PRETORIA, October 19 – The South African Cabinet has congratulated President Jacob Zuma for being honoured with a statue in Nigeria, Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said on Thursday.
“Cabinet congratulates President Zuma on being honoured with a statue and a street being named after him in Nigeria, during his working visit to strengthen socio-economic relations and other cooperations,” Kubayi said updating the media following a Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.
“The Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, conferred on President Zuma the Imo Merit Award, the highest award in the State conferred on those who have made a difference in the development of their communities.”
Zuma was also bestowed with an honorary title during his two-day visit to Nigeria.
The Zuma bronze statue, reported to have cost around R20 million, has caused an uproar, particularly amongst trade unions and civic society in Nigeria.
Nigerian trade union, the United Labour Congress (ULC) reportedly condemned Okorocha’s actions, saying they were insensitive to the plight of Nigerians living in South Africa.
“ULC urges the people of Imo state and indeed join other patriotic Nigerians who feel outraged over this very unpatriotic and treacherous act to immediately demand that Okorocha pulls down the infamous statue. As long as that statue stands, it remains a standing disgrace and shame to the perfidy which Rocha’s government has become to Imo state and indeed the whole of Nigeria,” the union was quoted as saying.
“Once again the ULC demands that Okorocha removes the ignominious name of Zuma from the streets of Owerri and the ignoble statue dismantled immediately to avoid our mobilising against it and pulling it down ourselves.”