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In a rebuttal, NUSA tells South African Police Nigerians didn’t attack police, damage properties

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Contrary to claims by the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Nigeria Union South Africa (NUSA) says no “eight Nigerians” were involved in attacking its personnel and damaging properties in Kimberley, Northern Cape, in the country.

Refuting the allegation, the National Publicity Secretary of NUSA, Mr. Habib Miller, said in a statement emailed to Persecondnews on Saturday that contrary to the police claims, the Nigerian community in Kimberley had endured a wave of harassment and abuse by law enforcement authorities, as previously reported by NUSA three weeks ago.

“In spite of our persistent efforts to engage with local law enforcement to address these issues, the situation has only worsened, with Nigerians allegedly facing robbery and assault almost daily at the hands of the police.

“Regarding the specific incident mentioned by SAPS, it is imperative to provide context. The police stormed a business premises owned by a Nigerian, who was a victim of police brutality and is still recovering from injuries sustained.

“They encountered two other Nigerians at his business place and started harassing them. Their outcry attracted Nigerians in the vicinity, who then inquired from the police about the reason behind the brutality.

“Those two were later arrested. After the incident, Nigerians gathered at a place called Indian Centre when the police approached them and asked for the leader of the gathering to disperse.

“When he was identified, they arrested him, leading to queries from Nigerians present at the location. The police responded by firing rubber bullets, which dispersed the crowd, and a chase ensued, which led to more arrests.

“This brings the total to 10 Nigerians apprehended according to our record,’’ Miller said.

He said that it was important to note that at no time did Nigerians physically confront the police, adding that it was during the altercation that one of the victim’s hands inadvertently broke a window of the police vehicle.

“In spite of sustaining injuries, the victim has been denied medical treatment while in police custody. We are also not aware of drugs being found on any of those arrested.

“Additionally, the local leadership of NUSA has held several meetings with the Commander of Kimberley Police Station, who pledged to address the issues.

“We have also reported incidents of police brutality and extortion to the Consulate-General of Nigeria in Johannesburg, with a meeting that will involve police authorities, the NUSA, and other stakeholders scheduled for April 25, 2024, prior to the latest incident.

“We have also reported the matter to the Independent Police Investigation Directorate previously.

“NUSA urges the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into these incidents and to uphold the rights and safety of all individuals, including Nigerians, residing in South Africa,’’ he said.

According to Miller, the union advocates for transparency, accountability, and fair treatment for all individuals under the law.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to fostering positive relations between the Nigerian community, our host community, and law enforcement agencies, with the aspiration of achieving mutual respect, understanding, and a society free of crime.”

 

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