Rivers State has witnessed an orgy of killings in recent times. Pathetically, it has been the killing of personages and high profile politicians. These assassinations have put paid to the peace the state has been enjoying in recent times and put political office holders in great fear.
The perpetrators of these dastardly acts have continued undetected and this has in a way inspired confidence in the ability to track down their victims. The police have been unable to unravel the mysteries surrounding these deaths.
The killing of the hitherto chairman of Rivers State Civil Service Commission, Chief Anthony Egobueze in the early hours of yesterday has proved that no political office holder in the state is safe anymore. The death of Chief Egobueze has thrown the state once again into mourning, and infused a lot of fear in the minds of serving politicians especially as nobody has a hint of why they are assassinated.
Another thing that has been mind boggling is the fact that the perpetrators have continued to walk the streets as free citizens. The losses suffered in the state in terms of human resources can only be imagined as the victims were great statesmen.
Chief Egobueze’s residence was said to have been invaded by four gunmen at about 2.am on Friday, The fallen statesman who resided at Mgbuoshimini in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area was said to be resting in his bedroom with his wife, when the assassins broke into the room.
According to an eyewitness, Chief Egobueze was brought to his livingroom where he was shot by his killers in spite of the financial offer he made to them. The eyewitness said his killers had locked both his wife and his security man before he was felled by the assassins bullets.
The Weekend Tide learnt that the remains of the statesman had been deposited at Kpaima Mortuary, while his wife who had become inconscious was receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital in Port Harcourt.
Speaking to The Weekend Tide, bereaved Mr. Authony Egobueze (Jnr) described the incident as a big shock to the family and urged the police to find the killers of his father.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs Rita Inoma Abbey confirmed the story but assured that investigations had commenced on the killing of the Chairman, Rivers State Civil Service Commission, Chief Authony Egobueze.
However, condemnations have continued to trail the brutal killing of Chief Egobueze. Hon. Elemchukwu Ogbowu, a former member, Rivers State House of Assembly described the incident as a great shock to the entire Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area.
Hon. Ewor N. Robinson of the state House of Assembly in his remarks, tagged the killing as a crime against humanity, while for Chief Godspower Ogbugo, the Acting Chairman, Rivers Sate Post Primary Schools Board, Late Chief Egobueze was a perfect gentleman, who lived simple and unassuming lifestyle.
Also speaking, the former Chairman of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA,. Chief Felix Nwabochi described the incident as malicious.
For Hon. Singer of the Rivers State House of Assembly, the incident was shocking and stressed that he lacked the appropriate words to describe the incident.
In his own reaction, the Director, Fincance and Adminsitration, Post Primary Schools Board, Pastor Rogers Okere expressed optimism that the killers would soon be brought to book. He said they would face the wrath of God.
“God saw them when they came in and nothing can be hidden under the sum. Within the shortest possible time, my conviction is that they will be brought to book in their hiding places,” he stated.
Other sympathizers also urged the police to bring to book those responsible for the dastardly act.
The question now on the lips of many people is whether this will also be another case of unresolved murder.
The police authority must prove that it has what it takes to protect lives and properties of citizens in the state by bringing to book perpetrators of the dastardly act.
Regrettably, the serial killings of political office holders have acquired a level of notoriety, yet none of such high profile assassinations has been resolved. The question is whether it is wrong to serve one’s state. The killing of the Chairman of Public Procurement Bureau, Hon. Charles Nsiegbe by the assassins bullets has remained unresolved. Late Hon. Nsiegbe, a former member of the Rivers State House of Assembly and until his death, the Chairman of the PPB, was assassinated on his way home by assassins who disguised as policemen.
Quite pathetically too, Ambassador Ignatius Ajuru, former Ambassador to Gabon was also felled by assassins bullets. Again former Chief Security Officer (CSO) at the University of Port Harcourt, Choba was also brutally murdered by unknown gunmen.
At a time, many people thought that the assassinations were targeted against Ikwerre politicians but the most recent killing of Chief Egobueze has put paid to that speculation.
One thing is certain, the killings are targeted at politicians who hold public offices without regard to their ethnicity. As the state moves closer to 2011 general elections, the number of politicians killed will be on the increase if nothing is done to discourage these dastardly acts. It must be stated without equivocation that the faceless persons behind the dastardly acts are the greatest cowards that ever lived and that they are not courageous enough to face the challenges that life itself presents.
Interestingly, our respondents agreed that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are not fit to live in the present world. On the other hand, they feel that the police must rise to the occasion to unmask the perpetrators of these cruel assassinations or otherwise put decent law-abiding citizens in jeopardy. The un-resolved killings of high profile politicians and other office holders underscore the germaine need for increased surveillance in the state, lest we descent to pre-order days when life was based on the survival of the fittest.
It is important that the perpetrators be brought to book else the society may relapse into the gungle era. While we implore the police to take the issues of security serious, it will be important for any person that has useful information to report same to the police in order that peace may be preserved in the society.
John Enyie & John Bibor