Rotimi Sankore, a veteran journalist, policy and development expert, has cautioned against the looting of Shoprite, a departmental store, that has been subjected to reprisal attacks following the recent Xenophobic attack in South Africa.
Sankore, who spoke during a journalism MasterClass held by the Civic Media Lab, said the stores being looted are mostly franchises owned by Nigerians.
"Shoprite and Spar are mostly franchises. Most of the goods on the shelves are owned by Nigerians. The staff are Nigerians," he said.
He stated MTN, that has also become the target for the reprisal attacks, is a public listed company hence, Nigerians are part of the shareholders and who bear the part of the loss of vandalising its properties.
He said the Xenophobic attacks are triggered by high unemployment and high crime rates, and not because all South African hated Nigerians.
The veteran journalist also stated how the Nigerian Government could have better handled the Xenophobic attacks against its citizens.
"In incidents like this when Nigerians are attacked, what you do is to summon their ambassador and demand that the perpetrators be brought to justice and that the victims be compensated. Also demand than police be deployed to protect Nigerians’ shops and businesses from further attacks. This would demonstrate to the looters that their actions are not acceptable.
"If they then fail to act, you send the ambassador home and if the attacks continue, you can then take further measures like, seizing assets of the offending countries to compensate victims.”
Sankore said it was the failure of the Nigerian Government to take strategic steps to protect Nigerians that have led to Nigerian citizens resulting to self help and some people taking advantage of the protest to loot shops.