Two more Nigerians have been reported killed in South Africa, raising to 118 the number of nationals of the West African state murdered in the former apartheid country since February 2016.
The Nigeria Union in South Africa publicity secretary, Mr Habib Miller, said on the telephone from Pretoria on Tuesday (15 May 2018) that the two were killed in the past eight days.
He identified the victims as Mr Francis Ochuba, a native of Ngodo, and Mr Chidi Ibebuike from Uturu, both in the south-eastern Abia State of Nigeria.
Was shot dead
“Ochuba, a property owner, was shot dead alongside his estate agent, a female South African on May 5. They were shot dead as they visited the tenant occupying Ochuba’s house to collect rent.
“The incident occurred in Central Johannesburg, while Ibebuike was shot dead at the entrance to his house at Hazyview in Mpumalanga on May 13.
“Ibebuike’s car was subsequently, snatched by yet to be identified gunmen,” Mr Miller explained.
He further said that the chairman of the Nigeria Union in Mpumalanga Province, Mr Ibe Amadi and other compatriots, had reported the incidents to the South African police and investigation were underway.
Mr Miller said the latest killings came on the heels of the cold blooded murder of Mr ThankGod Okoro, a native of Ogbaku in Enugu State on April 9, and that of Mr Clement Nwaogu from Njikoka in Anambra on April 22.
Up to 800,000 Nigerians, mostly young people, reside in South Africa, according to unofficial estimates.
The Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuare II, appealed to the South African government to end hostility against Nigerians.
“Nigerians should be allowed to reap what they sowed in other African countries,’’ he said.
The traditional leader expressed sadness that Nigerians were constantly being bombarded with hostility and aggression in South Africa in spite of the assistance rendered to free that country from apartheid.
The Federal Government said it was following investigations on the deaths of Nigerians in South Africa and also taking action to protect its citizens.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja through, its spokesman, Mr Tope Elias-Fatile, said the deaths were too many and ugly.
“The Federal Government wishes to assure that the Consulate-General of Nigeria in Johannesburg has been following police investigations on the sad development.
“Our missions in South Africa would continue to engage their host authorities to ensure the safety of Nigerians residing in various parts of the country,’ he said.