Senate Reads Riot Act to S’Africa against Killing of Nigerians

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  • Urges IG to probe invasion of N’Assembly

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate wednesday warned the South African government that Nigeria will no longer tolerate further killing of her citizens in their country.

The lawmakers have also ordered a thorough probe into the Tuesday’s invasion of the National Assembly by the members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), better known as Shi’ites who broke into the National Assembly premises to demand the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky,

The Senate has asked the South African government to tell their nationals to stop forthwith the incessant killings of Nigerians resident there.

The upper legislative chamber in the warning declared that the wanton killings of Nigerians in South Africa would no longer be tolerated.

It also issued a travel alert to Nigerians traveling to South Africa to be security conscious and ensure that their safety is not under threat.

The Senate position was sequel to the information given by the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South) who had come under Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Rules to comment on the recent killing of a Nigerian woman in South Africa.

Abaribe while informing the Senate of latest of such killings in South Africa through a motion, tagged “Death of Elizabeth Ndubuisi-Chukwu in South Africa,” said the late Ndubuisi-Chukwu was in the country as a delegate of the federal government to attend a programme, but was allegedly killed in an hotel.

“She went to South Africa to attend the conference of the African Insurance Organisation (A10) and initially was suspected to have died of cardiac arrest.

“The insinuation was proved wrong, following autopsy report released on June 20, 2019, by South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs, which indicated in a death certificate that her death was unnatural and suspected to be murder due to strangulation.

“The suspicion that she could have been murdered was further confirmed in a separate document issued by South Africa’s Department of Health on June 27, 2019, where it corroborated the autopsy report and revealed that she was strangled.

“This is not the first time Nigerians have died in suspicious and curious circumstances in South Africa,” Abaribe further said.

Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia North), in his contribution, gave further insight into how Nigerians are sometimes trailed to their hotels and killed in South Africa.

He therefore suggested that the federal government must do more and put a final stop to the endless killing of Nigerians doing legitimate businesses in the former apartheid country.

Kalu said: “I was in the country and I visited the embassy. I interacted with three former presidents. When they think you have some money, they track you to the hotel and sometimes kill you.

“The federal government needs to do something. The person killed was a federal government delegate. The hotel in question must provide the footage for investigation. Everywhere in South Africa, they pursue Nigerians around like common criminals.

“We have businesses there the same way they have businesses here. Three former presidents of South Africa had in the past lived in Lagos. If they have, they should treat us as friends.

“Let us invite their ambassador to Nigeria and our ambassador to South Africa. I don’t know when enough will be better. But enough is enough. This has to stop.” Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, on his part said “enough is enough” and revealed how the Eighth Senate discussed the same issue extensively.

He said as a responsible country, Nigeria can’t fold its hands and watch its citizens killed in other nations of the world insisting that this must stop.

“This issue was discussed in the Eighth Senate. We sent a delegation to the South African Parliament then. South African businesses flourish more here.

“South African people are safe here. There is no need to take the lives of Nigerians. We deserve some respect. Our relationship must be respected. We are a responsible country.

“We should not be taken for granted. We have provided leadership in Africa. We can’t take these killings anymore and we are no longer going to tolerate that “.

The Senate has also ordered a thorough probe into the Tuesday’s march on the National Assembly premises by members of the Shiite religious group.

It has also directed the Inspector General of Police (IG), Abubakar Adamu, to ensure that those who invaded the Assembly complex are brought to book.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, who disclosed this to journalists after Senate plenary yesterday, stated that security unit of the National Assembly has been mandated to unravel the motive behind the invasion of the legislative house by the religious sect.

He added that the report of the probe panel is expected to be submitted to the leadership of the Assembly as soon as possible.

Adeyeye further said the Senate has also called on the IG, Adamu, to beef up security around the assembly complex.

The Senate spokesman while condemning the invasion emphasised that the parliament is a sacred institution of government and must therefore be respected by every Nigerian, irrespective of status.

“The unruly mob overpowered the security apparatus of the National Assembly through its main entrance known as MOPOL Gate. They forcefully seized one of the security operatives’ gun, shot two security personnel, unleashed terror on others, vandalised the gate, and burnt three vehicles of innocent individuals, while many other cars were equally vandalised. This unwarranted affront on the federal parliament led to abrupt adjournment of the House of Representatives plenary.

“Although, the Inspector General of Police has ordered speedy and diligent investigation into this unfortunate and unwarranted desecration of the federal fegislative house, the Senate hereby urges all law enforcement agencies to rise up to their hiding and urgently fish out the perpetrators of this dastardly act with the law taking its full course.

“It should be drummed into the ears of perpetrators of this heinous act that the National Assembly is a place of serenity and sacred legislative and deliberative institution which should be respected and allowed to concentrate on her mandate of legislation for good governance, security and peaceful co-existence of Nigerians.

Also yesterday, the upper legislative chamber referred President Buhari’s nominees for appointment as non-executive and executive directors of the Nigerian Communications Commission( NCC) for screening by an ad-hoc committee set up during plenary.

Those nominated as non-executive directors are Aliyu Saidu Abubakar (North East); Professor Millionaire Abowei (South-south) and Abdulazeez Mohammed Salman (North Central) as well as Iba AS Maska who will be serving a second term as executive commissioner if confirmed by the Senate.

This was sequel to an executive communication from President Buhari to the upper legislative chamber on the request for confirmation of the nominees in accordance with Section 8(1) of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Act 2003, which was read at plenary by the Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abullahi (Kebbi North).

Lawan thereafter announced the names of the ad-hoc committee and asked them to report back to plenary within 24 hours.

The committee headed by Senator Teslim Folarin (Oyo Central), has as members Senators James Manager ( Delta South), Ibrahim Oloriegbe (Kwara Central), Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central), Obinna Ogba (Ebonyi Central), Barau Jibrin (Kano North) and Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (Taraba Central)