By Emmanuel Aziken, Victor Ahiuma-Young & Inalegwu Shaibu
LAGOS â€” THE remains of the late Bayo Ayanlola Ohu, Assistant News Editor of The Guardian Newspapers who was assassinated in his Egbeda, Lagos residence on Sunday, September 20, will be buried tomorrow.
The interment which will take place at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Ado-Awaye, Iseyin Local Council of Oyo State will be preceded today by a service of songs and Christian wake at his Lagos residence at Number 9, Oyeniyi street, off Odukoya Estate, Akowonjo, by 5.00 p.m.
Mark tasks Police on Ohu’s killers
Meanwhile, President of the Senate, Chief David Mark, has charged the Police to find Ohuâ€™s killers.
Senator Mark in a condolence message to the management and staff of The Guardian Newspapers said the death of Ohu, whom he described as a consummate professional, gentleman and a patriot is shocking and barbaric.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Paul Mumeh, the Senate President tasked the Police to work extra hard to uncover the perpetrators of the dastardly act within the shortest time.
â€œWe are touched by the news of Ohuâ€™s murder, I sympathise with the family and the entire management of The Guardian Newspapers Limited and pray to God to give them the fortitude to bear the loss.
â€œOhu was a hard core professional who dedicated his life to the profession of journalism and was a shining example to all those who crave for objectivity and balanced reporting. The security operatives, especially the police, must not treat the murder of Ohu with kid gloves. All that is needed to be done should be done to unravel the murderers of Ohuâ€, Mark said.
The statement further reads, â€œHis demise will surely leave a yawning gap in the heart of Nigerians who have come to find journalism and journalists as the defenders and promoters of democracy.
The management and staff the Guardian as well as Nigerian journalists should not be deterred by the gruesome murder of Ohu, but the incident should reawaken their strong desire to uphold the truth and the tenets of democracy.â€
Ohu must not join list of unresolved murders, warns TUC
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) in its own reaction charged the leadership of Nigerian Police and other security agencies in the country, to do everything possible to bring Ohuâ€™s killers to book, warning that his case must not join the growing list of unresolved murders in the country.
The umbrella body for senior staff associations in the country decried the increasing risk Nigerian Journalists were being exposed to on a daily basis in the course of their legitimate duties and wondered why members of the National Assembly were still foot-dragging over the Freedom of Information Bill.
TUC in a statement by its President-General and Secretary, Comrade Peter Esele and Chief John Kolawole, respectively said: â€œTUC expresses deep shock over the senseless assassination of Bayo Ohu, an Assistant News Editor with
The Guardian Newspapers, whose death has once again raised a big question as to why journalists have suddenly become endangered species.
We are shocked also because this noble profession may face extinction in the coming years if the Nigeria Police fail to halt what is now assuming a new dimension in a country still battling to pass the Freedom of Information Bill into law. We are therefore apprehensive of what will become of the profession when finally the bill is made law.
â€œTUC is even more shocked to note that between October 19, 1986 when the founding Editor-in-Chief of Newswatch magazine, Mr. Dele Giwa, was assassinated through a letter bomb, a score of Nigerian journalists have been murdered under questionable circumstances.
A roll call of these fallen men of this noble profession includes two Editorial Board members of ThisDay Newspapers, Mr. Abayomi Ogundeji andÂ Mr. Godwin Agbroko; Mr. Tunde Oladepo of The Guardian and Mr. OmololuÂ Falobi of The Punch Newspapers among others. The list of those who were manhandled by security forces is endless.”
Senator Anyanwu encourages journalists
In her own reaction, Senator Chris Anyanwu (PDP, Imo East) encouraged journalists in the country not to be intimidated from their duties by the cold-blooded murder of Ohu.
Senator Anyanwu, a former journalist, said the assassination was an overt attempt to instill fear in the hearts of Nigerians to the extent of enthroning mediocrity in governance.
Asserting that the Police owed it a duty to the society to unravel his killers, Senator Anyanwu who is the vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence and Army said: â€œThe cold-blooded murder of Mr. Bayo Ohu, the Assistant News Editor of The Guardian is most shocking and condemnable. It takes us back to the dark-age practice of the military era where bearers of bad news are cut down viciously.
â€œThis dastardly act is the highest form of intolerance because it silences the individual. It aims at killing one of the hallmarks of democracy, which is freedom of expression and free press. It is calculated to instill fear in the psyche of Nigerians and to implant in their thought that the price for freedom of expression is death.
â€œThis could bring about an inert society where people are incapable of responding to things happening around the environment and a situation where authorities will go unquestioned and unchecked.”
According to her, â€œThe ultimate result is that things will go out of hand and the people will stand aside and watch. This must not be allowed to happen again in our society.
â€œThe Police owe it as a duty to our society to unravel the killers of Bayo Ohu. I urge journalists not to be intimidated, but to do their job thoroughly and with the fear of God,â€™â€™ she said as she commiserated with the family and The Guardian over the development.