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Fashola Condemns South Africa’s Treatment Of Nigerians At Mandela’s Funeral

December 11, 2013

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State could not hold back harsh words for South Africans while paying tribute to Mandela on Monday. The governor had wondered why in spite of the huge sacrifice made by Nigeria to free South Africa from the claws of imperialists, Nigerians are being subjected to ridicule by South Africans.
According to the governor, “Nigeria paid a huge price for what South Africa has become today. I remember the anti-apartheid campaign was at the core of Nigerian foreign policy.” He then wondered why the British, who supported apartheid, could enter the country without any hassle while Nigerians needed a visa.
He added, “When you look at the part of the world where ovation is now the loudest, it was the part from where the pain was the most vicious. In a very cruel irony, history is being revised.
“The people, who collaborated with the government that enthroned apartheid at that time, are the people that are paying the biggest tribute now.”
The contribution of Nigerians to freeing both South Africa and Mandela was monumental. The commitment of Nigerians to put an end to apartheid in South Africa was so intense that the country was considered a leader of the Frontline States established to achieve democratic majority rule in South Africa. The group raised funds and soldiers to prosecute war against apartheid. Other members included Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Nigeria played a vital role in the establishment of the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid (UNSCAA). This was partly responsible for Nigeria occupying the chair of the committee more than any other country until it was scrapped.
Nigeria also established the Southern African Relief Fund (SARF), which was funded with deductions from the salary of every Nigerian worker, irrespective of rank, both in the public and private sectors as well as donations from ordinary Nigerians, including students.
The fund was disbursed by African National Congress (ANC) leaders and members as they saw fit.
Nigeria also provided scholarships for students from South Africa while South African freedom fighters whose passports were seized by the government were given Nigerian passports. Whenever South Africans protested against injustice, Nigerian students also took to the streets in support and solidarity. Nigerian musicians waxed albums in support of the anti-apartheid struggle, while Nigerian poets wrote poems to condemn racism in South Africa.
Nigeria never let go of any opportunity to denounce apartheid; Commonwealth Games were boycotted while the assets of British Petroleum (BP) were nationalised. Nigeria was a friend to those who opposed apartheid and an enemy to friends of the racists.

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