Nigerian, Clement Nwaogu, is the latest victim in a string of xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Reports say Nwaogu was burnt to death by a mob in Rustenburg, the North West Province of South Africa.
Ofentse Mokgadi, spokesperson of the South African police confirmed the killing to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) saying: “We can confirm that in two separate incidents, two vehicles were burnt by unknown suspects. In one of the incidents, a man sustained serious burn wound injuries after being set alight. He later died in hospital. At this stage a motive is unknown and police are still investigating,”
Mokgadi says no arrests have been made but investigations are ongoing.
Habib Miller, Publicity Secretary of the Nigeria Union in South Africa, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Nwaogu is a native of Njikoka in Anambra State and an upholsterer in South Africa. He was also married to a South African woman and had two children, aged three and five.
Miller says Mokgadi was attacked and killed by a mob over his accent and habit, and claims “South African police officers were present when Nwaogu was attacked by the mob but they did nothing”.
Nigeria’s Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri -Erewa, described Nwaogu’s killing as unfortunate.
Erewa condemned Nwaogu’s killing and “called on South African authorities to find a lasting solution to the incessant killing of Nigerians in that country” in a statement released in Abuja on Monday.
Erewa also “urged Nigerians living abroad to obey the laws of countries where they lived, and avoid crime and criminality to avoid unwarranted attacks and killings”.
Thirty-year-old, ThankGod Okoro, was reportedly killed less than 10 days before Nwaogu’s death.
Rustenburg, where the incident happened is said to be particularly hostile and volatile.
Presidential aide Erewa noted that 14 Nigerians who protested the killing of a fellow citizen in that country’s North West Province some months ago are still in detention without bail after a judge was threatened not to release them.
“Just a few days ago, on April 17, the case came up in court. There was so much tension that even the Nigerian lawyers representing the Nigerians had to be escorted to court by Diplomatic police,” Erewa said.
She says the Nigerian mission in Pretoria and consulate in Johannesburg are doing everything they can to get justice for Nigerians in South Africa.
“Four South African policemen are currently in court for allegedly killing and maltreating Nigerians with embassy officials constantly present in court for the hearings. This is the first time this will be happening. However, the early warning signals put in place by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Interiors of both countries need to be reviewed,” she added.