A South African police constable, Austin Luciano Reynold, who was found guilty of the murder of a Nigerian, Ebuka Okoli, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Reynold’s sentencing by the court on Monday came three days after he was pronounced guilty of all four charges preferred against him — one charge of murder and three charges of robbery.
Twenty-four-year-old Reynold was accused of killing Okoli, a native of Anambra state, in Durban, a coastal city in Kwa Zulu-Natal province in South Africa, in 2018.
The officer shot Okoli at close range and robbed him during an unauthorised raid on the community where Okoli resided.
Reynold’s accomplice in the raid, Brinley Pallo testified against him while giving his testimony before Shyam Gyanda, the presiding judge, on Friday.
Reacting to the news of the conviction earlier, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), expressed relief, saying justice has been served.
“We are glad that justice has been done,” she said.
“We had always stated that there have to be consequences for actions. We are glad that this case finally came to an end and South Africa has demonstrated the political will to deal with xenophobia.”
Dabiri-Erewa urged Nigerians in South Africa to adhere to President Muhammadu Buhari’s admonition to be on their best behaviour where ever they are.
She also assured that Nigeria and South Africa will work towards a united Africa and bring to justice perpetrators of violence irrespective of their nationality.
Meanwhile, following the public outcry over the incessant xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa, Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, and the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, reached an agreement to find a lasting solution to the menace.
The two African leaders pledged to put in place all measures needed to prevent a re-occurrence of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners in South Africa.