Some Nigerian auto-mechanics based in South Africa said on Tuesday that they lost R6 million (N162 million) when their garage was set ablaze during a xenophobic attack on Feb.5.
Mr Simon Adeoye, an Oyo state indigene and co-owner of Simon Auto-Mechanic, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Pretoria, South Africa, that they incurred heavy losses as a result of the attack.
“We lost 29 cars, washing machine, diagnosing machine, tools, car parts, Nigerian passports and cash.
“The estimated value of our losses is R6 m or N162 million,” he said.
Adeoye said they got assurances that the Federal Government would assist them when a government delegation visited South Africa.
“Since then, we have not heard anything. It has not been easy because 11 staff of the company, comprising Nigerians and South Africans, have been redundant.
“We appeal to the Federal Government to come to our aid. We want to get back to business.
“The owner of the garage said it will take more than six months to rebuild it,” he said.
Mr Jaiyeola Balogun, an Osun indigene and co-owner of the garage, said that it had not been business as usual since their work place was destroyed.
“Since the garage was torched, we are yet to get back to our business. Personally, I lost my passport, that of my daughter and several vital documents.
“We are still waiting for the government to redeem its pledge with regards to the offer of assistance to victims of the attack,” he said.
Balogun said that they were now working on the streets in servicing or repairing cars of customers.
A staff of the company, Mr Bolade Olaoye, said they were just managing to survive after the attack.
“We lost everything and we appeal to government to intervene urgently to save us from this big problem,” he said.
Mr Emmy Ogbechie, the Chairman of Nigeria Union, Pretoria West chapter, said Nigerians lost more than 100 passports and other valuables to the incident.
“Nigerians resident in Pretoria West usually kept their passports in the garage for safety. But since the incident, we have been working hard to get new passports.
“We also need government`s assistance for the affected auto-mechanics. We have about 1,000 Nigerian auto-mechanics working in Pretoria West,” he said.
Ogbechie said that the local chapter of the union was trying its best to assist the auto-mechanics affected in the incident.