6 February 2009

Nigeria: Killers of Lucky Dube 'Thought He Was Nigerian'

Abuja — Newspaper reports from South Africa said yesterday that legendary reggae music icon, Lucky Dube, was killed because he was mistaken for a Nigerian.

But the Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), who spoke to the Southern Africa correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday reacted with shock to reports that Dube was shot because his killers thought he was a Nigerian.

He said it was unacceptable that South Africans would perceive Nigerians with such hatred.

According to him, this perception was in spite of Nigeria's contribution to the liberation of South Africans from the oppressive Apart-heid regime.

"This kind of situation is unacceptable to us as a people and government," Marwa said.

He said what the perception meant was that once "one is a Nigerian, you are not safe here in South Africa" .

The matter, according to him, would be tabled at the Review Meeting of the Nigeria-South Africa Bi-National Commission later this month in Abuja.

"This matter has to be tabled and concluded with before the situation escalates out of hand. What if Nigerians at home also decide to set up South Africans?", he asked rhetorically, saying "we must stop it now and get the relationship back to where it should be, friendly and acceptability of brotherliness."

He emphasised that "we are the same people who have toiled together in the past and are still toiling now."

"We have thousands of Nigerian professionals and entrepreneurs who engage in hard, decent and legitimate businesses and contribute to the economy of South Africa.

"If they have laboured hard to legitimately earn their pay, they reserve the right to afford whatever luxury cars of their taste and live out the best life-styles of their desire. It is their entitlement and definitely not a crime for you to live well if you work hard for it.

"Nigerians should not be seen as criminal elements. Are they saying that because as a Nigerian who rides a flashy car he should be killed? We will not accept that. We will resist it," he said.

Marwa assured Nigerians who called the high commission on the matter that "we are on top of the matter" and urged them to remain law abiding citizens.

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