Xenophobia: Umahi Petitions South African High Commissioner over Death of Kinsman


Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki

Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi has expressed great sadness over the gruesome murder of a Nigerian citizen who also hails from Ebonyi State, Mr. Benjamin Simeon in South Africa.

Umahi, according to a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, also sent a strong-worded petition to the South African High Commissioner.

The governor is requesting for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the gruesome murder of Benjamin Simeon, a native of Okposi in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

Simeon, according to the statement, was allegedly shot by yet-to-be identified gunmen on August 3, 2019 at Verona Street in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The deceased was until his death a law- abiding Nigerian citizen resident in South Africa where he was going about his normal business as a taxi driver.

According to the state government, he had dropped his passengers shortly before he was shot dead by his assailants.

Umahi was quoted to have called the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, requesting him to intervene in the matter to ensure that the South African envoy acts on the petition and the urgent need to investigate and bring the perpetrators to book.

Umahi said the murder of the 43-year-old indigene of Ebonyi State had thrown the state into mourning, and pleaded that he must not die in vain.

Part of the statement released by Uzor read:  “unraveling the circumstances surrounding this heinous murder of Simeon presents to the fore, the need for the South African government to undertake requisite thoroughness and transparency to ensure that justice is served to the Nigerian government, Ebonyi State and the family of the deceased”

He further said “the loss of a highly talented and law abiding citizen of Nigeria who was going about his legitimate business in South Africa aptly challenges us all to call on the reserves of our cherished African brotherhood.

“In the face of the foregoing, the least that can be done for him and his family now is to prove that he did not die in vain by vigorously probing his murder and ensuring that the killers face justice”