The Nigerian Citizens Association in South Africa (NICASA) on Sunday underscored the need for Nigerians to stand up for national democracy, despite the challenges they face.
NICASA General President Benjamin Okoli said in a statement issued on the sidelines of activities marking the 61st anniversary of Nigeria’s independence.
Okoli quoted the Consul General of Nigeria in South Africa, Mr. Abdukmalik Ahmed, who also reiterated the need for Nigerians to do everything within their framework, to defend democracy in their homeland.
“We must always remember our journey to statehood, going back in time to celebrate our Founding Fathers who made enormous sacrifices to build the freedom and liberty we enjoy today.
“There is a need to be consistent in protecting our democracy and our independence, despite the enormous challenges we face as a nation. With our collective efforts and democratic commitment, we will surely win, ”Ahmed said.
Okoli also cited Amb. HM Manta, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to South Africa, praised the federal government’s achievements so far, calling them encouraging.
“The achievement by the government and the strategic plans to launch Nigeria into greatness is commendable, the government in tackling crimes, such as Boko Haram, banditry and other crimes against our nation.
“Despite the proliferation of weapons in Nigeria due to instability in the Sahel region, particularly in Libya, the government’s commitment to tackle these crimes is commendable.
“I urge Nigerians to respect the laws and become good ambassadors for our dear country Nigeria,” Manta said.
Okoli explained that the Nigerian envoy, the consul general, as well as Nigerians living in South Africa were joined by supporters in Illovo, Johannesburg, to celebrate the anniversary of Nigeria’s independence.
According to him, the celebration included music by award-winning Nigerian artist Kunle Ayo as well as local Igbo and Hausa groups who also performed to add color to the event.
“There was also a lecture given by the head of the Khoi San community on deepening person-to-person relations between South African citizens, in order to promote mutual understanding of the cultural similarities between the two countries and the need to prevent crises, such as xenophobia.
“Few South Africans understand Nigeria and the few who do do not create the awareness necessary to promote unity and peace between the two citizens, hence the relentless xenophobic attacks against Nigerians .
“We need more commitments to foster peace and understanding between South Africans and Nigerians; NICASA congratulates Nigeria on its anniversary of independence and wishes our dear country greatness, unity and peace, ”Okoli said in the statement. (NAA)