The Senate on Wednesday warned the South African government to halt the frequent killings of Nigerians by its citizens to avoid grave consequences.
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who stated this at plenary, warned that the South African government must extend due respect to Nigeria and should not take the good gesture towards it for granted.
The red chamber summoned the Nigerian ambassador to South Africa to explain the circumstances that led to the alleged murder of the Deputy Director-General of Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, Elizabeth Ndubusi-Chukwu, in the country recently.
The killing of Ndubusi-Chukwu in June made the number of Nigerians murded in South Africa in three and half years to rise to 127.
Debating the death of the CIIN deputy director, the Senate asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue travel alerts to Nigerians going to South Africa.
The red chamber also asked the ministry to carry out a comprehensive investigation into the death of the woman.
The Senate took the decision following a point of order raised by the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe.
Abaribe drew the attention of his colleagues to the gruesome murder of Ndubusi-Chukwu.
He said, “Elizabeth Ndubusi-Chukwu, a mother, and an indigene of Anambra State, was found dead in one of the rooms at the Emperors Palace Hotel and Convention Centre, on June 13, 2019, where she lodged.
“She went to South Africa to attend the Conference of the African Insurance Organisation (A10) and initially was suspected to have died of cardiac arrest.
“The Insinuation was proved wrong, following autopsy report released on June 20, 2019, by South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs, which indicated in a Death Certificate that the death was unnatural and suspected to be murder due to strangulation.
“The suspicion that she could have been murdered was further confirmed in a separate document issued by South Africa’s Department of Health on June 27, 2019, where it corroborated the autopsy report and revealed that she was strangled.”
He expressed concern that in curious twist, it was alledged that Emperor Palace Hotel and Convention Centre where she lodged, was reluctant to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies to unravel the circumstances surrounding her suspicious death.
Abaribe also noted that it was not the first time Nigerians have died in suspicious and curious circumstances in South Africa.
The President of the Senate said this at Wednesday plenary after the Senate rejected the call by Senator Francis Fadanhusi that Nigeria should severe diplomatic relationship with South Africa over the unwarranted and incessant killings of Nigeria citizens in that country.
The President of the Senate said, “Nigeria as a country is tired of the killings and therefore, we believe that the relationship between South Africa and Nigeria must be better. There must be respect for each other.”
Lawan said he was aware that South Africans in Nigeria were treated well while their thriving businesses enjoy the protection of the Nigerian government and its people calling on the government and people of South Africa to be civil with Nigerians.
He pointed out that because Nigerian government and people are responsible, the issue of retaliation would be unnecessary but same gesture must be extended to Nigerians in South Africa.
He said, “I agree completely with our colleagues who said that South African businesses in Nigeria flourish more than any other businesses in this country and South Africans are so very well protected in Nigeria.
“There is no need for any South African to take the life of a Nigerian or indeed any other citizens.
“Nigeria was a frontline country or considered to be one even though we are far away in the coast of Africa .
“Therefore, we deserve that respect. the relationship between our two countries must be based on mutual respect and understanding.”
The President of the Senate further said the Nigerian delegation to the Pan African Parliament later this year should raise the matter for deliberation for the attention and resolution by the Pan African legislature at the parliament.”
He said, “l believe that our next set of contingents who will represent us in the parliament which is based in South Africa, will ensure that these issues are brought to the fore.
“We are a responsible country. That is why we will not take the law into our own hands in the way of retaliation, but we shouldn’t be taken for granted.
“Nigeria provides leadership for Africa, but in this leadership position we should be able to tell every African country the truth.
“We have taken this killing, for too long and I think the time has come for us as Parliament to tell the South African Parliament where the South Africans are represented that we have taken enough and we shall not take it anymore.”
He urged the Senate to support the Executive in the diplomatic moves so far taken to get answers to the questions surrounding the death of late Ndubuisi-Chukwu.
He said, “I believe that as a country, the executive arm has also protested but as we should support the executive arm of government so that we will be able to stop this mindless, senseless killings of our citizens in those countries.”
The Senate commended the Federal Government for its prompt action in seeking the South African authorities’ explanation of the death of Ndubuisi-Chukwu.
It also urged the Federal Government not to relent in its efforts to unravel the circumstances of the unfortunate demise.
The red chamber also urged the South African Government to carry out investigation into the death of Ndubuisi-Chukwu and other Nigerian citizens in such suspicious circumstances in South Africa,
While condemning the killing of Elizabeth, the senators called for further investigation and demanded an end to the killing of Nigerians in South Africa.
According to Ahmed Kaita, (Katsina North), this killing is one too many, especially in a supposedly friendly country like South Africa that has enjoyed so much from Nigeria.
He said the killing would not stop as far as the Nigerian Government treated these killings of Nigerians with kid gloves.
Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, (Taraba South) urged the Senate to consider getting the South African Ambassador to explain these killings.
FG monitoring probes into CIIN deputy director’s death in S’Africa
The Federal Government has dispatched a senior officer to monitor the ongoing investigation into the alleged murder of the deputy director-general of the CIIN in South Africa.
It insisted that Nigerians and the deceased’s family must know what transpired, noting that the Consul-General at the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa, Godwin Adama, was also monitoring the situation.
The Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri- Erewa, told The PUNCH on Wednesday, that the government was not treating the incident with levity, stating that it had demanded thorough investigations into Ndubuisi-Chukwu’s death in her hotel room in Johannesburg.
She cautioned Pretoria against pushing Nigeria to the wall,noting that the killing of Nigerians had reached a tipping point.
She stated, “We have demanded investigations. The CG, Mr Godwin Adama, has sent an officer working with the police and investigating authorities in South Africa. We must know what happened, if it means getting a private investigator we will.
“The South Africa should not push us to the edge, we have reached a tipping point . Someone went for a conference and was murdered? For the sake of both countries and for closure for the families, we must know what happened and we will.”
“Mrs Ndubuisi must not die in vain; It’s one death too many and we have demanded full cooperation from South Africa, and we expect nothing less,” Dabiri-Erewa insisted.
Number of Nigerians killed in S’Africa rises to 127 in 3 and half years
The News Agency of Nigeria had reported that as of December last year, over 122 Nigerians were killed in South Africa in the last three years.
The killing of four persons in March and April this year, and the death of Ndubuisi-Chukwu brought to five the number of Nigerians killed this year. This brings the number of Nigerians killed in South Africa to 127.
The Assistant Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Union in South Africa,Mr Odefa Ikele, had said four Nigerians were killed in March and April this year.
Mr Bonny Iwuoha, 48, from Ihitte/Uboma in Imo State, was stabbed to death at 11:45pm on April 6 in Johnnesburg, while another Nigerian, Goziem Akpenyi, was killed in a similiar circumstance a day ealier.
According to Ikele, two other Nigerians were reportedly killed earlier in the year.
“These latest killings make it four Nigerians who were shot dead in March. Three of the victims were murdered in Sunnyside, Pretoria, and one in Balfour Park, Johannesburg,” he was quoted in an interview in April.
We are awaiting outcome of probe —S’A High Commissioner
Meanwhile, the South African High Commission has said it was awaiting the outcome of the investigation into Ndubuisi-Chukwu’s death in order to provide the necessary feedback on what exactly transpired.
The High Commissioner, Bobby Moroe, explained that his government was firm against criminality, noting that the law enforcement agencies had gone to great length to bring perpetrators of crime to justice.
He stated, “Our government is very firm in its stance that acts of criminality against foreign nationals shall not be tolerated. The law enforcement agencies of South Africa have thus far gone at great length to ensure that perpetrators of any form of crime and violence against foreign nationals are brought to book.
“We, therefore, continue to work with the South African Police Services through the Department of International Relations to follow up on what punitive actions are being taken to perpetrators of violence.
“I will get in touch with you once we receive concrete and credible feedback after investigations of the passing of the DDG.”