A South African court has sentenced police constable, Austin Reynold to 30 years in jail by for killing a Nigerian national living in that country.
The officer, a 24-year, was accused of killing Ebuka Okoli from Anambra State of Nigeria in Durban, a coastal city in Kwa Zulu-Natal province in South Africa.
The court sentenced the policeman on Monday, three days after he was found guilty of shooting the victim at close range and robbing him.
Reynold has taken advantage of the xenophobic unrest going on in the vicinity where Okoli resided.
He was charged with one count of murder and three counts of robbery and was found guilty on all counts and was eventually sentenced to 30 years in jail.
Reacting to the sentence, which took place on Friday in a press release, the Chairman/CEO Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa expressed satisfaction over the judgement.
Hon. Dabiri-Erewa said that justice was meted out to the police officer that killed Okoli.
In the statement issued by the Head of Media and Public Relations Unit of the Commission, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, she said ” We are glad that justice has been done.
“We had always stated that there has to be consequences for actions. We are glad that this case finally came to an end and South Africa has demonstrated the political will to deal with xenophobia”, she said.
The NIDCOM boss implored Nigerians in South Africa to adhere to President Muhammadu Buhari’s admonition to be the best wherever they find themselves.
She added that Nigeria and South Africa will continuously work at a United Africa while those who perpetuates crime irrespective of their nationality should face the penalty for their actions.
Dabiri-Erewa commended the Nigerian Mission in Johannesburg for painstakingly following through with the case and other cases involving Nigerians.
Speaking in the same vein, the Consul General of Nigeria in South Africa, Mr Godwin Adama said that he was happy that the case came to an end on Friday with judgment pronounced on the guilty police officer.
He recalled how his deputy, Mr. M.J. Sambo has been at the court with the Provincial chairman of NICASA and members of Nigerian Community in Durban, Kwazulu Natal Province.
He disclosed that the second case of 8 police men being tried for the murder of a Nigerian, Ibrahim Olamilekan Badmus, was adjourned till April 2020 for final ruling due to some technical issues.
He expressed optimism that Judgment in other matters will also expected to be in favour of Nigeria.
The excited Adama said the judgment of Friday has raised the spirit and morale of Nigerians in South Africa.
It will be recalled that the case started since 2018 when a Nigerian, Ebuka Okoli was killed by a South Africa police officer and was found guilty of all the four count charges, though there is no death sentence in South Africa laws except life sentence or long sentence for the murder.