Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
Chairman of South East Governors’ Forum (SEGF) and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi, has petitioned Nigeria and South African governments over the killing of Mr Benjamin Simeon in South Africa last Saturday.
Simeon, a native of Okposi, a nearby community to Umahi’s Uburu community, both in Ohaozara Local Government Area of the state, was reportedly shot dead by yet-to-be-identified gunmen on August 3, 2019, at Verona Street in Johannesburg, South Africa.
This came about seven weeks after the Deputy Director-General of Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, Mrs. Elizabeth Ndubuisi-Chukwu, was killed in a hotel in South Africa, precisely on June 13, while attending the conference of the African Insurance Organisation.
Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano, had petitioned relevant offices demanding thorough investigations into the killing of the lady who hailed from his state. He also demanded that justice be served as her killers must not go unpunished.
In a statement signed by Umahi’s Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, the governor expressed great sadness over the gruesome murder of the Nigerian citizen who was going about his legitimate business before his assailants struck.
The statement indicated that the governor had sent a strongly-worded petition to the South African High Commission, requesting for a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the gruesome murder of the deceased.
Umahi was also quoted to have called the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, requesting him to intervene in the matter to ensure that the South African envoy acts on the petition with a view to investigating the heinous crime, and as well, bring the perpetrators to book.
Until his demise, Mr Benjamin Simeon was a law-abiding Nigerian citizen resident in South Africa where he was going about his normal business as a taxi driver. He was said to have dropped his passengers shortly before he was shot dead by his assailants.
Umahi said that 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.
“Unravelling 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.
“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,” the statement added.