Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Following the unabated killing of Nigerians in South Africa, the Government of the Republic of South Africa has said it is leaving no stone unturned to ensure a safe environment for all nationals living in the country.
Acting South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Bobby Moroe, in a correspondence with Daily Sun from Pretoria, said the Government of South Africa will continue to work with its various law enforcement agencies to establish facts regarding the killings.
Moroe’s reaction is coming on the heels of Saturday killing of a Nigerian, 43 years old Benjamin Simeon, a native of Okposi in Ebonyi State, amidst unresolved cases of killing of Nigerians in the country, particularly the case of a Deputy Director-General of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, Elizabeth Ndubuisi-Chukwu.
But Moroe further said the South African Police Service (SAPS) had already started sharing information about the status of the case of a 17-year-old Nigerian boy who was shot recently in Johannesburg.
He added that a case had been registered and an investigation was underway, even as he said it was envisaged that the same approach would be adopted going forward.
“The government remains committed to bringing all perpetrators of all forms of violence and killings against any national to book. Our police visibility is one approach that government has taken to curb acts of violence and criminality against civilians.
“The civil society is also encouraged to serve as whistleblowers in instances where they have witnessed such acts of criminality. It may take a little while to provide a status report on various cases, but our government is committed to this process. We value the lives of all nationals and will do everything in our power to protect them in our borders,” Moroe said.
Moroe further assured Nigerians of update on the investigation regarding the death of Ndubuisi-Chukwu, promising to consult with the SAPS to obtain the status report.
Reacting to the killings, the Consul General of Nigeria in Johannesburg, South Africa, Godwin Adama, said the solution to the killings is still a challenge.
Adama confirmed the most recent case which was the killing of Simeon, a Taxify driver who was believed to be living a decent life with a wife and two children.
“He was murdered by those he picked in the course of his driving business. The case was immediately reported by the leadership of Nigerian Citizens Association, South Africa. A case file opened for murder No. 34/08/2019 at Moffatview Police Station, Johannesburg. Investigations are already on by Sergeant Hlatshawayo of the South African Police Service. Although investigations are on, but deaths of taxi drivers, Uber and Taxifers are rampart here. We are pressing for thorough investigations.
“While we know that SA (South Africa) has one of the highest crime rates in the world and murder cases are very high, prompting serious concerns both by SA government and Nigerian and others; it is believed that solution is still a challenge,” Adama said.
Adama also said the issue of police brutality to foreigners, particularly Nigerians, is high and should be checked by the South African authorities.
Adama added that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), the body overseeing crimes committed by police, is doing its best, but something needed to be done to punish offenders in order to serve as deterrence.
Adama also said the follow up on the issue of late Mrs Elizabeth Obianuju Ndubuisi-Chukwu, yielded fruits as the case was upgraded to high profile with a police brigadier and two colonels now handling the matter.
“We are periodically briefed and believe the case will be properly investigated as is usual with high-profile cases,” Adama added.
Commenting on whether the killings were out of the control of the South African Government, Adama maintained that crime rate in the country is very high and not necessarily targeted at Nigerians.
“I wouldn’t say the killings have gone out of control, but it is generally very high, not necessarily targeted at Nigerians. A situation where statistics on the internet indicates between 18,000 and 20,000 murders are recorded in a year shows a high rate of crime and in such environment; you should be careful, know where you live, what you do and who you relate with.
“Diplomatically, discussions are on. The Nigerian High Commissioner in Pretoria and ourselves are doing everything possible to handle the cases as appropriate in line with diplomatic practices. We don’t rest here, but that is the assignment God had given at a time like this. Well, for me, I also keep praying for both South Africa and Nigerians resident here for things to be more peaceful. I believe strongly that things will become more peaceful soonest.
“We as a people in diaspora also have a role to play and should conduct ourselves in the best tradition of peaceful coexistence with our SA hosts,” Adama stated.