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The President of Nigerian Citizens Association South Africa (NICASA), Ben Okoli, has raised alarm over the circumstances surrounding the death of a Nigerian, Ebuka Udugbo, allegedly killed by South African Police. Okoli said in a letter to the Consul General, Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa, a copy of which was obtained by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, yesterday,
explained that Udugbo was arrested over a quarrel with his girlfriend, one Miss Linda, on April 28 and later pronounced dead by the Police.
“The information we got initially was that he committed suicide while in the South African Police custody in Cape Town. We conducted our own preliminary investigation over the circumstances surrounding his death.
“What we discovered was really shocking and disheartening from our findings. The late Udugbo had a quarrel with his girlfriend and left the house about 9am on April 28 to avoid further altercation with his girlfriend.”Okoli stated that the girlfriend called the Police and they went in search of Udugbo, who was later found by the Police while he was driving on the road in town.
He said that Udugbo vehicle’s was stopped and he was arrested and handcuffed, adding: “The Police took his car keys, left the car by the way and drove with him back to his house in the Police car, along with the girlfriend.“He was severely beaten by the cops in his house and he fainted. At this point, the landlord’s son feared and told the Police to take him to the hospital.
“The Police refused and instead took him to the station, where they claimed that he had allegedly committed suicide. About past 10am, one of Udugbo’s relatives went to the station and was told that he had committed suicide.“We do not accept this Police story, we believed that he was killed right in the Police Station and hanged afterwards. His case was that of domestic violence and does not warrant the Police to beat him, since he did not in any way resist arrest. All circumstances surrounding his death were clear indication of bias, hate, xenophobia and premeditated action and Police high handedness.”
Okoli added: “We believed that Udugbo was killed and to cover it up, the Police hanged him to make it look like suicide. The Police cell is not a place for anybody to commit suicide; it is meant to be a place of safety and protection.
“The South African Police service had considered Nigerians as inconsequential and unimportant. They tend to always get away with it because they had been allowed to go free in numerous murder cases where they had killed Nigerians.“NICASA shall protest this unnecessary Police brutality, bias, death in Police custody, xenophobia and high handedness against our nationals.”
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