IN the past three years, 127 Nigerians have been murdered in South Africa. Mrs. Elizabeth Ndubisi-Chukwu, Deputy Director-General of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, CIIN, who was strangled in her hotel room on June 13, 2019 at Kempton Park while attending a conference, is the latest and the most prominent victim thus far.
Most recently, before Elizabeth’s murder, Mr. Martin Ebuzoeme was also killed in Yeoville, Johannesburg on July 12. Six days earlier, on July 6, another Nigerian, Mr. Ozumba Tochukwu-Lawrence, was assassinated by an unknown gunman at 10 Koppe, Middleburg, Mpumalanga, South Africa.
Previously, the month of April had claimed two other victims: ThankGod Okoro, shot dead in Hamburg, Florida West Rand, Johannesburg, on April 9 by the South African Police Flying Squad, and Clement Nwaogu, a father of two, who was burnt to death by his assailant.
These are quite worrisome. Perhaps, even more worrisome are the contradictory verdicts of Nigeria’s Consul-General in Johannesburg, Mr. Godwin Adams, and South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, concerning this frequent murder of Nigerian citizens in that country.
While the Consul-General claimed that over 60 per cent of the deaths of Nigerians are caused by Nigerians themselves, 15 per cent by Police brutality, and 15 per cent by disagreement between two parties over business deals, the South African President, during his visit to Nigeria on July 11, 2018, said the killing of Nigerians and other foreign nationals in the country was an act of criminality, not specifically targeted at Nigerians.
It is saddening to hear Nigeria’s ambassador to South Africa, who can be regarded as a father to all Nigerians in that country, give bleak testimony of Nigerians there as sellers of hard drugs, saying most of the deaths were fallouts of drug-related conflicts. “Until Nigerians stop killing themselves, we will not be able to hold South African government accountable,” the Consul-General was quoted as saying.
Whether the Consul-General and the President of South Africa were saying the truth or not, there is no justification whatsoever for anyone to kill or watch Nigerians kill themselves in South Africa. It is the duty of government and our envoy there and law enforcement agents to get to the roots of the problem and address them.
It is for this reason that we join the Nigerian government to demand from the government of South Africa, not only an end to this carnage but also that it halts forthwith the killing of Nigerians in South Africa. Ramaphosa’s blame of unemployment in South Africa and other social factors emanating from long apartheid misrule is unacceptable to Nigerians.
Nigeria paid dearly for South Africa’s freedom and has provided a conducive atmosphere for South African businesses and nationals to thrive in Nigeria. Enough is enough.