As the death toll of Nigerians murderd in South Africa rises to 127, the Nigerian Senate has warned the South African government to halt the frequent killings to avoid grave consequences.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, at plenary, warned that the South African government must extend due respect to Nigeria and should not take the good gesture towards it for granted.
The senate also invited the Nigerian ambassador to South Africa to explain the circumstances that led to the alleged murder of the Deputy Director-General of Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, Elizabeth Ndubusi-Chukwu, in the country recently bring the death toll to 127 in three and half years.
The Senate has also asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue travel alerts to Nigerians going to South Africa and to carry out a comprehensive investigation into the death of the woman.
The point of order was raised by the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe who drew the attention of his colleagues to the gruesome murder of Ndubusi-Chukwu.
Abaribe said, “Elizabeth Ndubusi-Chukwu, a mother, and an indigene of Anambra State, was found dead in one of the rooms at the Emperors Palace Hotel and Convention Centre, on June 13, 2019, where she lodged.
“She went to South Africa to attend the Conference of the African Insurance Organisation (A10) and initially was suspected to have died of cardiac arrest.
“The Insinuation was proved wrong, following autopsy report released on June 20, 2019, by South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs, which indicated in a Death Certificate that the death was unnatural and suspected to be murder due to strangulation.
“The suspicion that she could have been murdered was further confirmed in a separate document issued by South Africa’s Department of Health on June 27, 2019, where it corroborated the autopsy report and revealed that she was strangled.”
He expressed concern that in curious twist, it was alledged that Emperor Palace Hotel and Convention Centre where she lodged, was reluctant to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies to unravel the circumstances surrounding her suspicious death.
Abaribe also noted that it was not the first time Nigerians have died in suspicious and curious circumstances in South Africa.
The President of the Senate said this at Wednesday plenary after the Senate rejected the call by Senator Francis Fadanhusi that Nigeria should severe diplomatic relationship with South Africa over the unwarranted and incessant killings of Nigeria citizens in that country.
The President of the Senate said, “Nigeria as a country is tired of the killings and therefore, we believe that the relationship between South Africa and Nigeria must be better. There must be respect for each other.”
Lawan said he was aware that South Africans in Nigeria were treated well while their thriving businesses enjoy the protection of the Nigerian government and its people calling on the government and people of South Africa to be civil with Nigerians.
He pointed out that because Nigerian government and people are responsible, the issue of retaliation would be unnecessary but same gesture must be extended to Nigerians in South Africa.
He said, “I agree completely with our colleagues who said that South African businesses in Nigeria flourish more than any other businesses in this country and South Africans are so very well protected in Nigeria.
“There is no need for any South African to take the life of a Nigerian or indeed any other citizens.
“Nigeria was a frontline country or considered to be one even though we are far away in the coast of Africa .
“Therefore, we deserve that respect. the relationship between our two countries must be based on mutual respect and understanding.”
The President of the Senate further said the Nigerian delegation to the Pan African Parliament later this year should raise the matter for deliberation for the attention and resolution by the Pan African legislature at the parliament.”
He said, “l believe that our next set of contingents who will represent us in the parliament which is based in South Africa, will ensure that these issues are brought to the fore.
“We are a responsible country. That is why we will not take the law into our own hands in the way of retaliation, but we shouldn’t be taken for granted.
“Nigeria provides leadership for Africa, but in this leadership position we should be able to tell every African country the truth.
“We have taken this killing, for too long and I think the time has come for us as Parliament to tell the South African Parliament where the South Africans are represented that we have taken enough and we shall not take it anymore.”
He urged the Senate to support the Executive in the diplomatic moves so far taken to get answers to the questions surrounding the death of late Ndubuisi-Chukwu.
He said, “I believe that as a country, the executive arm has also protested but as we should support the executive arm of government so that we will be able to stop this mindless, senseless killings of our citizens in those countries.”