Nigerians within and outside South Africa have expressed great displeasure over the alleged killing of a Nigerian, Celestine Nwokeocha, 36, by the South African Police.
The President of the Nigerian Union in South Africa, Mr Adetola Olubajo, expressed the feeling of Nigerians to the News Agency of Nigeria on the telephone from Pretoria, South Africa, on Saturday. He said that eyewitnesses reported that Nwokeocha was allegedly tortured and beaten to death in his house at Sasolburg area of Free State Province by the police on January 15.
“An inquest docket has been opened at Zamdela Police Station, Sasolburg, with case number 183/01/2019. “Also, Independent Police Investigation Department is involved in the case and we have been assured that justice would be served in the matter,” he told NAN.
Olubajo said that two witnesses, Nonso, a Nigerian and Palesa, a South African, were arrested by the same police officers that allegedly killed Nwokeocha. “When the witnesses appeared in court on January 17, the South African, Palesa was granted bail, but Nonso, who is a Nigerian was denied bail. “Autopsy has been done by one Dr Humphris and no sign of any substance was found in the deceased’s stomach.
“But there were bruises on his face, blood in his mouth and two bruises on his chest; a sign of lack of oxygen,” the President said. He advised Nigerians resident in Sasolburg to stay calm and remain law-abiding while the union works to find justice for the deceased.
According to him, Nigerians are advised to avoid engaging in activities that will jeopardize the successful prosecution of the alleged police officers. “Nwokeocha is survived by his wife and seven-month-old baby girl,” Olubajo said.
Also, on the matter, the office of the Consulate General of Nigeria in South Africa, condemned the killing of Nwokeocha. Mr Laren Jingina, the Vice-Consul, Information and Culture, said, “The Consulate detests in strongest terms, infringements of the law by security agents.
“The consulate demands compliance with the due process of the law. If it suspects infringement by anyone it will do the needful.” He said that the consulate was already in discussion with the relevant host authorities and would ensure that justice is done and the affected police officers brought to justice.
Jingina also urged members of the deceased’s family and Nigerians living in Sasolburg to remain calm and law-abiding as the consulate seeks justice for late Nwokeocha.