By Victoria Ojeme
A Nigerian has been burnt alive by a mob, while the Police looked on, in the latest xenophobic attack in South Africa, just as 14 Nigerians, who protested the killing of a fellow citizen in that country’s North West Province in February are still in detention.
The incident happened on Sunday.
This came as the Federal Government, yesterday,described the development as unfortunate and called on the South African authorities to find a lasting solution to the incessant killing of Nigerians in that country.
The Nigerian, Clement Nwaogu, who was burnt alive by a mob, according to the Nigerian Community in South Africa, said the victim, from Njikoka in Anambra State, was attacked and killed by a mob in Rustenburg, North-West Province.
Secretary of the Nigerian Union in South Africa, Habib Miller, in a statement said the victim was murdered in cold blood over his accent, which the mobsters supposedly found offensive.
He said: “The mob descended on him like a common criminal with all sorts of dangerous weapons in the presence of South African Police officers. Eye-witnesses said the victim beckoned for help from the Police, but they turned a blind eye. When Nwaogu could no longer persevere, he ran for safety. The mob chased and caught him, poured petrol on him and set him ablaze.”
He said the mob left Nwaogu when they thought he was dead.
The spokesman said shortly after the mob left Nwaogu, some passers-by called emergency personnel, who took his charred body to the hospital. “The eye-witnesses, feeling that the victim was still alive called for help. Unfortunately, Nwaogu could not survive the ordeal and died at Job Shimankane Hospital in Rustenburg,” he added. Miller added that 14 Nigerians, who protested the killing of a fellow citizen in that country’s North-West Province in February are still in detention.
He said the Police officers murdered the Nigerian in cold blood on December 17, 2017, after failing to extort money from the victim.
Miller said that the Police officers had since been released on bail while those who protested the killing are still languishing in detention.
Meanwhile, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri–Erewa has described the latest killing as unfortunate.
Dabiri-Erewa called on the South African authorities to find a lasting solution to the incessant killing of Nigerians.
She said: “No fewer than 14 Nigerians, who protested the killing of a fellow citizen in that country’s North-West Province some months ago are still in detention. Though a bailable offence, the judge has been threatened not to release them.
“If they are released and returned to the community, all houses of Nigerians living there will be burnt down. There was so much tension that even the Nigerian lawyers representing Nigerians had to be escorted to court by Diplomatic Police.
“The community has vowed to deal with anyone who plays a positive role in getting the accused Nigerians return to Rustenburg. The latest incident is apparently a reaction to their threat of dealing with any Nigerian that they find in their community.”
Speaking on the incident, Consul-General to Nigerian Mission in South Africa, said: “The incident is unfortunate. The group of Nigerians who were reacting to the incident who marched to the Police station were arrested and some of them were arrested after they had left police station and thirteen of them were arrested and charged to court for public disturbance. We went to court over the case three times and it is coming up again this week, so the town has been tense over this matter.
“The erroneous belief is that all Nigerians are involved in drugs; unfortunately this particular guy that was attacked was not involved in drugs; he had his genuine business. They went to his shop on that fateful day, told him to bring the drug he was keeping. The guy said there was no drug in his shop, that he was a genuine businessman but they ignored him. They attacked him, beat him to a coma and set him ablaze but was taken to the hospital where he died later.
“So it was going to generate a lot of issues with Nigerians, so the mission intervened, particularly the High Commission, because each district is under the supervision of the High Commission in Pretoria, so the High Commissioner has been on top of the situation. He has spoken with the Nigerian community, sent officers to calm down the situation. Tomorrow morning, we are meeting on the matter. In fact, he has written a letter of protest to the South African authorities and waiting for their reaction.
“The two misions are on the same page on the issue.
“South Africa as we know is a very volatile country. We need to be very careful in the way we behave , so that we will be able to avoid this type of violence. It is not an easy thing to control but we are hoping that with a new government in place, it will take appropriate measures and meet with the relevant authorities to address this issue.”