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Nigerian Union debunks claims of members’ attack on South African police

The Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA) has refuted claims made by the South African Police Service (SAPS) of the alleged involvement of eight Nigerians in…

The Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA) has refuted claims made by the South African Police Service (SAPS) of the alleged involvement of eight Nigerians in the attack on its personnel in Kimberley, Northern Cape, South Africa.

A statement by the union’s spokesman, Habib Miller, which was made available to Daily Trust on Saturday, said contrary to SAPS’s assertions, the Nigerian community in Kimberley had endured a wave of harassment and abuse by law enforcement authorities.

“Despite 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 allegedly 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,” the statement said.

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

“Despite 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,” it said.

The Union said its local leadership had held several meetings with the station commander of Kimberley police station, who pledged to address the issues.

It said: “We have also reported incidents of police brutality and extortion to the Consulate-General of Nigeria in Johannesburg, with a scheduled meeting involving police authorities, NUSA, and other stakeholders set for April 25, 2024, prior to the latest incident. We have also reported the matter to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) previously.”

NUSA urged 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.

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