…condemns torture, the murder of 3 Nigerians within one month
ALEX OKORO with Agency report
Godwin Adama, Consul General, Nigeria Consulate, in Johannesburg, South Africa says the mission will protest killings and high handedness of South African police against Nigerians over flimsy excuses.
Adama said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja through the telephone while reacting to the alleged killing of a Nigerian, Maxwell Ikechukwu Okoye by the South African Police on Friday.
The Envoy who described the situation as unacceptable said the issue had become very worrisome and deserved the intervention of host authorities.
“I have confirmed the death of late Maxwell Ikechukwu Okoye in the hands of South African police officers at about 01.00 hrs 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.
“As no help was immediately available due probably to the time of the night and the fact that all attempts to get him online 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.
He said that by the time members of the Nigerian community in the area got to his house, 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 case according to him, was reported by the resident Nigerians to the police who promised to commence the investigation of the matter by the independent police investigative directorate (IPID) in the Province.
He said the mission had reported the matter to the National Headquarters of the IPID in Pretoria to ensure a thorough investigation was initiated on the matter.
“We intend to protest the matter officially through the usual diplomatic channel by the High Commission in Pretoria once all details are collated.
“This is about the third case involving the alleged torture and murder of resident Nigerians by South African police in a spate of one month.
“It happened in Capetown, Durban and now in Ladysmith. As Nigerian Missions in South Africa, we shall not fold our hands and allow these infractions to continue.
“We shall 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 maintained.
He said that in October 2017, a similar development of alleged murder of a Nigerian, Badmus Ibrahim Olalekan from Lagos State by men of the South African police service led to the arrest and arraignment of eight policemen in Vanderbijlpark park, near Johannesburg, at the intervention of the Consulate General.
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 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 very worrisome and deserves the intervention of the host authorities.
“This is in order to protect the excellent relations that have existed between the two countries as well as preserve coexistence of Nigerians and their South African hosts,” he said
He added that the two Missions were, however, working hard to discuss the matter and resolve these challenges with the relevant host authorities.