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Senate requests full investigation into death of Nigerian in S’Africa

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“The Nigerian Union in South Africa says it has become a recurring event for the South African Police to torture Nigerians in unseemly circumstances.” – Senator Oko

Senate on Wednesday requested full investigation into the death of a Nigerian, Chinedu Timothy in a South African Police Custody on Saturday, 23rd January, 2016, allegedly by suffocation.

In a statement made available to Journalists, Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non-Governmental Organisations, Senator Rose Okoji Oko who made this known also condemned the unfortunate incident.

However, the Committee appealed to Nigerians in South Africa to remain calm as appropriate steps are being taken by relevant authorities to unravel the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident and ensure that justice is done.

The statement reads,” our attention has been drawn to the death of a Nigerian, Chinedu Timothy in a South Police Custody on Saturday, 23rd January, 2016, allegedly by suffocation. 

“The Nigerian Union in South Africa says it has become a recurring event for the South African Police to torture Nigerians in unseemly circumstances.

“We vehemently condemn the unfortunate incident and any act of torture, discrimination or unlawful detention or death of any Nigerian whether home or abroad.

“However, due to the conflicting reports on the incident, we have communicated the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ascertain the true position in order to enable the Committee react appropriately with a view to ensuring that justice is done on the matter.

“The Senate Committee on Diaspora demands a thorough investigation of the incident so that the truth would be known. We have noted the continued harassment of Nigerians in South Africa, climaxing in the xenophobic killings that happened some months ago. If there are infractions of the law of South Africa by any Nigerian, the due process of the law should be applied. The instinctive recourse to aggression towards Nigerians in South Africa must stop. 

“The laws of every nation guarantees freedom from torture, discrimination, right to dignity of human person, and more importantly, the right to life. Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which South Africa is a signatory, provides that every person is entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person and that no one may be arbitrarily deprived of this right.

Also, Section 11 of the 1996 Constitution of South Africa (as amended) guarantees the right to life. 

This incident should not be swept under the carpet. We need to get to the root of it. And the Committee shall deploy all legislative instruments to ascertain the true position of things and secure the life and dignity of Nigerians resident in South Africa.

“Against this background, the Committee appeals to the Nigerian Community in South Africa to remain calm as appropriate steps are being taken by relevant authorities to unravel the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident and ensure that justice is done.”

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