President John Mahama, has condemned the Xenophobic attacks in South Africa, describing it as a hindrance to the much touted Africa's integration agenda.
The Ghanaian President and Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr. John Mahama has asked the South African government to immediately put a stop to xenophobic attacks of fellow Africans and to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book.
Mahama who spoke to Journalists shortly after a congratulatory visit to Nigeria's President- elect, General Muhamnadu Buhari in Abuja, described as very regrettable, the attacks by South African youths on other African citizens living in their country.
"I think that the government must sit up and must take strong action and those that have been involved in these atrocities must be brought to book and must be punished serving as a deterent so it does not happen in future," he said.
While recalling the contributions of African countries, especially those considered as 'frontline states', like Nigeria, Mahama said it is regrettable that the same people who fought against apartheid are being attacked.
He said though Nigeria is not a neighbour of South Africa, the country was considered a frontline state because of her economic contribution to the fight to liberate South Africa from apartheid.
"I think it is an issue that we are all worried about because of the specific circumstances of South Africa and its most regrettable and most unfortunate, I think that the young people of South Africa do not know what happened before they gained their freedom, the whole of this continent stood behind South Africa, the whole of Africa stood behind South Africa to fight against apartheid.
"I remember all of us who growing up as secondary school children went on marches and as part of the African Youth command boycotted classes and all that all in the fight against apartheid.
"Indeed, for several of the countries whose citizens were brutalised in South Africa, these are countries that were called front line states and harboured the freedom fighters of South Africa and gave them safe haven, gave them passports to be able to avoid the clutches of the apartheid regime and even Nigeria,
" It is regrettable that the same people who fought against apartheid are being attacked. The pictures we have seen are horrible, As ECOWAS we have issued a statement condemning what is happening, The unfortunate thing is this is not the first time, it keeps flaring up and so while we are condemning this incidence, we must work with South African government to ensure that it won't happen again, We are trying to create an integrated continent where our people can move freely amongst our countries.
“This has not set a very good example for integration and especially for South Africa that has investments all over countries," he said
Speaking on the conduct of the last election, Mahama said the polls has adjudged very peaceful, free, fair and transparent.
"Nigeria is the biggest economy in West Africa and is the most populous and also the biggest economy in Africa so it is a very valued member of ECOWAS and we will continue to expect that Nigeria would show a certain leadership and carry her responsibility in terms of the work of west African states.
He said, he had earlier met with President Jonathan where he commended him for his maturity and statesmanship in conceding defeat before the tally was done.
He also said Ghana and Nigeria have very close relationship and we will continue to work closely with Nigeria, we hare the same values our cultures are similar...
"I think that Nigeria has shown a good example for self regime that democracy and good governance have found a firm root in the ECOWAS, the ECOWAS has a protocol on democracy, good governance and elections and I believe that has been properly followed here in Nigeria.
"We have five elections this year and Nigeria has set the pace and we still have Togo that is coming on Saturday 25th and in October we have Burkina Faso, we have cote d ivoire, we have guniea, so I think that with what has happened in Nigeria it is an example for other countries in terms of the standard electioneering.