Nigerian women in SA dissuade spouses from crime cartels

Nigerian wives 1by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – IN the wake of intermittent violence against foreign nationals, particularly Nigerians, for allegedly promoting drug peddling and human trafficking in South Africa, a group of women married to men from the West African country recently staged an unprecedented protest against fellow nationals and corrupt police fuelling such activities.
The United Nigerian Wives In South Africa (UNWISA) has also called on police to take tougher action against culprits amid allegations some corrupt officers were conniving with crime masterminds.
Dubbed the march against Drugs, Child Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Women and Child Abuse, the peaceful demonstration went through Yeoville and Hillbrow, the Johannesburg areas mostly occupied by foreign nationals, culminating in the handing over of a petition to the Hillbrow Police Station.
The spouses, joined by a handful of men from the All Nigerian Nationals in Diasporas-South Africa (ANNIDSA), also protested police’s reluctance in arresting known criminals.
Protesters demanded for the protection of whistleblowers from victimisation.
Clad in T-shirts with messages as, “Hands-off Our Sisters and Daughters”, the women said they were disillusioned over the high crime rate involving drugs, human trafficking, child and women abuse by criminals, some of them known, reportedly working in cahoots with police who were benefitting financially from inducement.
Speaking to CAJ News Africa, chairperson of UNWISA, Thelma Okoro, said police must work with communities to avoid a recurrence of incidents that saw residents took the law to their own hands.
These have been prevalent in the economic powerhouse, Gauteng in recent months. Enraged locals have burnt properties said to be used by culprits for illegal activities.
A Nigerian national was killed in violent protests in Rosettenville. More than 100 people were arrested for various crimes including damage to property and suspected drug dealing.
This sparked a diplomatic tiff between Nigeria and South Africa after the former claimed over 200 of its citizens had been killed over the past two years in xenophobic violence.
In retaliation, Nigerians destroyed property belonging to South African-headquartered mobile operator MTN in Abuja. Threats were made to other like firms.
“We would like to remind law enforcers that if they work with communities, no violent protests can ever happen. Such protests always
occur because police do not cooperate with aggrieved members of the public,” said Okoro.
Okoro, a South African married to a Nigerian for 15 years, said while a majority of those accused were Nigerians, she argued the suspected drug lords were working with locals, including police.
“I do not condone crime, whether committed by a South African or Nigerian. Criminals must be arrested and prosecuted,” she said.
Okoro added: “As wives of Nigerians, we would like to urge those Nigerian
men involved in drugs, child prostitution, human trafficking, women and child abuse and all vices to desist from crime. Similarly, locals also dealing in similar crimes must be severely dealt with.”
She bemoaned the stereotyping of Nigerians, by locals and other nationals, as drug dealers.
Okoro said some law enforcement agents were equally to blame for the aforementioned crimes.
“I know of a woman who reported these drug lords in Rosettenville but simply because some police officers were receiving kickbacks, they (police) ignored the woman’s and residents’ pleas resulting in violent protests that destroyed property,” she said.
In a separate interview, a Nigerian woman, Chioma Okeke, bemoaned lack of police cooperation when communities reported crime.
“Some police officers do not take heed since they are given bribes by criminals,” Okeke said.
“These criminals, especially drug lords, have money. So, whenever we report them to police, nothing happens against them. Shockingly, police always reveal names of people who would have reported them exposing such whistle-blowers to danger,” Okeke said.
“That is the reason why many communities do not trust the police. There is backbiting by the same police who betray the complainant to criminals hence taking law into own hands. Police must always act professionally and practice confidentiality,” Okeke said.
Iheanacho Obafemi, a Nigerian entrepreneur in Bramley, Johannesburg decried the stereotype that Nigerians were involved in crime.
“Not all Nigerians are criminals, just like not all South Africans are clean. People from all walks must fight and denounce crime in the
strongest possible terms,” Obafemi said.
He pointed out there were some entrepreneurs from Nigeria who were complementing South African government by creating jobs.
“My appeal to locals and foreigners is to work together to enhance economic growth and skills development,” Obafemi appealed.
Gauteng Provincial police spokesperson, Lieutenant Kay Makhubela, welcomed the stance by the women.
“What Nigerian wives did is very much commendable. They (Nigerian wives) did not engage in violent protests. Instead, they reminded both police and government that crime is only won through partnerships with society or members of the public,” he said.
Makhubela pledged police would enhance cooperation with the public to weed out criminals from the society.
“The Nigerian wives rightly pointed out such communities know exactly crime perpetrators among them. It is our duty as law enforcers to listen to people’s advise, support and receive their information so as to eradicate crime,” Makhubela added.
CAJ News

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Posted by on Aug 23 2017. Filed under Africa & World, Exclusive, Featured, National, Regional. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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