Members of the Nigerian community in Western Cape, South Africa, staged a protest in Cape Town on Friday over the allegedly killing a Nigerian by the South Africa police while in custody.
Mr Mojeed Biobaku, the Secretary of Nigeria Union, Western Cape, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Johannesburg that Mr Obinna Ugboaja was killed on 5 January, by the police over allegation of swallowing drugs after an arrest.
“Obinna on January 5, was arrested by the police on the allegation that he was in possession of drugs, the police claimed that he tried to swallow the drug when arrested.
“The victim was forcefully put in the police vehicle and assaulted inside the police van and at the police station. Thirty minutes after his arrest Obinna died in police custody,’’ Biobaku said.
He said that members of the union went to the police station on hearing about the death of the victim.
“When we heard about his death, as members of the Nigerian union we went to the police station to make inquiry but we were told that the case had already been reported to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
“But the investigating officer handling the case told us to provide eye-witness. Many Nigerians who witnessed the incident came out but we were told that the autopsy of the victim to determine the cause of death was not yet conducted,’’ Biobaku said.
He said the police prevented members of the deceased’s family from seeing his body while at the police station.
“We had engaged the services of a lawyer to represent us officially on this issue and to ensure we get justice at the end. We want an end to unnecessary assaults and attack on Nigerians by the South African police.
“We want the perpetrators to be punished, we also want an independent autopsy to be conducted to determine the cause of Obinna’s death,’’ Biobaku said.
Meanwhile, the Consul General at the Nigeria Embassy, Mr Okey Emuchay, told NAN that his office was aware of the incident.
“We are aware of the incident, it is an unfortunate incident and this is not the first time that Nigerian citizens would be assaulted and killed by members the South African police.
“We are taking action as expected; we are going to inform Abuja about the incident.
“We will do a formal letter and hand-deliver to the South African Commissioner and a copy will also be sent to the Western Cape Police Commissioner,’’ Emuchay said.
He said the Nigerian Consulate would follow the incident and ensure that justice was done.
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