Reports have it that Justin Ejimkonye, a Nigerian immigrant is suing a local government in South Africa for 2.5 million rand in damages for personal injury. He is also, suing the Home Affairs department for 2 million rands for illegal detention.
The Nigerian, who walks with a limp, is suing South Africa’s minister of home affairs, a local government, a police officer and an official at the Department of Home Affairs for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages as a result of this alleged maltreatment.
His case has been filed at a Johannesburg high court and is due to be heard in August, Reuters reported.
BuzzSouthAfrica gathered that the legal battle follows a 2010 incident where police in Johannesburg shot Justin Ejimkonye in the leg after he refused to pay a R900 bribe.
According to Ejimkonye, police stopped him while he was driving and demanded the bribe. After he refused to pay, they impounded his vehicle and charged him a fine to recover it.
Some weeks later, the same group of police officers stopped him again. Justin Ejimkonye insisted that he wouldn’t pay them any bribe. With that, one of the officers identified as John Kichener Johnstone brought out his revolver, aimed and fired Ejimkonye’s leg.
While the police alleged that the Nigerian was carrying cannabis, they didn’t charge him with any crime until 18 months after the incident. Meanwhile, a document from the department of Justice revealed that a public prosecutor refused to pursue the police case against Ejimkonye citing lack of evidence.
Justin Ejimkonye related that he suffered further intimidation and physical attacks after the public prosecutor refused to pursue the case against him.
For instance, information culled from the document Ejimkonye’s lawyers submitted has it that officer Johnstone and his colleagues on the 14th of October 2013, raided Ejimkonye’s home in the middle of the night and dragged him to the police station where he was detained for 36 days.
While was detained, his visa was revoked by an immigration officer, Boitumelo Mokobi who claimed that it was illegally obtained.
The Nigerian said this is untrue. He arrived South Africa legally in 2005 and in 2007, earned the right to permanently stay in the country after he married his South African wife.
As the revoke of his visa made him an illegal immigrant, the immigration authority sent him to Lindela – a detention centre in Johannesburg – where he spent six months.
Later, Judge Segopotje Mphahlele of the South Gauteng High Court ordered his release. Asserting that the Nigerian had been unlawfully detained, judge Mphahlele ruled that the police and government “dismally failed to comply with the applicable requirements of the Immigration Act.”
With the South Gauteng High Court ruling, Justin Ejimkonye believed he’s free to move on with his life.
But then, on the 27th day of May 2014, Johnstone and his guys again visited Ejimkonye. The reportedly assaulted him and dragged him off to another police station in the boot of a car.
This time, he was detained on charges of being an illegal immigrant. Judge Mphahlele again ruled that the detention was unlawful and ordered the police to never approach Mr Ejimkonye until his immigration issues are clarified.
Speaking on Justin Ejimkonye’s decision to sue SA authorities, his attorney Bulelani Mzamo said:
“The police and immigration officials always think they will get away with it. With Ejimkonye’s case, we want to send a clear message that it’s not business as usual.
This is an important case and the evidence is extensive and conclusive…A lot of people in authority are in deep trouble.”
Ejimkonye said he’s fighting for his life and still thinks the authorities will come for him.