The vice chairman of the Nigerian Community, Austin Osagie Odia, told press men last Friday that they were alarmed at the spate of violent attacks and assaults on the persons and businesses of Nigerians nationwide.
Mr Odia explained that these wanton attacks started shortly after the announcement of a winner in the September 8 presidential runoff election.
“As a community, we are puzzled at the reasons if any why such aggressions are directed at Nigerians that have enjoyed a history of peaceful co-existence with Sierra Leoneans spanning many decades,” the vice chair said.
He pointed out that, “it is sad to note that some victims of these beatings and lootings have been threatened and forewarned by their attackers a few months before the 2007 elections”.
“We wish to use this media to reiterate the fact that Nigerian residents in Sierra Leone have never played any role, and do intend to play any part whatsoever in the dynamics of the internal politics of Sierra Leone. Nigerians in Sierra Leone are contented to be friends of Sierra Leone, and are happy to contribute their quotas to the development of Sierra Leone,” he continued.
He said this could be seen in the various achievements recorded in the banking, aviation, commerce, academic, judiciary and numerous other areas of human endeavour.
Mr Odia stated that, “it is pertinent to mention here that the Nigerian community reposes a huge confidence in the law enforcement agencies and hopes that our efforts will yield positive results.” The vice chairman revealed that in the meantime, the Nigerian National Union had instructed all shops and businesses operating in Freetown, Bo, and other volatile areas around the country to close down for seven days in order to protect the lives and property of their people.
He said this step, they believed, would diffuse the tension arising from these attacks and create room for the security agencies to effectively take charge of the situation.He took a jibe at some sections of the press who, he said were, “thriving on sensationalism and spectacular headlines.”