don’t have to say ‘this is a Nigerian’; he is a citizen, a resident of your country and please treat him according to the law of the land.
“And the idea of thinking or saying that foreigners are taking your job; that also should be killed because most of these foreigners bring something into the country.”
“As I have always said, Nigerians living outside Nigeria must try to be good citizens of wherever they live. Be a good citizen of where you live and if you break the law, let the law of that land take its course,” Obasanjo added.