The Nigerian community in South Africa says it has protested the misrepresentation made against their country by an official of a South African organisation on air.
Emeka Ezinteje, Secretary-General of the Nigerian Union, South Africa, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday that Abram Mashishi, a representative of the South African National Civic Organisation, wrongly referred to a pastor of a church as a Nigerian.
Ezinteje said Mashishi was reacting to a stampede at Enlightened Christian Church of God in Pretoria, owned by Prophet Bushiri, from Malawi, which led to the death of three persons, while nine others were injured.
He said on telephone from Johannesburg: “The SANCO representative said on South African Broadcasting Corporation news that Prophet Bushiri is a Nigerian.
“That those prophets from Nigeria should go back to Nigeria and make money from where they are coming from.”
Ezinteje said the union was disturbed by the statement because it was reckless, dangerous and capable of fuelling xenophobic attacks on innocent men of God and Nigerians at large.
He said: “This gross misinformation is capable of undermining a number of social cohesion and integration programmes engaged by Nigerian Union, South Africa in recent times.
“Our numerous efforts to foster unity and peaceful co-existence within South Africa is greatly threatened by this comment.”
Ezinteje said the union had called on SABC and SANCO to issue a statement and correct the misinformation.
He said: “This is the sort of statement that tend to pin every wrong doing on Nigerians.
“Prophet Bushiri is not a Nigerian but the information on the public space is that a Nigerian prophet has contributed to the death of South Africans.”
He said that the union was in touch with its legal team on the matter and expects SABC and SANCO to do the needful.