Image

How Nigerians Are Killed In South Africa In Tales Of Torture, Murder |RN

By Juliana Francis

 

On April 21, Nigerians woke up to hear the horrifying news of the murder of Clement Nwaogu in South Africa. Although Nwaogu was not the first Nigerian who had been killed by the xenophobic South Africans, the manner of his murder had people dashing to catch the vomiting bowl. According to horrified witnesses, Nwaogu was burnt alive by an angry mob. Incidentally, some South African policemen were said to have stood, watching as the mob made preparation and set Nwaogu on fire.

His screams of pains didn’t touch the frenzied crowd, let alone the policemen, who had sworn to protect lives and property as they received their commissions and police badges. The Publicity Secretary of the Nigeria Union in South Africa, Mr Habib Miller, told our correspondent on the phone that Nwaogu, from Anambra State, was attacked and killed by a mob in Rustenburg, North West Province. Miller said that the victim was murdered over his accent and habit, which the killers found offensive.

He added: “The mob descended on him with all sorts of dangerous weapons, as if he was a criminal, in the presence of South African police officers. Eyewitnesses said the victim beckoned for help from the police to intervene and help him, but they didn’t.

When Nwaogu could no longer persevere, he ran and the mob chased and caught him, poured petrol on him and set him ablaze.” Nwaogu was married to a South African and was blessed with two children; aged five and three.

Nwaogu’s murder followed the killing of ThankGod Okoro (30) by the South African Police Flying Squad. Okoro, from Enugu State, was shot dead at Hamburg, Florida West Rand, Johannesburg on April 9.

It appears that no month goes by without one Nigerian getting killed, attacked or tortured. Nigerians in South African were still mourning Nwaogu and Okoro when two more Nigerians were killed this month.

The murder of the two, Francis Ochuba and Chidi Ibebuike, brought the official number of those killed since February 2016 to 118. It is believed that many others had been murdered, which fellow Nigerians do not know about. They are Nigerians in South Africa, who had simply disappeared into thin air.

Till date, nobody knows their whereabouts. Ochuba, a property owner, was shot dead alongside his estate agent, a female South African on May 5. They were killed while visiting the tenant occupying Ochuba’s house to collect rent.

The incident occurred in Central Johannesburg. Ibebuike, on the other hand, was shot at the entrance to his house at Hazyview in Mpumalanga on May 13 and his car taken. In January, perturbed by the escalating cases of Nigerians being attacked and killed, some Nigerians in South Africa staged a peaceful protest.

South African police swooped on them. They have been in detention since then. Most times, when these killings are being carried out, the killers gleefully record them in video and later upload the videos to YouTube. Many reasons had been attributed to the continued murder of Nigerians in South Africa by the natives.

Nigerians have been accused of often being connected to drug trafficking, prostitution and human trafficking rings. Other absurd reasons are that Nigerians are picking the choice jobs, accommodation and women in South Africa.

But whatever the reasons, Nigerians living in South Africa are today calling for the end of the xenophobic attacks and threats. According to them, their wives and children are now living in fear, with their lives being daily threatened.

This was even as they alleged that the Nigerian government was not doing enough to ensure their protection. Miller said that a violent group in Rustenburg had earlier given Nigerians notice to vacate the area or get killed. According to him, since the order was issued, there have been numerous cases of Nigerians being kidnapped with ransom paid to their abductors.

Miller said that the 14 Nigerians in custody protested the murder of a Nigerian by policemen on December 17 after they failed to extort money from the deceased. Miller noted that the police officers had since been released on bail while those who protested the killing were still languishing in detention.

He added: “We’re worried that nothing has been done by the Nigerian government to stop the killings. We once again call on the Nigerian mission in South Africa to do the needful urgently because things are getting out of hand.”

There have been allegations that so many Nigerians are arrested and abandoned in South African prisons. Miller said: “We are not sure of the number of Nigerians incarcerated in South Africa but we have intentions of finding out.” Worried by the increasing killings, he said: “It’s important to note that a violent group in Rustenburg has given Nigerians in the North West Province a quit or be killed without notice. Since January that the threat was issued, there have been numerous cases of Nigerians kidnapped and ransom remitted to abductors before they were liberated.

Mr Desmond, from Niger Delta, whose loved ones couldn’t afford to pay the ransom requested by his abductors, was inhumanely killed. Furthermore, there have been reports of eight cars belonging to Nigerians burnt.

Houses occupied by Nigerians are often ransacked and Nigerians are molested and injured. Looting of Nigerian-owned businesses and a threat to lives of Nigerians are occurring on a daily basis. Nigerians in Rustenburg still live in fear.”

He said that most of the men killed were breadwinners of their families in South Africa and Nigeria. Miller added: “The untold anguish, hardship, pain and disorientation they suffered were unimaginable and it calls for deeper reflections.

“Our government officials, who are supposed to pressurise their South African counterparts on these killings, harassment and looting of Nigerian businesses, claimed it was as a result of the illegalities our nationals are involved in. It’s unfortunate that such stance is taken to probably cover the government’s helplessness. South Africa is not the only country with Nigerian immigrants, but why so many killings?

The Nigerian Union of South Africa does not condone crime in any form, but we ask that whoever a suspect should be charged and dealt with. Our advice to the Nigerian government representatives in South Africa is to channel their energy towards eradicating the major complexities Nigerians face in South Africa, which include untimely termination of lives, harassment and business looting.”

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said that the Nigerian government was aware of the arrest and incarceration of the 14 Nigerians and was doing something about it. She said: “The residents of that community have threatened that if the Nigerians on trial are released on bail and return to that community, they would burn all the houses linked to Nigerians there.

They accuse Nigerians of being involved in drugs and prostitution. Nigerians were also accused of taking houses that belong to low-income South Africans and using them for crime-related activities.” Dabiri-Erewa explained that during the last hearing of the case of the 14 Nigerians, which took place a few weeks ago, the lawyer representing the suspects had to be escorted by diplomatic police. The trial was witnessed by officials of the Nigerian High Commission and Consulate.

The lawyer was escorted because the residents have also threatened to deal with anyone who made it possible for the suspects to be released on bail. She said: “Recall that in fulfilment of that threat, a Nigerian found in that area was burnt alive, three days after the last court hearing.

“While we appeal to Nigerians to stay away from crime and violence, South Africans’ killing of Nigerians is not the solution. “The embassy and consulate have been in talks with South African authorities on this. Embassy and consulate officials are meeting with local police, local communities and Nigerians in several communities. They are being proactive now to cement relations with the host communities.”

There are several solutions to check rising cases of Nigerians being killed in South Africa. There has to be more sensitisation and awareness between Nigerians and South Africans, in particularly hostile communities. And most importantly, Nigerians must stop committing a crime. A source said: “It was also alleged that the recent killing of three Nigerians, was actually by Nigerians.

They were cult killings. A cult member killed another, and there was retaliation. It was getting messier.”Speaking on ways to curtail killings of Nigerians, Dabiri-Erewa said: “South Africa should make efforts to arrest the criminals who are giving Nigerians a bad name.”  (New Telegraph)

www.twitter.com:RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Advertisements
Image

Nigeria, South Africa To Use Cultural Diplomacy To End Attacks On Nigerians

The Nigerian and South African Governments are to use cultural diplomacy to end incessant xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the announcement on Friday in Abuja.

He was speaking when the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Lulu Mnguni, paid him a courtesy visit.

Mohammed said that Nigeria and South Africa were two brotherly countries that had enjoyed long-standing relations, in spite of occasional disagreements.

He said the cultural diplomacy was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s recommendations for people-to-people relations between both countries in ending xenophobia.

The minister said that Buhari gave the recommendation when the South African President, Mr Jacob Zuma, paid a state visit to Nigeria.

He said that cultural diplomacy was an effective tool that would end xenophobia and strengthen the understanding between Nigerians and South Africans.

‘‘The options open to us in the area of cultural diplomacy are many but please, permit me to highlight a few of what we are planning to do in the months ahead.

‘‘The ministry of information and culture, working in collaboration with its relevant parastatal agencies is to embark on a series of activities in South Africa to strengthen the understanding between Nigerians and South Africans.

‘‘These activities include joint musical concerts, co-production in the area of films, visit of popular Nollywood actors and actresses to South Africa as part of a Nigerian delegation going on a confidence-building trip.

‘‘Exhibitions featuring Nigerian delicacies to be entitled “A Taste of Nigeria’’ and a town hall meeting for Nigerians resident in South Africa, with a view to encouraging dialogue on the way forward.’’

The minister said that the activities would kick-off in the weeks ahead and would not be a one-off event.

He said that while diplomats continued to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries, the ministry would deploy and ensure the sustenance of cultural diplomacy to bring the people together.

Mohammed noted that if the relations between Nigeria and South Africa became more cordial, it would have a positive effect on the whole of Africa.

‘‘Over 120 South African companies, perhaps more than those of any other African country are doing business in Nigeria. Thousands of Nigerians regularly travel to South Africa for business and leisure.

‘‘Historically, Nigeria played a frontline role in helping to end the scourge of apartheid in South Africa.

‘‘We must spare no effort in strengthening this brotherly spirit between our two countries and cultural diplomacy will be a major tool in this effort.’’

Mnguni said earlier, that both countries shared trenches together for many years during the regime of apartheid which South Africa was able to defeat with the support of Nigeria.

The envoy thanked the Federal Government for the relentless fight side by side with his country during the apartheid era.

He said there was urgent need to deploy programmes that would educate the people on the time-tested relations between both countries.

‘‘We believe that using culture, music, poetry and many other forms of cultural relations will help to strengthen our cohesion.’’

Mnguni noted that Nigeria had potential in the field of culture which could be used to strengthen relations between the two countries.

He thanked the minister for championing the cultural diplomacy initiative to address racial intolerance.

(Source: NAN)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Xenophobia: Five Nigerians Attacked In South Africa In Fresh Wave Of Attacks

south-africa-xenophobic-attacks1

The Nigerian Union in South Africa, on Tuesday, said five Nigerians had been attacked in Polokwane, Limpopo Province, in renewed xenophobic attacks.

The Secretary of the union in the province, Mr. Collin Mgbo, told the News Agency of Nigeria on the telephone from Polokwane that three of the five Nigerians attacked were in critical conditions in the hospital.

“I received a call that a Nigerian was attacked at Ivy Park in Polokwane on March 15. I got to the scene and saw that the Nigerian was almost dead, his house was looted and burnt,” he said.

Mgbo said another Nigerian was also attacked in the same neighbourhood on the same day and that when he got to the scene, the mob left the wounded man and descended on him.

“They left the wounded Nigerian and faced me. They destroyed my car and I managed to escape and run to a police station,” he said.

The secretary added that three other Nigerians, including the owner of a mechanic’s garage, were attacked at Moledji, near Polokwane.

“Their shops and houses were looted and destroyed. The local chapter of the union has reported these attacks to the South African police, the Nigerian mission and the national secretariat of our union.

“Our national secretariat is on top of the situation. As we speak, the three Nigerians in the hospital are in critical conditions and I do not know if they will survive because of the severity of the attack,” he said.

Mgbo urged the Federal Government to persuade its South African counterpart to ensure the safety of Nigerians in their country.

When contacted on phone, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olusola Enikanolaye, said the ministry had not been briefed about the incident.

He, however, promised to get back to NAN after an inquiry from the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa.

Similar, in February, properties worth millions of dollars belonging to Nigerians were destroyed.

The Federal Government later sent a delegation led by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffry Onyeama, and the Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd.), to South Africa for discussion on how to curtail the attacks.      (Punchng.com)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

South Africans Attack Nigerians, Loot Shops Belonging To Nigerians, Others

The Nigerian community in South Africa Monday said that another shop belonging to a member was looted in the latest xenophobic attack at Jeppestown, Johannesburg.

Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, President of the Nigeria Union, South Africa, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the phone from Pretoria that the shop was looted on Sunday night.

“We have received information that there was an overnight attack on shops belonging to foreigners at Jeppestown, a business district in Johannesburg.

“A shop belonging to a Nigerian was affected.

“The goods in the shop were looted by the attackers. The Nigerian was not hurt during the attack.

“We also learnt that shops belonging to other foreigners were also looted,” he said.

Anyene stated that attempts made to loot another shop belonging to a Nigerian failed as the owner called the police.

He said the value of items lost in the affected shop had not been ascertained while the incident had been reported to the Nigerian Mission and the South African police.

“We have told Nigerians to adopt protective measures to save their businesses and homes.

“The union is in touch with the Nigerian mission and our chapters in the nine provinces of South Africa are also on alert.

“They have been directed to sensitise our people on the situation in the country and to be cautious in all their endeavours,” he said.

The South African police Monday said no fewer than 100 people ransacked shops in Johannesburg overnight, in a fresh wave of xenophobic attacks in South African cities, reported Reuters.

“We are following up on leads and we are expecting to make more arrests,” police spokesman Brig. Mathapelo Peters said.

She said she did not know the nationalities of the shopkeepers and the police were waiting for owners to come forward so that they could open cases of violence and damage to property.

Similar incidents have taken place in Pretoria this month, but the police have been reluctant to characterise the attacks as being directed against foreigners.

Anti-immigrant violence has flared sporadically in South Africa against a background of near-record unemployment, with foreigners being accused of criminal activities and taking jobs from locals.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba on Friday acknowledged violence had flared up against foreigners this year, saying that “unfortunately, xenophobic violence is not new in South Africa”.

On Friday, police fired tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse marches by hundreds of anti-immigrant protesters in Pretoria, after mobs looted stores believed to belong to immigrants.

More than 150 people were arrested. Also, a Reuters witness said doors and windows were smashed in, and food and other items were strewn on the floor in stores believed to belong to immigrants in Jeppestown, an area in the central business district.

“We’ve been stuck inside here until the police came,” Abdul Ebrahim, a Somali shop owner, said after emerging from his store, where a number of his colleagues had barricaded themselves.

“No one told us what they were looking for,” he added when asked why the mob had attacked his shop. At least one person was arrested.

The Nigerian Government on Thursday urged the South African government to put in place measures to end the incessant xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in that country.

Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Khadija Abba-Ibrahim, gave the directive in Abuja when she met with the High Commissioner of South Africa to Nigeria, Mr Lulu Aaron-Mnguni, for the second time on the issue.

The ministry had on Monday, February 20, summoned the South Africa High Commissioner over the same matter.

Nigerian buildings, property and places of worship worth millions of dollars were destroyed by South Africans on February 5 and 18.  (thenigerian.ng)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Xenophobic Attacks: Nigerians Vow To Stay Put In South Africa

 

…as foreigners confront anti-immigrant protesters in Pretoria

Gbenro Adeoye, Jesusegun Alagbe and Eric Dumo  with agency report

Despite repeated xenophobic attacks, some Nigerians in South Africa have said they would not return home.

Citing unemployment, insecurity, kidnappings, poor infrastructure and epileptic power supply, the Nigerians described returning to the country as returning to a “hardship zone.”

Some others said it would be difficult to leave South Africa as they had nothing to fall back on in Nigeria.

There are over 800,000 Nigerians living in South Africa, according to the Nigerian Union South Africa, with many of them based in Johannesburg.

However, those living in Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital, have in recent days witnessed violence reminiscent of the last major wave of xenophobic attacks that hit Johannesburg and Durban in 2015, in which about seven Nigerians died.

In the recent attacks which started early February 2017, at least 20 shops and homes — belonging to foreigners, mostly Nigerians — were looted and burned, as stated by the South African police.

In spite of the attacks, a Nigerian living in Pretoria, Muyiwa Adebola, said he would not return home.

Having worked as an auto-mechanic in the South African city for about five years, he said it would be “unwise” to leave now.

“This is where I have my source of livelihood. This is where I have been working for the past five years to take care of my family in Nigeria. I cannot leave now because of the attacks,” the 38-year-old said.

Making reference to unemployment, poor infrastructure, among others, Adebola said the only reason he would return to Nigeria is if things were working properly.

He said, “They have good roads here, potable water, constant power supply and you don’t often hear of kidnapping. As an auto mechanic, I’m also better paid here than when I was in Nigeria.

“Personally, I’m not deterred by the attacks, even though it’s worrying. I know things would calm down again and we could carry on with our normal businesses.”

Seun Komolafe, who has lived in the former apartheid colony for about nine years, said the reason for the attacks is that “South Africans see Nigerians as a threat to their survival because of our hardworking nature.”

He said, “The reason why many of us have decided to remain in South Africa is because things have yet to work properly in Nigeria. Getting a job with your academic qualification is easier here than in Nigeria.

“Over the last few days, I have spoken to many of our people here who would have loved to come back to Nigeria but can’t do so yet because they don’t know what to survive on if they return.

“The people here are very hostile to Nigerians. They see us as a threat in every way because we are hardworking and considerate to the feelings of others, while many of them are lazy and selfish.”

Meanwhile, Komolafe said he would love to return to Nigeria only if there were job opportunities.

Mr Gabriel Eze, a resident of Johannesburg for 10 years, is a luxury store owner in the city. Eze said since he had invested all his life in the business, it would be foolish to leave now.

He said, “My family is here, so there’s nothing to come and do at home. Where you succeed is where you call home. I was struggling in Nigeria before I came here in 2007.

“If you think of the attacks, you would do nothing. I have insured my business. So if anything happens, I’ll not be too sad. I may only think of returning to Nigeria if there is no kidnapping, epileptic power supply and poor infrastructure. To be sincere, these are the things that drove us out of Nigeria.”

Eze added that his interactions with fellow Nigerians in South Africa showed that many of them were not willing to come back to the country.

“Some of them have become established or they are about to, so it’s not easy to leave like that. I know of friends who have relocated from Pretoria to another county after the attacks. The hustle continues. To come home is like returning to a ‘hardship zone,’” he said.

Abdulrahman Abubakar, who has lived in Pretoria for 12 years, also cited poor infrastructure as a reason for not willing to return to Nigeria.

He said, “Some of us here were discussing in respect of the recent attacks. If there were infrastructural facilities in Nigeria, we would all come home. In fact, if it is only electricity that the government can fix, we will come. That’s why some of us came to South Africa.”

A Nigerian living in Johannesburg Central, Mr Ade Adesina, also said he was not planning on returning to Nigeria despite the xenophobic attacks.

He said, “The South African government has not asked us to leave so I will remain in the country.

“The things we take for granted here (in South Africa) are not in Nigeria. In Nigeria, such things as power supply, good infrastructure and so on are considered as a luxury, so what is there to return to?”

Also, in a conversation Saturday PUNCH had with the Public Relations Officer of NUSA, Mr Emeka Collins, he said that despite the attacks, most Nigerians were not willing to return to the country.

“My observation is that many Nigerians still want to remain in South Africa. Some of them are contented living here due to the hardship at home,” he said.

Collins said the Nigerian Consul General in South Africa, Ambassador (Mrs.) Uche Ajulu-Okeke, visited the victims of the latest attacks on Wednesday.

The Secretary General of NUSA, Mr Adetola Olubajo, also confirmed that “most” Nigerians he spoke with were not planning to return to Nigeria despite the attacks.

“The Consul General visited the police to report the attacks and I believe everything is normal now,” he said.

For Nigerians considering to return home but have no means of doing so, the Federal Government has asked them to contact the Nigerian High Commission in Johannesburg.

When asked whether the government would consider providing a free flight for them, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said, “There is a procedure for that. Those willing to return home would have to go to the commission in Johannesburg to liaise with it first.”

Nigerians and other foreigners clashed with anti-immigrant protesters on Friday in Pretoria, South Africa.

A South African group called Mamelodi Concerned Residents, which led the anti-immigrant march, blamed foreign nationals, including Nigerians, for taking South African jobs and accused them of running prostitution rings and drugs.

The group had in recent weeks launched a series of attacks on migrants, particularly Nigerians, living in Pretoria.

However, Friday’s ‘xenophobic’ attacks were resisted by Nigerians and other foreigners, resulting into clashes between South Africans and foreigners, British Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Eyewitnesses reported that Nigerians were seen confronting their attackers with knives, sticks and guns.

During the anti-immigrant protest, there were reports of looting, violence and destruction of property belonging to foreigners.

A resident of Johannesburg, South Africa, via his twitter handle, @IdahPeterside, said, “It’s a stand-off in Pretoria. Nigerians have refused to hide. The South Africans are being confronted by Nigerians carrying guns.”

A Nigerian living in Pretoria, Mr Abdulraman Abubakar, confirmed the clashes to Saturday PUNCH.

He said, “There were clashes between South Africans and foreigners this morning in different parts of Pretoria. The police are firing rubber bullets as we speak.”

Meanwhile, the South African Police Force said on Friday that it had arrested over 136 people in Pretoria following an anti-immigrant protest which held in the city.

The South African National Police Chief, Khomotso Phahlane, said the protesters were arrested during operations that lasted for about 24 hours.

However, it was uncertain how many of those in custody were South Africans and how many were foreigners.

Be that as it may, Phahlane said anyone found to have been inciting violence would be prosecuted.

President Jacob Zuma had also condemned the acts of violence and intimidation directed at African immigrants living in the country.

“It is wrong to brandish all non-nationals as drug dealers or human traffickers. Let us isolate those who commit such crimes and work with the government to have them arrested, without stereotyping and causing harm to innocent people,” Zuma said in a statement.  (Punchng.com)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

PHOTO NEWS: South African Protesters, Nigerians Clash In Pretoria

South African police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to break up clashes between local protesters and migrants in Pretoria on February 24 at a march against immigration.

See photos below

South African police officers detain a Nigerian man during a face-off with a group of South Africans in the centre of Pretoria on February 24, 2017.
/ AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI
Smoke rises from a stun grenade during a stand-off between South African residents and a group of migrants in the center of Pretoria on February 24, 2017.
/ AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI
A South African police officer (L) tries to control a group of Nigerians as they face-off with a group of South Africans during a stand-off in the center of Pretoria on February 24, 2017.
/ AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI
A masked South African demonstrator looks on during stand off with a group of migrants in the center of Pretoria on February 24, 2017.
. / AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI
Nigerians gesture as they face-off with a group of South Africans during a stand-off in the center of Pretoria on February 24, 2017.
/ AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI
Nigerians gesture as they face-off with a group of South Africans during a stand-off in the center of Pretoria on February 24, 2017.
/ AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI
www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1
Continue reading