Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
As condemnations continue to trail the gruesome assassination of Ken Atsuwete, a Port Harcourt based human rights lawyer, the Rivers State Police Command has presented a new twist to the circumstances surrounding his death.
The Police Command said that Atsuwete died of bullet wounds he sustained during a suspected kidnapped attempt on him at the spot where had gone to rescue a tenant who was earlier kidnapped on Sunday.
Spokesperson of the Rivers State Police Command, Omoni Nnamdi, explained to journalists that the slain Atsuwete was on his way to Rumuchiorlu community in Ikwerre Local Government Area to save a tenant who was earlier kidnapped based on an alleged telephone call from suspected kidnappers that the kidnap victim had been dropped off.
“On their way to the alleged spot where one Mrs Abali Amadi told the lawyer that her kidnapped husband claimed his abductors dropped him they ran into a ditch and suddenly a Toyota Camry car overtook them and the four gunmen dragged Mrs Abali Amadi out of the car and she escaped by running into the bush.
And the four armed men seemed to have had a struggle with Atsuwete and he was shot inside his car because there were several blood stains inside the car. And when they found out that he was dead they pulled him out his Lexus SUV and drove away with his Lexus SUV. And because they were on high speed they rammed into another vehicle on head on collision. They snatched another car escaped,” the PPRO said.
But the PPRO narrative was slightly different from those of eyewitnesses who had earlier told journalists that the lawyer was taken away from his house only to later find him literarily swimming in his own blood as identified himself to passersby saying “I am Barrister Ken please help me.”.
A neighbour volunteered his car and he was first rushed to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching, UPTH, where he was denied treatment because Doctors were on strike.
They later took him to O.B.Lulu Briggs Medical Centre where he was certified dead before they deposited at UPTH morgue.
The Spokesperson of the Rivers State Police Command also told journalists that the Commissioner of Police has ordered investigation into the circumstances surrounding the killing of the human rights lawyer.
The murder of the Port Harcourt based human right lawyer who was one of the speakers at the just concluded Nigerian Bar Association, NBA Conference held in Port Harcourt has continued to draw condemnation.
In its own reaction, the All Progressives Congress Party in Rivers State imputed political motive to the killing of the lawyer while calling on the Inspector General of Police and relevant security agencies to conduct a thorough investigation into the death.
APC Chairman in Rivers State, Davies Ikanya described the murder of the human rights lawyer KEN as unacceptable. He asked tsecurity agencies should do everything to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice.
In his own reaction, the spokesman of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State Chris Finebone said the party is shattered emotionally by the death of Ken Atsuswete.
On his part, a civil rights advocate in Rivers State, Opunabo Inko-Tariah who is also the President of Citizenship, Human Rights and Justice Support Initiative said the police in Rivers State must identify the killers of Atsuwete within the next seven days.