Policemen in South Africa have allegedly tortured Clement Ofoma, a Nigerian based in the country, to death. The Nigerian community in South Africa confirmed the killing Wednesday, saying it occurred at Springs town, near Johannesburg. Ofoma, 35, a native of Obosi, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra, was a businessman based in the town.
According to NAN, Toewry Ofoma, a South African citizen who is the wife of the deceased, said about 10 policemen arrested her husband from his shop on Tuesday. She said the police alleged that he was a drug dealer, but her husband denied the allegations. “They searched our house, his store, and other places, but did not find any substance. In the process, they tortured him to confess where he kept the drugs, but my husband insisted he had nothing. The police used cellophane bag to cover his face and at a point, he was struggling to breathe and became unconscious. By the time they took him to a hospital, he was pronounced dead,” she said.
Omezie Onyire, Chairman of Obosi Development Union in Springs, has expressed shock over the tragic incident. “He was an active member of our union and contributed to its improvement in South Africa. We condemn his alleged killing by the police and we will pursue this case to its logical end,” he said.
Adetola Olubajo, President, Nigerian Union, South Africa, said the matter had been reported to the Nigerian Mission. “We have also reported the matter to the Independent Police Investigating Department, a body that investigates crimes committed by the police,” he told Nigerians in the town. “Also, our legal department will follow the case until justice is done,” he added. Olubajo advised them to be law abiding, united, and to form a chapter of the union in their area.
Policemen fired rubber bullets on some Nigerians in the town who staged a protest. On August 30, a Nigerian, Kingsley Ikeri, 27, a native of Mbaitolu Local Government Area of Imo, was allegedly killed by the police while being interrogated for being in possession of drugs. His death happened two weeks after Uchena Eloh, a Nigerian, was killed by policemen in the Western Cape province of the country. In December 2016, Metropolitan police in Cape Town strangled Victor Nnadi, also a businessman from Imo.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, special assistant to the president on foreign affairs and diaspora, revealed a total 116 Nigerians have been killed in South Africa through extra-judicial means in the last two years. Seven in 10 of the killings were said to have been allegedly carried out by the police.