The Consul-General of the Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg, Mr Godwin Adama, has said the mission will protest killings and high-handedness of the South African police against Nigerians.
The planned protest follows the recurring killing of Nigerians resident in the former apartheid enclave, where some 130 Nigerians were murdered in 30 months up to September 2018.
The figure has since jumped.
Adama made the announcement, while reacting to the latest killing of a Nigerian, Maxwell Okoye, by the South African police.
He spoke in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday following Okoye’s killing on June 14.
The envoy, who described the persistent killing of Nigerians as unacceptable, said the issue had become worrisome and deserved urgent intervention of the South African authorities.
”I have confirmed the death of Maxwell Ikechukwu Okoye in the hands of South African police officers at about 01:00 hours on Friday, June 14 when a group of policemen invaded his house in Ladysmith in Kwazulu Natal Province.
”He reportedly alerted a leader of the Nigerian community in the area of the presence of policemen in his house and called for their intervention.
”However, help was not immediately available, probably due to the time of the night and the fact that all attempts to get him on line was futile.
”He eventually was reported dead by the police who claimed they met him foaming when they broke into his house in that odd hour of the night, a claim that appeared suspicious and compromising,” he said.
Adama said that by the time members of the Nigerian community in the area got to Okoye’s home, his house was turned upside down and he was reported dead by the police, who took his body to the mortuary on their own.
The envoy said that the matter was reported by Nigerians to the South African police, who promised to commence investigation into the matter.
He said that the mission had also reported the matter to the national headquarters of the South African Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
”We intend to protest the matter officially through the usual diplomatic channels by the high commission in Pretoria once all details are collated.
”This is about the third case involving alleged torture and murder of Nigerians by the South African police within one month.
”It happened in Cape Town, Durban and now in Ladysmith. As the Nigerian Mission in South Africa, we will not fold our hands and allow these infractions to continue.
”We will not stand by and allow this development to continue. We shall be visiting the area to see things for ourselves while engaging relevant authorities on the matter. It is unacceptable,” he said.
Adama recalled that in October, 2017, a similar murder of a Nigerian, Badmus Olalekan, from Lagos State by men of the South African police led to the arrest and arraignment of eight policemen in Vanderbijpark Park, near Johannesburg.
This followed the intervention of the Nigerian Consulate, he stated.
According to him, the case is currently at the High Court in Johannesburg and will be concluded in October 2019 going by the conclusions of the last court sitting.
”We are closely following up this along with the others to ensure that justice is served. We shall not leave any stone unturned concerning these matters.
”The high-handedness of the South African police against Nigerians over flimsy excuses has become worrisome and deserves the intervention of the authorities.
”This is to protect the excellent relations that is existing between the two countries as well as preserve coexistence of Nigerians and their South African hosts.” (NAN)