The Nigerian Union in South Africa on Thursday said it had written to a South African National Civic Organisation to retract hate speech made against a Nigerian in that country.
Emeka Ezinteje, the Secretary General of the union, was reacting to a recent stampede at the Enlightened Christian Church of God in Pretoria that led to death of three persons and injuring nine others.
Ezinteje told the News Agency of Nigeria in a telephone interview from Pretoria that Abraham Mushishi, an official of SANCO, misrepresented facts when he said on air that a Nigerian pastor owned a church that recently had the stampede.
According to him, the church is owned by a Malawian national, Prophet Bushiri, but that Mushishi had wrongly referred to the pastor as a Nigerian.
He said: “The SANCO representative said on South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) news that Prophet Bushiri is a Nigerian.
“He said that the prophets from Nigeria should go back to Nigeria and make money from where they are coming from.:
But Arthur Ogboro, legal representative of the union, in a letter of demand to SANCO urged it to issue a written statement of retraction and apologise to the Nigerian community.
The letter said: “We demand that you make and issue a written statement of retraction and apology at your cost.
“This retraction shall be posted as a frontline advertisement on the public media widely circulated in South Africa.”
Ogboro further demanded that the retraction should also be aired on SABC within 14 days.
He said: “Should you (Mushishi) fail within 14 days from the date of service of our letter, it is our clients’ instructions to institute proceedings against you.
“Proceedings will also be instituted against SANCO and any other person liable to be made a party in this matter for defamation and libel or any other appropriate relief obtaining and available in law to our clients.”
The legal adviser said Mushishi’s statement could incite citizens to participate in unconstitutional conduct against immigrants, especially Nigerians.
He said Mushishi’s conduct was “intolerable under an open and democratic dispensation”.