A Nigerian, Kingsley Ezeh, has allegedly been killed by the police in South Africa.
According to the Nigerian Citizens Association South Africa in a statement on Thursday, Ezeh”s death on Tuesday was circumstantial in the hands of members of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department.
Ezeh, a native of Oduma, Aninri Local Government of Enugu State, is survived by his wife and children.
President-General of NICASA, Benjamin Okoli, said that members of the JMPD had invaded the deceased’s tyre shop on the evening of January 4 where he was allegedly manhandled in the course of extracting information from him.
He alleged that he was choked by police officers, which eventually led to his death.
Okoli said Ezeh was going about his business when metro police officers with an unmarked black-BMW vehicle arrived with his brother that they arrested earlier at a different location.
The NICASA boss said, “What led to the death of Ezeh on January 4 remains a mystery which will be unravelled by police investigation. The shop is fitted with a CCTV camera, which we believe will be instrumental and helpful in unravelling the case.
“From indication and the brother’s account, they choked the deceased for several minutes, at the same time asking him to vomit what they assumed he had swallowed; the choking caused asphyxiation.
“Two other Nigerians in the area had allegedly accused same group of Metro Police officers of attacking them only few months ago using plastic bags to cover their heads and they almost died.
“Both Nigerians maintained that nothing was found on them at the time of the attack against them; the police stopped them while driving, after searching their cars and found nothing, insisted on extorting them certain amount.”
According to him, when they refused to pay the bribe, they were attacked and almost died with the plastic used to suffocate them by the said Metro officers.
They also alleged that the Metro officers stole their cell phones and cash.
“We are currently discussing with these two Nigerians to see how we can add their case to this death as evidence of a pattern of attack by these group of Metro Police against Nigerians.
“The Metro Police had claimed that the late Ezeh ingested substance they suspected is narcotic when they came into his shop and they claimed he had suffocated by the substance he ingested.
“Paramedics were called to the shop where he was confirmed dead on the scene; the leadership of NICASA monitored the situation and ensured that protocols are followed to secure evidence,” he added.
He noted that Ezeh’s death could be considered an unnecessary and systemic xenophobic way of killing Nigerian nationals by the South African Police.
He further said that if Mr Ezeh was a criminal but not conceding to it, the police could have arrested and prosecuted him, adding that such death was among many, whereby Nigerians were arbitrarily killed without justification.
This is coming a few weeks after the death of another Nigerian identified as Olusola Solarin from Ogun State.