Zuma lauds Nigeria’s role in ‘struggle against apartheid and colonialism’

President Jacob Zuma recalled Nigeria’s contribution to the Struggle when he addressed that country’s National Assembly on Tuesday.

“From the mid-70s‚ Nigeria and its people also hosted some of the exiled freedom fighters from South Africa‚ with numbers increasing after the Soweto Student Uprising in 1976‚” Zuma said.

He said it was either “by coincidence or design” that the 40th anniversary of that uprising is being commemorated in South Africa as Nigeria marks 40 years since “the passing of one of the illustrious sons of Nigeria and Africa‚ General Murtala Mohammed”.

“His tenure only lasted 200 days but it had a profound impact‚ particularly on the struggle against apartheid and colonialism in Southern Africa‚” said Zuma

“In his powerful speech to the (Organisation of African Unity) Extraordinary Summit on Angola in 1976‚ General Mohammed opened his address by saying and I quote: ‘Mr Chairman‚ when I contemplate the evils of apartheid‚ my heart bleeds and I am sure the heart of every true blooded African bleeds.’

“In conclusion General Mohammed said: ‘Africa has come of age.” and will “no longer accept dictates from any so-called superpower.’ ”

He said it was “within this context that General Mohammed…took a firm decision for Nigeria to support the MPLA‚ which resonated with the position of many liberation movements in Southern Africa‚ including our own — the African National Congress”.

Zuma note that “June 16 is this year commemorated as the International Day of the African Child” and said in this context “our hearts and prayers are always with the Chibok Girls who were abducted from their dormitories in April 2014 by the terrorist group Boko Haram here in Nigeria”.

“We remain hopeful and trust that your efforts to find and rescue those children will bear positive results.”