Monday, June 01, 2009

Xenophobic Attacks: Tutu Apologises to Nigerians

Xenophobic Attacks: Tutu Apologises to Nigerians

...Tasks FG on use of oil revenue

From Bukola Olatunji in Yola, 06.01.2009

Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Tutu, yesterday apologised on behalf of millions of his compatriots in South Africa for last year’s xenophobic attacks on other Africans, including Nigerians, resident in the country, describing it as “a totally shameless thing to do.”

Tutu, who gave the convocation address at the first convocation ceremony of the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola said South Africa owed Nigeria a lot of debt because it led the struggle against Apartheid as the Chair of the Committee on Apartheid of the United Nations. “We showed that we are ungrateful. Forgive us”, he said.

The clergy, who was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the ceremony, lamented the poverty, epidemic and war in different countries in the continent and asked the poignant question: “Would you advise anyone to invest in Africa? A continent that has one President indicted by the ICC? A king in Swaziland who seems to know nothing about democracy? A continent where one country is just recovering from genocide? Look at what is happening in DRC, in Zimbabawe?"

According to him, “South Africa is the epicentre of HIV/AIDs. Can you believe it, that 1, 000 people die of AIDs in South Africa every day? That is like three jumbo jets crashing every day. Can you imagine that? We can count the countries of which we should be genuinely proud in Africa."

Pointing at the graduands, he said passionately: “You have a huge responsibility to make Africa viable, with transparent, accountable government. Whenever I go to Dubai, to Qatar I get really jealous.

They have been fanstastic with their oil revenue, providing housing, education, medical care, for their people.

“Why is it not possible for oil-rich African countries to do the same? Why is it not possible for Nigeria to do the same? We must have accountable leaders.

“We can’t have leaders who hold unto power until you get a government of national unity because they refuse to accept defeat. Africa, Africa, wake up. We have wonderful people. Let this continent make God proud.”

He also offered what he called “A little encouragement”, saying, those who criticise Africa have a very short memory.

"Have you forgotten the holocaust? Have you forgotten the gulads in Russia? Communism, Nascism, Fascism did not come from Africa. They were European inventions. Your history gives us hope. A western country was the first to use weapons of mass destruction in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those countries have been able to rise. Africa, there is hope," he assured.

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who was represented by the Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Egwu, congratulated the founder of the institution, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, for the full accreditation of all the programmes of the four-year old university by the National Universities Commission (NUC).

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