In the wake of the most recent xenophobioc attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners resident in South African, there have been calls for Nigerians to boycott South African business interests. If you were to port from MTN, which network would you go to?
In the last few days, the news from South Africa has been very unpalatable, not to mention distressing, for Nigerians. In another wave of xenophobic attacks, foreigners, Nigerians inclusive, have been assaulted and killed. Understandably, this has generated some anger in Nigerians. Part of the anger is from what appears to be the lack of will power on the part of the South African security agencies and government in general to protect Nigerians living in their country.
Shall we sail?
There has been talk about dealing with South Africa once and for all. Some have been amusing (though this subject is no joking matter). For example, there are those who would have the Nigerian Navy sail to the coast of South Africa and show them that we are the “giant of Africa”.
Unfortunately, Nigeria’s ocean-going warships are not going to be able to sail. NNS Aradu, the superb frigate that was once our flagship, is out of commission. NNS Thunder, which replaced it only recently, was inoperable for two years and only just completed repairs last year. To be honest, one doubts the operational state of the old US Navy Coastguard cutter that was transferred to the Nigerian Navy in 2012.
And the operational state of the next line of ships, the navy’s corvettes, is also in doubt. If we are to tell ourselves the truth, Nigeria’s military is in no shape to take on South Africa’s – and one says that as a highly patriotic Nigerian. But the big point is that Nigeria isn’t at war with South Africa, so no warships are sailing down the coast even if we had all the warships in the world.
Away from the drums of war, there are those who are agitating for reprisal attacks. And to this group, one says, No. Violence is not the way forward. Already, there are reports that attempts were made on some Shoprite outlets in Lagos. Acts of violence will only make matters worse.
One, these “South African” businesses operating in Nigeria are mostly franchises. Which means that they are owned by Nigerians and run under license of the brand. For example, MTN Nigeria has Nigerian ownership. Beyond ownership, most of the staff at MTN, Shoprite, MultiChoice (Dstv and GOtv), and other South African brands operating in the country are Nigerian.
Any acts of violence against them means that Nigerians bear the brunt of the suffering. And even if this were not the case, violence is still not the way forward. We must resolve our issues via non-violent means. This is an appeal to Nigerians across the length and breadth of the country to refrain from violence. We are pained, yes. But we will not descend to violence.
Will you port?
Lastly, there are those who argue that boycott actions (even if temporary) against South African businesses operating in Nigeria is one way to force the hand of the South African government to protect Nigerians in their country. Not a bad idea, especially as no violence is involved. One doubts that Nigerians will follow through though.
But that brings us to the point of this blog post. If such a boycott were to happen and you were looking to port from MTN Nigeria, in protest, which network would you move to? Vote. Have your say. Feel free to vent about the xenophobic attacks in South Africa as well. Just don’t preach/incite violence. Any comments inciting violence will be deleted. Let’s keep things civil.