Uchenna Eloh, a Nigerian based in South Africa, has been strangled to death by South African policemen who suspected that he had illegal drugs on him.
Kanayo Onwumelu, Chairman of the Western Cape chapter of the Nigerian union in South Africa, told NAN that the late Eloh was a native of Ezeagu, in Enugu State.
“At about 11.00 a.m. South African time on Wednesday, a Nigerian, Uchenna Emmanuel Eloh, popularly known as “Monkey’’, was killed by a South African police officer,” NAN quoted him as saying over the phone.
“He was walking out of his house toward the bus station when a police van stopped to search him, suspecting that he might be in possession of illegal substance.
“Three policemen accosted Eloh, one of them by the name Williams, held him on the neck suspecting that he swallowed a substance, while another police officer held him by the legs until he started foaming and suffocated to death on the spot.”
Onwumelu said that this was not the first incident of such killing of innocent Nigerians by the South African police.
“We have reported similar killings to the South African government and Nigeria High Commission in South Africa and nothing was done to bring the culprits to book,” he said.
“We want the Nigerian Government to intervene to stop this brutality against innocent Nigerians and stop killing Nigerians out of hatred, racism or xenophobia.”
Also, Ikechukwu Anyene, President-General of the Union of Nigerians in South Africa, confirmed the incident, adding that government of both countries must show more commitment in tackling the problem.
“Our government needs to do something urgently to make it clear that Nigerian lives matter,” Anyene said.
“We have made suggestions on what can be done, but it is now clear to us that the endless talks cannot yield any positive result.”
He also said that the union had engaged a lawyer to take up the case against South African Police Service “but this kind of legal service should form part of consular services to provide legal services to victimised Nigerians”.
Anyene said that the police had opened an inquest into the case.