By Simon Ebegbulem, Benin-City
There is tension in Eme-Ora, in Owan West Local Government Council of Edo State, following the killing of 37-year-old Daniel Aifegha, Coordinator of the Kukuruku Youth Renaissance Network, a youth organization, by unknown gunmen on Tuesday, July 29.
Daniel was a staff of the local government and a supporter of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Sunday Vanguard learnt that the deceased was threatened few days before he was shot dead. Though members of the public are still waiting for the report of the police investigation into the matter, it was learnt that the killing may not be unconnected with the victim’s alleged refusal to support a particular aspirant in the race for the House of Assembly seat ahead of the 2015 general elections.
Daniel’s 70-year-old mother, Margaret, and 14-year-old daughter, led a protest in Benin-City, on Wednesday, appealing to Governor Adams Oshiomhole; the state Commissioner of Police, Foluso Adebanjo, and the state Director of the SSS to help fish out the killers.
The protest followed a petition by the Kukuruku Youth Network, addressed to the state Police Commissioner, alleging that the deceased was threatened by some politicians in the area before his death. The petition, signed by its National President, Comrade Theophilus Ibodeme, attributed the killing to political disagreement between the deceased and some politicians in the area and warned that his corpse will not be buried until proper investigation into his murder was carried out by the police.
The group, in the petition, said, “That autopsy should be carried out on the late Comrade Daniel’s body. That our politicians who seek office at all costs, for their personal aggrandizement, should not see election as a do-or-die affair and should not take us back to the days of the military. That we demand justice from security agencies because no man, no matter how highly placed in the society, has monopoly of violence.
That we implore all well-meaning Nigerians to come to the aid of the late Comrade Daniel Aifegha’s daughter (Miss Agnes) and his aged mother to give them help in every area possible because the late comrade was their benefactor. That as we approach 2015 general elections, we call on the youth to shun violence and not allow themselves to be used as negative tools for promoting and protecting any politicians/party interest that is anti-people and anti-good governance.
The youth should see themselves as partners in progress and the greedy and self centered politicians as their common enemy. We implore the Nigeria Police and other security agencies in the state to make use of available facts as evidence like Daniel’s phone call logs, messages and his interaction on his facebook account, his conversation with those who were with him before he gave up the ghost, to simplify investigation processes” The mother of the deceased, narrating the tragedy that befell her, as a result of the killing of her son, said, “I travelled to Port Harcourt on the 26th of July.
On the 29th, I spoke with my son but, at about 9pm that day, I was about having my bath when my phone rang. The caller told me to return home quickly, that they shot my son and he was being rushed to hospital. I told him I will not be able to leave Port Harcourt that night but that I will come the next day. On getting to the village the next day, I met my son’s body at the mortuary. That is why I am here to appeal to Adams Oshiomhole, our godly governor, to help me persuade security agents to find the killers of my son. He told the person that rushed him to the hospital something. They went to his room at night and shot him”.
Daniel’s friend who rushed him to hospital before he gave up the ghost, Mr Oluwa Iduigome, stated that after the death of Daniel, he (Oluwa) was being threatened due the revelation from the deceased about the suspected killers.
He said, “On the 29th of July, he called me because he was my very close friend. He told me that they shot him that I should come. I rushed down and saw him lying in a pool of blood. So I ran out to call other people to help me put him on my motorcycle and rush him to hospital. But by the time we got to hospital, he had died. But before he died, he told me that one Anslem told him he will kill him, so he was just saying that the Anslem had finally killed him.
Daniel was a politician and also a civil servant in the local government, so most of our politicians always came to him for support because he was a youth mobilizer. But I think what happened was that he told one of the politician that he will not work for him, rather that he will work for his opponent. In fact he was threatened through a text message on his phone. I was also threatened after I rushed him to hospital. They told me that I am the next target, my life is not even safe right now”.
The Edo Police Commissioner, Adebanjo told Sunday Vanguard that his Command was investigating the matter. “We are appealing to anybody that has information on the murder to come up and tell us so as to help our investigation. That is why I always stress that the police cannot protect you alone, the issue of security has to do with all of us and we must all be vigilant. I have always said that nobody has the right to kill and whoever is involved must face the music. We will get to the root of this matter”, he said.
Reacting also, the Executive Director of the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) and human rights activist, Rev David Ugolor, who was also part of the protest on Wednesday, regretted that the family of the deceased was poor and therefore tasked the new Inspector General of Police, Mr Suleiman Abba, to keep to his words when he assured that the police will work for the poor.
Ugolor, who recently raised the alarm over alleged threat to his life following his comments on the crisis in the state House of Assembly, said, “The assassination of Comrade Daniel is condemnable. I am very worried that if we do not use this as basis to continue to demand and put pressure on government, you know investigations into killings like this normally end in chaos.
Even those who will be there to provide important information are turned around to become accused persons. That is the reason we are appealing to the Nigeria Police to see this as a challenge. Although the family of Daniel is weak, poor, justice is very important for it and our democracy especially against the back ground of the appointment of a new IG who told Nigerians that his regime will be for the poor. That statement is on trial, because how he deals with this kind of assassination will tell Nigerians who he will be seen as”.