While the United States has a well-documented scourge of African-Americans getting killed by law-enforcement, here at home there’s a lesser known pandemic of Nigerian nationals perishing at the hands of the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Here in South Africa, these killings are rarely accompanied by widespread outrage
According to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, 116 Nigerians have been killed in South Africa in the last two years. It is not clear how many of them died at the hands of police.
The issue of Nigerians being killed in South Africa has been raised in Parliament before – when Malusi Gigaba was still in charge of Home Affairs. At the time, Gigaba said “in his understanding‚ there was nobody in SA who has attacked someone on the basis of them being from another country”.
Those xenophobic attacks we had? Never happened.
According to reports from Nigerian media, the latest victim was Kingsley Ikeri, killed in Vryheid on Wednesday, 30 August.
The 27-year-old was a businessman and a member of the Nigerian Union in South Africa.
He was arrested on suspicion of being in possession of drugs and in an effort to extort information, the police tortured him by placing a plastic bag over his head and suffocated in the process.
The police then took him to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Chairman of the union in the province, Bartholomew Eziagulu, informed the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Durban that Ikeri died through torturing.
A similar case involved Victor Nnandi, who was suffocated to death by Metro Police in Cape Town in December last year.
When Nnandi was killed, Nigerian officials lashed out at SAPS, calling the death “barbaric”.
It’s reported that a senior diplomat from the Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg had visited Vryheid to investigate Ikeri’s death.
SAPS are no strangers to allegations of brutality, with high profile cases in the past, such as the death of Andries Tatane and the more chilling Marikana massacre.
In its latest report, an independent watchdog said 640 people had died from police brutality or in police custody in South Africa.