Goa: Minister apologises 100 times for "racist" comment on Nigerians

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Minister apologises 100 times to Nigeria
Panaji, Nov 7: A minister in Goa landed straight into the ditch of controversies after saying that "Nigerians are like a cancer". But taking a U-turn, he has apologised and told NDTV today, "I apologise 100 times and regret my mistake."

Dayanand Mandrekar, the Arts and Culture Minister in the BJP government, said, "I said what I felt... (but) I did not mean to label the entire Nigerian community."

Banner in Goa declares "Say No to Nigerians, Say No to Drugs"

The Goa government's reaction to the murder of a Nigerian last week has been described as "insulting" by Nigerian diplomats. They alleged that a drive to identify and deport foreigners without valid visas has been racist and indiscriminate.

A group of 200 Nigerians blocked a major high way and clashed with the police and locals after last week's murder of a Nigerian in Mapusa.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar then ordered the police and officials to identify Nigerians who are illegal residents of the state, and said they must be deported.

In a village in Mapusa, a banner that declares "Say No to Nigerians, Say No to Drugs" reflects the unsubtle racism that has engulfed the area.

When asked if this was a matter of concern for his government, the Chief Minister said, "There is this feeling because more Nigerians have been arrested for indulging in the narcotics trade."

His colleague Michael Lobo, BJP MLA from Calangute too said that "98% of Nigerians and African nationals were involved in the drug trade in Goa".

When asked if these were sweeping generalizations or if he could substantiate his claim, Mr Lobo said, "Ask anybody in Goa. They will all agree."

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