Xenophobic attacks; causes and solutions

Sat, 15 Jul 2017 Source: Kingsley Akwaa

Xenophobic attacks is one of the many threats to the security of the world, and so, a desperate need by all to help get measures to put in place so as to help reduce or get rid of it completely.

Xenophobia is the abnormal fear or envy or hatred of foreigners/strangers in a country by the citizens living in that country.

As a result, Xenophobic Attack is just the attack of such foreigners by the citizens in that country due to the abnormal fear or envy or hatred of them.

Such attacks can at a particular point in time either occur through out the whole of a country or at just a section of it.


i. The attack of foreigners in Ghana(1969) and Nigeria(1983) were through out the respective countries.

ii. The attack of some Fulani herdsmen by some Ghanaians in 2016, and the attack of some Nigerians by some South Africans in February, 2017 in South Africa happened only in some parts of the respective countries.

Through out history there have been numerous cases of xenophobic attacks in many countries through out the world such as Finland, Germany, Russia, Switzerland, Australia, South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Nigeria.

Below are some examples of them;

A. The attack and mass murder of about 6 million Jews living in Europe, which was spearheaded by the Germans and led by Adolf Hitler during the Second World War.

It was termed as the Jewish Holocaust.

B. The attack of some foreigners(Whites-colonial masters) in Gold Coast after the shooting of the three Ex-Service men by their colonial masters in Gold Coast.

Gold Coast changed its name to Ghana after it attained its independence in 1957.

C. The attack of some foreigners(Nigerians, Burkinabe, Ivorians, Togolese and others) in Ghana during 1969 under the Aliens Compliance Order.

D. The attack and expulsion of foreigners(Ghanaians, Burkinabe, Ivorians and others) from Nigeria in 1983 and another mild one in 1985.

E. The attack of foreigners(whites-colonial masters) by citizens in Zimbabwe after their independence.

F. The 2009 attack of Indians mostly students in Australia.

G. The attack of some Chinese small scale miners and other foreign miners(both illegal and legal) in Ghana around 2013-2017

H. The attack of some Nomadic Fulani herdsmen in some parts of Ghana such as the Ashanti, Eastern and Northern regions in 2015/16.

I. The attacks of some foreigners in some parts of South Africa in 2016 and 2017


Xenophobic Attacks mostly occur when the citizens take the law into their hands in their bid to take back something which they believe is rightly theirs or a defense of themselves through a violent means after the government doesn't or loses control of enforcing the laws in that country.

Other times, it is also influenced by the leaders(political, traditional, religious, organization and others) in a country.

Below are some of the causes and reasons for Xenophobic Attacks.

A. The abuse of the laws of a country by immigrants.


i. The destruction of farms, attack of natives by some Nomadic Fulani herdsmen including their involvement in some robbery in Ghana. (brought some attacks)-2016

ii. The illegal drug trade and some other illegal activities by some Nigerians in South Africa. (brought some attacks)-Feb., 2017

iii. The continuous illegal mining activities by some foreign nationals notably the Chinese in some parts of Ghana. (likely to bring about some attacks)

iv. The continuous involvement of some Chinese and Nigerians in the retail trade in Ghana. (likely to bring about some attacks)

v. The abuse of some Ghanaian employees by some foreign managers of some industries, restaurants and companies in Ghana. (likely to bring attacks)

vi. The continuous evil/barbaric activities(killings) by some extremists in USA, UK, France, Turkey, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Côte D'Ivoire and others. (Likely to bring attacks)

vii. The involvement of some foreigners in the elections or the perception of some citizens that some foreigners are involving themselves in their national and other elections. (Likely to bring attacks)

B. Employment Deficit

Foreigners' competition with Citizens over employment.

With the employment aspect, citizens mostly only have a problem with the foreigners who legally or illegally come into their country to seek for jobs as employees and thus see it as a competition with them for employment, but mostly do not have much problem with those who come to set up the huge businesses to get the citizens employed.

i. Foreigners were forced out of Ghana(1969) and Nigeria(1983) when these immigrants(foreigners) brought about a huge starvation of some of the citizens with employment.

ii. South Africans continuously attack immigrants with their main reason that these immigrants are taking their jobs and thus making them jobless.

C. The incite of citizens of a country against the foreigners in that country by their leaders(political, religious, traditional, organizations and others).

i. Germans were incited against Jews in Germany by their political leader called Adolf Hitler.

ii. There are different instances where South Africans have been incited against foreigners in their land by an MP, a King and a Pastor.


A. A strengthen of the immigration laws of a country.

Most of these attacks are as a result of the large entry of foreigners either legally or illegally into a country, and it through that brings about a lot of economic and social burden on a country.

Example: Libya, USA, South Africa, Ghana(1960s), Nigeria(1980s) and others.

So there is the need by every country to strengthen its immigration laws so as to help control the inflow of foreigners, and thus prevent or reduce it's bad effects on their economy and social life.

Aside that, the strengthen of the immigration laws will also help deter the immigrants from engaging in activities that they are not supposed to involve themselves in, such as elections, retail trade, illegal mining activities and others.

B. The strengthen of the laws of a country which protects immigrants.

It is important for the leaders of countries to strengthen the laws which protect immigrants so that citizens who want to attack immigrants will be deterred from doing that.

C. There should be strict laws pushed in place to prosecute all leaders(political, traditional, religious, organizations and others) who incite the citizens of a land against the foreigners living there.

D. A good management of the economy of the respective countries by their leaders will help bring about a positive growth of such countries.

Such positive growth will help deter or reduce their citizens from travelling out of their respective countries to look for greener pastures in other countries as immigrants.

Note, a large number of citizens of badly managed countries like Ghana(2012-2016), Nigeria, some other African, European, Asian and South American countries continuously migrate to South Africa, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, China, Japan, USA, Canada, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Denmark, Switzerland, France and others, and this has as a result continuously increased their chances of being victims of such attacks.

E. There should be an intensive education by the Civic education missions in the various countries like the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) in Ghana to help educate their citizens on how to treat and live with foreigners living among them in their respective countries.

F. The leaders in the respective countries should make laws that will help get citizens of their respective countries employed first before it considers any foreigner.

G. There should be a local content requirement clause as part of the contractual agreement between the government and the foreign investors, which will seek to incorporate citizens into a percentage of some of the foreign companies seeking to do business in their respective countries so as to help reduce the fear, envy and hatred of foreign investors by the local investors.

H. There should be a strict enforcement of the laws of the international bodies like the UN, ECOWAS, EU, AU and others to sanction member nations/countries who abuse foreigners living in their lands.

I. Leaders of the various countries and the international bodies should work hard to identify all the zones which are exposed or likely to get exposed to Xenophobic Attacks so that the security and the appropriate education can be intensified at such areas, and also a knowledge of such areas should be made to the world so that it can help reduce the percentage of people who are likely to fall victims to it.

Columnist: Kingsley Akwaa
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