A frontline Human Rights lawyer, Mr. Ken Atswete, was in the early hours of Monday assassinated by unidentified gunmen in Rivers State.
Atswete was killed in his home around 5am at Aluu community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.
It was learnt that the killers had trailed the victim to his home and wrongly kidnapped his tenant, Mr. Emmanuel Abah, before returning to kill their target.
Abah, who is Atwete’s tenant, narrated that the gunmen had abducted him before coming back to kill their target. He noted that the kidnappers had intercepted him and his family while they were returning from the church around 8pm on Sunday and had taken him to an unknown destination and later set him free when they discovered he was not their target.
Abah said, “On Sunday evening, around 8pm, I was on my way back from the church with my wife when two young men stopped us in front of the gate.
“The boys came on a motorcycle. They asked me to open the gate, when I refused they asked my wife to lie down. Immediately my wife obeyed, they pointed the gun at me asked me to climb the motorcycle and they drove off.
“They took me into the bush that night and they started interrogating me. They asked me for my name, I told them; they asked me for my work, I told them.
“After much interrogation that night, they asked me to go. So, I called my wife that they had released me.
“My wife said when I called that night that she should come and pick me, Atswete’s wife advised my wife not to go that night. This morning, around 5am Atswete himself took my wife in his car to come and pick me. As they came out from the gate the boys accosted him and shot him and ran away.
“My wife started shouting for help before some people came and helped them. They rushed him to the hospital where he died later.”
It was further gathered that Atswete had just brought in his family from the US last week before he was assassinated.
However, the Rivers State Police Command has said that Atsuete was killed by kidnappers and not hired assassins.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Nnamdi Omoni, told The PUNCH that the deceased was shot while was inside his vehicle at about 6am on Monday.
Omoni explained that the victim might have struggled with the kidnappers before he was shot.
He, however, said that the police had since begun investigation into the matter with a view to fishing out those behind the dastardly act and bringing them to book.
In a related development, hoodlums on Monday reportedly killed a 27-year-old commander of the Civilian Joint Task Force in charge of Kakuri community, Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Buhari Amodu Tanko.
The late Tanko, it was gathered, was murdered while attempting to stop his assailants from stealing on the premises of a defunct textile mill, the Kaduna Textile Limited, Kakuri in the area.
The police in Kaduna confirmed the incident.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, ASP Aliyu Usman, said the late Buhari was murdered by hoodlums while attempting to stop them from stealing from the premises of the defunct textile firm located in his catchment area.
He said the incident occurred at about 3am Monday, noting that the police had yet to make any arrest as of the time of filing this report.
Concerns over Julius Agwu’s health after missing own show
There was anxiety over the health of popular comedian, Julius Agwu, on Monday, as there were reports that he was ill.
He was said to be receiving treatment in a London hospital.
While there was no confirmation yet by the comedian and his family, the reported illness particularly generated concern as Agwu was said to have missed a show he organised and held in London show on Sunday.
Attempt to speak with the versatile artiste, who survived a brain surgery last year, was futile as calls put to his phone on Monday evening were not picked.
The sound, however, indicated that the line was in a roaming mode.
One of his media aides, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that he had read about the reports but had not been able to speak with Agwu.
He said, “I have been trying to speak his wife since the morning but I have not got her. I will keep on trying. I hope that I will be able to speak with you by tomorrow morning.”