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*Communique/Minute Of S. Africa-Nigeria Binational Relations
By Ekwealor ChineduDATE: October 27, 2009. VENUE: Malherbe Dining Hall- University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg Campus, South Africa. TIME: 11:00 am. MASTER OF CEREMONY: Prof. Francis Nwonwu Africa Institute of South Africa Head: Sustainable Development Research. PANELISTS: Mr Edward Lebeko, SA High Commission Abuja, Nigeria. Prof. Timothy Fasheun Dept of Environment, South Africa. Mr Chris Ifeacho President Association of Nigerians in South Africa Pietermaritzburg Branch. STUDENT DELEGATES/ DISCUSSANTS: Comrade Ekwealor Chinedu Thomas President: National Association of Nigerian Students in South Africa (NANSSA) University of South Africa. Thabilsile Gwamanda Deputy President- local SRC Pietermaritzburg. University of Kwazulu Natal. Masika Mndebele, Secretary General- central SRC University of Kwazulu Natal. SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT- MISSION AND VISION — Edward Lebeko; — Ms Sibongile Mabasa Department of international Relations & Cooperation Nigeria & Ghana desk.
That South African government through its commission in Nigeria seeks to understand Nigeria by establishing relationship between the two states. That South African government observed that the bi-national relations between Nigeria and South Africa have not been effective and efficient at all levels/ tiers of government. That there are problems and weaknesses that the bi-national relations do experience, some of which are: relations between the two states have been operatives at the Federal levels. That, civil societies have not been incorporated into the relations as such the expectant awareness is never disseminated. That there are many Universities in Nigeria, that there are many graduates in Nigeria, that there are many experts in Nigeria but there few visible contributions the above named have made towards Nigeria’s development. That there is a need for Nigerians in South Africa to strengthen themselves by forming collective units through which their contributions in South Africa could be visible so as to mitigate stereotype. That South African government in Nigeria uses the platform of governors’ forum to make necessary contribution, and relaying of complaints or appreciating good gesture through the same.
That the launching of the said Nigeria-South Africa Friendship Association is aimed at helping to harnessing the relationship between the two states. That South Africa government recognises the importance of Nigeria and its contributions to, during the apartheid regime. Mr Edward praises the financial and moral support the Nigerian government rendered especially the scholarships that were granted to South African citizens during that period, citing former president Thabo Mbeki as one of the beneficiaries. That Nigeria’s status as non- permanent member of the United Nation’s Security Council is of huge benefit for the continent. That South Africa will collaborate with Nigeria to produce positive results for the continent through Nigeria’s non-permanent status in the United Nations.
That the bi-national relation will improve trade relations and lessen the xenophobic tendencies. That South Africa government need assistance of countries with longer years of experience from independence to deal with her shortcomings in inter-state relations. That ‘Ghana Must Go’ a common sack use in Nigeria derived its name from Nigeria’s intolerance towards Ghana at a given time in the past. That Nigeria has overcome that, and accommodates Ghanaians today. That South Africa can overcome xenophobia through interactions and engagements. That the then Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) was to empower all blacks in South Africa but failed, that the present Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) will improve on the deficiencies of the BEE. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of South Africa
That exchange programme among students to be introduce, to avail students the opportunity of working in their field of study, allowing Nigerian students who study agricultural science to come to South Africa to do internship in large scale commercial farm in South Africa. That through the bi-national relations, South Africa and Nigeria should improve on their VISA regime to allow each other citizenship and active participation in government within the frame works that would be mapped out for the VISA regime. NIGERIA GOVERNMENT MISSION AND VISSION- — Prof Timothy Fasheun That technical know-how between the two countries must be advanced in order to tap from the human resources the two states are endowed with, adding that, if lion is feed in the cage from birth, it would never know how to hunt when grown. That Nigeria must learn to care for its citizens because that is what democracy supports. Speaking to Nigerian representative, Fasheun maintains that Nigeria can learn from South Africa how to care for own citizens. That the educational system must be improved to give the best, that going to the United State of America and United Kingdom and other countries make travelling African children lose African cultural values on transit.
That Nigerians have made positive contributions to South Africa, including the Durban National Stadium which Nigerian architect Prof A. Adebayo was part of the realisation. That National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) becomes an internationally oriented programme to run between Nigeria and South Africa, to allow Nigerian Students to do their service year in South Africa and South Africa in Nigeria. That South Africa must learn to be more accommodating and frustrate xenophobic ideas, that Nigerian government fought apartheid regime with all it has. That Nigerian students pay levies to sustain the struggle against apartheid and did modules on South African Zulu warriors to acquaint Nigerian citizens with the ongoing of the evil of apartheid. EXPERIENCE OF NIGERIAN COMMUNITY IN PIETERMARITZBURG- — Chris Ifeacho That, there is no enough information, interaction and relationship at the grassroots level, and that lack of information at grass root, hinders progress at top levels. That Nigerians in Pietermaritzburg, engage in outreach programme which enables the host commons to interact with the Nigerian nationals in the city, as a way of strengthening relationship between the two states. That, Nigerians in Pietermaritzburg make financial contribution and make donations to the fatherless and motherless children in France, a commitment since 2007 as a means of grassroots bi-national relations.
That Nigerians in Pietermaritzburg, have been in contact with the immigration department of the South Africa Home affairs to appraise the performance of Nigerians in the city of Pietermaritzburg. That, Nigeria still faces stereotype, and that stereotype especially of lack of information can cripple potential relationship between two states. That, Nigerian-South Africa citizens with ID books are still denied job opportunities because they were first Nigerians. That for bi-national relations to work, passing across necessary information that can enhance relationship is vital, that every Nigeria is not a drug dealer or illegal immigrant. That many Nigerians are well meaning. STUDENTS DELEGATES NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIAN STUDENTS IN SOUTH AFRICA (NANSSA) — Comrade Ekwealor Chinedu Thomas That education is central to the training of mind and character of people, and trained mind and characters do well in relationship than those who were deprived the opportunity to be refined in a formal education setting like the present day Universities.
That academic advancement and progress can bring about political development and economic growth and cordial interstate relations for the states of South Africa and Nigeria, as such educational development between the two states must be motivated by both political and economic considerations. That the fees undergraduate Nigerian students are paying grouped and categorised Nigeria as an outsider in South Africa. That, Nigerian students do not pay the same amount with some African brothers and sisters from SADC countries like: Zimbabwe, Namibia, etc. Although, NANSSA recognises that Nigeria is not a member of SADC but it is also aware that Nigeria is neither a European Union (EU) member nor one of the Organisation of American States (OAS). It is NANSSA’s considered view that the dichotomy in school fees be addressed as one of NANSSA’s specific felt needs. That, Nigerian students pay about Six Thousand Six Hundred Dollars ($6.600.00) with Americans and Europeans as tuition fee for a session, a prize which is three times more than the payment our Zambian counterparts from Africa make.
That we would like to pay like Africans and not like Americans and Europeans as the present categorisation which in our opinion is encouraged by capitalist implications upholds. That exorbitant school fees is capable and can discourage formal education and cripple future leadership and relationship and ultimately produce incompetent African leaders who cannot defend their states around UN table of governance. NANSSA is for bi-national relations that encourage academic pursuit for a better Africa and world. STUDENTS REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL (SRC) SOUTH AFRICA Thabisile Gwamanda Masika Mndebele That scholars have been at the centre of moving the economic growth of most countries forward. That SRC has an exchange programme that is billed to help international students move beyond the walls of the universities to learn about the host state. That xenophobic attack is as a result of feelings that south Africans have towards foreign nationals, that the available jobs in south Africa is getting into the hands of foreign nationals, and the fear of staying without job in south Africa informed the actions, however, SRC believes that it will not happen again. That with this bi-national relation, that a platform for better understanding is created and that SRC is committed to using the platform to grow relationship among peoples of the two states. QUESTION AND ANSWER TIME Question from: Dr Cyprian Alokwu, what is the idea behind reparation fee that Nigerians pay to South African government? Answer from South African representative: the idea behind repatriation fee is for South African government to fly back the Nigerian to his/her country if need be. This is because Nigeria government unlike South African government does not take responsibility for its citizens.
South African government flies its citizens home from any country of the world if need be but the Nigerian government has not undersigned to take such responsibility for its people. That the repatriation fee is a refundable fee, and every Nigerian who paid has the right to claim, but they never come to claim because they are still in South Africa as against their statement before departure.
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