The Nigerian Mission in South Africa announced on Friday that police officers implicated in the alleged murder of a Nigerian, Ibrahim Badmus, would be charged to court soon.
Mr Badmus, 25, who was murdered in 2017, was among no fewer than 120 Nigerians, mainly young people, killed in South Africa since February 2016.
Nigeria’s Consul-General in South Africa, Godwin Adama, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a telephone interview from Johannesburg that the South African authorities had confirmed that investigation into the murder of Mr Badmus was almost concluded.
“Badmus, a native of Lagos State, was brutally murdered by the South African police on October 10, 2017 at Vanderbidjk Park, South Africa.
“Police officers implicated in the murder will be charged to court any moment from now,” the envoy said.
South African police officers were said to have stormed the home of Mr Badmus, an undergraduate at Vaal University of Technology in Vanderbijlpark in South Africa, alleging that Badmus was trafficking drugs.
But it was learnt that when the operatives searched the home of the young Nigerian, they could not find any drug.
The operatives, allegedly asked the deceased for money and when he could not give them money, they handcuffed him and used excessive pepper spray on him. He passed out and died, due to suffocation.
Mr Adama said the case was classified as high-profile because of the tension generated by the development as some Nigerians, who had confrontation with the police almost took laws into their hands.
The consul-general said that on hearing the development, he immediately rushed to the scene where he interfaced with aggrieved Nigerians and the police to calm frayed nerves.
“I led a delegation from the mission to visit the scene on receipt of the information. When we arrived the scene, the place was tensed up because Nigerians there were not happy.
“We immediately met with the station commander in the area with some selected Nigerians.
“The police assured that a thorough investigation would be carried out and that the culprit would be brought to book.”
He said that the police authorities later arrested the police officers, who perpetrated the crime and commenced investigation.
Mr Adama said that the mission had followed up on the case and that it was clear that investigating authorities had done a thorough job.
The President of the Nigerian Union in South Africa, Adetola Olubajo, blamed the incessant killings of Nigerians in South Africa on a lack of prosecution of offenders by the South African authorities.
Mr Olubajo told NAN that the inability of the government to bring to bring those perpetrating the heinous crimes against Nigerians to book had given some people impetus to descend on Nigerians.
“Lack of prosecution of these criminal activities has actually emboldened a lot of people to feel that they can kill Nigerians without any consequence,” he said.
On July 11, the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, during a visit to Nigeria, said that killing anybody in South Africa was a criminal act and that criminality in the former apartheid enclave was not specifically targeted at Nigerians.
But despite the assurances of Mr Ramaphosa, the death toll of Nigerians in South Africa has continued to increase.
On July 12, another Nigerian, Martin Ebuzoeme, was killed by assailants in the Yeoville district of Johannesburg.
On July 6, Lawrence Ozumba, was similarly shot dead by gunman at No.10 Koppe Str., Middleburg, Mpumalanga.
Earlier on April 9, another Nigerian, ThankGod Okoro, was reportedly murdered at Hamburg, Florida West Rand in Johannesburg by the South African Police Flying Squad.
The same month one Clement Nwaogu, a father of two, was burnt to death by a mob, stoking a protest by some Nigerians resident in South Africa.
It was learnt that at least 14 of the protesters were taken into custody and allegedly branded drug peddlers by the South African authorities.