Organisers of the 16th Abuja International Film Festival (AIFF) have announced that they are suspending the scheduled screening of films entered from South Africa.
“We as an International Film Festival condemn unequivocally the reoccurring xenophobic attacks against African migrants including Nigerians in South Africa,” its founder Fidelis Duker said in a statement released 4th September. “We have observed the global outcry especially by Nigerians all over the world who have called on their compatriots to boycott South African products and services in Nigeria in retaliation of the violence against their countrymen in South Africa.”
The festival, the statement added, “is a platform that was created to promote mutual harmony, respect for the dignity of life. We therefore strongly condemn hate, prejudice and xenophobia actions of some South African nationals and reiterate our unequivocal condemnation of all violence in any form.”
The festival holds between 22nd and 25th October.
This action is that latest retaliatory step taken by Nigeria in response to the Xenophobic killings in South Africa. Earlier on, the Nigerian government officially pulled out of the World Economic Summit which opened in Cape Town on Sept 4 and also recalled its Ambassador.
On 3rd September Nigerians also vented their anger on South African owned companies, including Shoprite stores, PEP Store, and MTN offices in some cities across the country, forcing the companies to shut down their operations until further notice.
“However, we have taken this painful and avoidable decision to suspend entries submitted by filmmakers from the Republic of South Africa until further notice.
“We will continue to advocate for a society where everyone’s rights and freedoms are respected. The right to live and earn a living, freely, safely and protected by the law,” the AIFF statement added. “We therefore as a matter o necessity call on the South African government to address the issue of xenophobic attacks with utmost seriousness where the perpetrators are brought to book.”