Nigerians living in Gauteng Province of South Africa have protested the alleged extra-judicial killing of a 34- year-old man, Timothy Chinedu, by the police.
Mathew Okafor, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union in Gauteng Province, told the News Agency of Nigeria on phone from Johannesburg that Mr. Chinedu was allegedly suffocated to death by the police after his arrest at 9.00 a.m. on Saturday.
Mr. Chinedu is a native of Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo.
Mr. Okafor claimed that another Nigerian, who witnessed the incident at Kempton Park in Ekulurheni Municipality, Gauteng Province, saw the South African police arrest the deceased, tie his hands and cover his face with a cellophane bag.
“We suspect that Chinedu died of suffocation. That is why Nigerians in the province mobilised and staged a protest against this extra-judicial killing .
“The South African police is alleging that he died after ingesting drugs but a Nigerian witnessed the entire incident and reported it to us.
“The case has been handed over to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) that investigates police misconduct in South Africa.
“We have been given the contacts of key persons that we need to be talking to as this investigation proceeds so that we can monitor the development.
“An autopsy is being carried out and we are waiting for the coroner’s report.
“We have also reported this incident to the national body of Nigeria Union and Nigerian Mission in South Africa.
“We have also gotten the contacts of the relatives of the deceased and we have duly informed them of the tragedy,” Mr. Okafor said.
The President of Nigeria Union in South Africa, Ikechukwu Anyene, said the body had received the report of the incident.
“We take exception to the continued torture of Nigerians by the South African police.
“The union believes that there is the due process to follow after a suspect is arrested instead of resorting to torture,” he said.
Mr. Anyene urged the Federal Government to intervene by persuading the South African government to look into the continued killings of Nigerians by the police.
“We also want to state that the Nigerian did not die of drug ingestion as being alleged by the South African police,” he said.
Nigeria`s Consul General to South Africa, Uche Ajulu-Okeke, said that the mission had received the report of the killing of the Nigerian.
She said the mission would investigate the incident and present a report to the Federal Government.
Ms. Ajulu-Okeke, however, appealed to Nigerians to remain law abiding and report any incident to the union and the mission.