Belfast Telegraph

Racist thugs will not force me out, says Nigerian man

By Anna Maguire

A Nigerian security guard has refused to leave his home after it was daubed with racist graffiti and vandalised.

The 27-year-old moved into the Wayland Street house, off east Belfast's Castlereagh Road, just four days ago.

He returned from a night shift yesterday morning to find the front of the terraced house smeared repeatedly with the words 'no blacks' in black paint.

The front door and downstairs window were also smashed with what appeared to be a hammer.

A young mother who lives next door said she fled with her four-year-old daughter to a relative's home after being woken by a series of loud bangs at around 1am. She recalled hearing men laughing moments before the attackers fled.

The victim said his housemate – another Nigerian who also works night shifts as a security guard – is too afraid to return to their rented home.

"I'm not going to be chased out by anybody," the victim, who did not want to be identified, said.

"I have done nothing wrong. My only crime is being black. I've never said a word to anybody here. We haven't even slept here. We both do night shifts.

"It's horrific," he added. "I'm scared, terrified, shocked. It is a disgraceful thing to do.

"How would they like that if somebody did that to them? They should be ashamed of themselves.

"But it's karma – whatever goes around will come around. Nature has a way of balancing things."

The man has lived in Northern Ireland for eight years. He works between 40 and 60 hours a week, sending money back to his family in Nigeria.

He said he had never experienced racism until now. The incident has made him think twice about bringing relatives here.

But he is insistent that he will not be driven from the neighbourhood by what he described as a hate crime.

"The most depressing thing is they took their time," he said. "It would take at least 30 to 35 minutes to do this. They went to the back of the house as well and did the same. So somebody must have seen it."

The perpetrators smeared the house before smashing several holes in the front door and window. Another racist message was left at back of the house. "One person on the street came out of their house and laughed and went back in again," he added. "I'm shocked by that."

Jennifer, the next-door neighbour, said: "I heard three or four bangs next door at around 1am. But I didn't see anyone.

"I have a four-year-old girl and we had to pack our bags and go up to my dad's. I do not know how anyone would have so much hatred for someone they do not know," she added.

The PSNI has launched an investigation and appealed for witnesses to contact them on 0845 600 8000, or anonymously using Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Belfast Telegraph


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