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Nigeria Seeks Compensation For Xenophobic Attacks In  South Africa

Nigeria says it will seek compensation for its citizens who were victims of the recent violence in South Africa.

Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Ojo Maduekwe says the Nigerian mission in South Africa has already compiled a list of victims. The minister’s statement comes on the heels of a trip to Abuja by South African deputy president Pumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who apologized for the attacks.

Herman Hanekom is an independent researcher specializing in contemporary African affairs. He says Nigeria has no case against the South African government. “I cannot see how you can hold a government accountable for crimes committed by its citizens in a situation where there was no encouragement as of yet that in fact the government initiated the xenophobic attacks; there is no proof of that.”

Hanekom says the South African authorities reacted promptly to the attacks. “To the best of my knowledge the police did, outnumbered as they are, the best they could do under the circumstances. So I would say it is a false statement to say that the government did not try to do anything; the police acted as they were supposed to do.”

Hanekom says it is unlikely more countries will press for compensation against South Africa. “If such a case comes to court and Nigeria wins, of course then it will, but the questions of the moment is, to the best of my knowledge, there has been no filing at any court in South Africa by the Nigerian government for such a case to be entered into.”