XENOPHOBIA PROBE AS PUB OWNER BARS NIGERIANS

Cape Times, 5 March 2007

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Three notices at the entrance to the Top Kick African Kitchen and Entertainment Centre in North End say: "Nigerians are strictly prohibited by management." Owner Alex Owusu, who comes from Ghana, said that after repeated raids by police, he had decided to chase all Nigerians away. "I have had a lot of problems in the past. The police used to raid my place five times a week. They have threatened to close my business because of Nigerians who sold drugs at my premises," said Owusu. Asked how he knew if people entering his business were Nigerians, he said: "I am from West Africa. These are my brothers. I know them well." Owusu said he was determined that his hard work in establishing the business would not be spoilt by people engaging in illegal activities there. He claimed the main culprits were Nigerians. However, his actions have raised concerns of exacerbating xenophobia in the area. Last month, violence broke out between locals and Somali shop owners in Motherwell. Police spokeswoman Inspector Hazel Mqala said she would be meeting with crime prevention commanders today to discuss the issue. However, Human Rights Commission provision manager Mzimhle Popo said barring Nigerians was a direct violation of the Constitution. "To say that Nigerians sell drugs is problematic. We have decent Nigerian people working in this country and we cannot paint them all with the same brush of criminality." Popo vowed to investigate.