The recent wave of xenophobic attacks of foreign Africans in South Africa have led to several non violent protests in Nigeria calling for the boycotting of South African owned businesses in Nigeria.
Calls have also been made by various Nigerian groups for the ending of operations of South African firms in Nigeria, the more aggressive of these groups have threatened the destruction of South African businesses in Nigeria.
In response to these calls, South African-owned mobile phone operator, MTN Nigeria has warned that if attacks on its facilities or boycotts force it to leave Nigeria, it would lead to the loss of about 6,000 Nigerian jobs.
The leading GSM phone service provider also stated that calls for the boycott of its services were unjustified.
According to MTN Nigeria, such action would also affect its support chain, which would in turn could cause another 500,000 Nigerians to lose their means of livelihood.
These warnings from the company came in Lagos on Monday, April 20, 2015, shortly after two groups protested at MTNs Abuja and Benin offices against the killing of African foreigners in South Africa.
Corporate Service Executive of MTN Nigeria, Wale Goodluck, told journalists that there are only 12 expatriates working for the company in the country, compared to a workforce of 6,000 Nigerians.
“So, if people go ahead with their threats to attack our facilities, what that means is that we may be forced to close down the business in Nigeria and about 6,000 Nigerians that make up 99 per cent of our workforce will be unemployed.
He went on to explain the ripple effect of such action.
“Then, when you look at our support chain, we have about 500,000 Nigerians gainfully employed. So, boycotting our services simply means destroying so many other Nigerian businesses and making over 500,000 other Nigerians to lose their jobs.
“This business supports a lot of businesses across the length and breadth of Nigeria. Many of the businesses that are affiliated to South Africa are in the retail space, supporting the growth of Nigeria and employing so many Nigerians.”
He added that the company had spent over $15bn on capital expenditure growing the telecommunications industry in Nigeria.
“We see no revenge of Xenophobia and we commend the role the Nigerian High Commissioner in South Africa has played; at least there has been no fatality on the part of any Nigerian,”