I was in a taxi recently where a Nigerian guy had about 5 big boxes, saying they were cosmetics when asked by police at a Roadblock.
The police officials (3 of them, although there were actually more than 7 of them at the time) accused Nigerians of being drug leaders and taking our women, among other things – things they are often accused of the world over, not only here in South Africa.
They had to search our taxi but didn’t, and warned him. One of the police officers was convinced that it were drugs in the boxes that were disguised as cosmetics. Seconded by his other colleagues, I however found their attitude very discriminatory, unfair and smacking of xenophobic tendencies especially coming from law enforcement officials. If they were so convinced it were drugs, why didn’t they just open all the boxes and search us all and our bags?
What is worse is that their allegations against Nigerians (not only this one in the taxi) were supported by some taxi passengers without any damn shred of evidence. This is very uncalled for.
I think whatever informed their opinions about Nigerians in general (maybe from previous experiences), the police should have kept their opinions to themselves, and just proceeded to search all the bags and boxes just to make sure they don’t make serious allegations against Nigerians without any damn shred of evidence or against any person for that matter.
Their behaviour and attitude towards this poor guy also smacked of xenophobic tendencies, an unfortunate act which led to a widespread attach on many foreigners in South African in 2008.
That’s the law, simple: find evidence through investigation and convict.