By Olasunkanmi Akoni
LAGOS â€” TEARS flowed freelyÂ at the service of songs for the late Mr. Bayo Ohu, the Assistant News Editor of The Guardian newspaper killed, Sunday morning, by assailants who pumped bullets into him in his Akowonjo, Egbeda, Lagos residence.
Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola used the occasion of the service of songs held at the deceasedâ€™s residence to call on the Federal Government and the media, in particular, to press for the creation of state police as the present composition of the Nigerian Police could not guarantee the safety of life.
The governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele described Ohuâ€™s death as a great loss and tragedy.
The state government also made a donation of N1 million to the family of the late journalist and promised to offer his widow employment subject to her academic qualification, professional background and work experience.
He lamented that the death has again brought the nation and Lagos into a sad moment and it has gone to show that the security network is still faulty and needed to be upgraded despite the support the state government has been giving to the police.
According to him, â€œAs much as I sympathise with the family of the deceased and The Guardian, it is imperative of me to say that the federal government should take this as a yardstick to listen to the desire of the state for the creation of state police. Even if the desire to unravel the situation is there, the structure of the present police may not be helping matters.
â€œI want to also urge the media practitioners to take this incidence as a measure that would lead them to the drawing board in supporting the agitation for creation of state policeâ€.
The governor further promised that the state would do everything within its capability to ensure that the family Ohu left behind is not neglected.
Bamidele continued: â€œThe state government will further look at the areas it can assist the children and wife of Mr. Bayo Ohu.
â€œWe will offer his widow employment after her academic qualification and professional background are looked into. This will help address the needs of the familyâ€, he said.
In another tribute, Managing Director the Guardian Newpapers, Mr. Emeka Izeze Ohu was someone he used toÂ see everyday at work.
â€œWe are not only colleagues but the nature of the job has made us friends so to lose him, particularly the way he died, is most shocking and painful.
â€œOn Sunday, when the incidence happened, I could not look at the place Ohu used to sit. I was nearly in tears. It was most painful realising the fact that such a disciplined and gentleman journalist would die is such manner.
I can recollect when we wanted to fill a position sometimes ago and the management of the newspaper sat to deliberate on whom to appoint, after looking all over for the right choice, we narrowed it to Ohu and that was why he was recalled from Katsina to Lagos to fill the post of an Assistant News Editor.â€
Izeze promised that the newspaper would not relent in its efforts to ensure that those whose duties it is to unravel the mystery behind his murder were made to do their job.
â€œIt is not going to be one of those unresolved cases of murder. The Guardian management would make sure it does everything possible to unravel the issue behind his deathâ€
In another message Honorable Abike Dabiri said her last conversation with Ohu was on September 12, when the deceased called her.
The chairman NUJ Lagos Chapter Wahab Oba promised that the chapter would do everything to ensure that his killers were exposed.
He consoled the family and also enjoined the media family to ensure that they took up the death of Ohu as a challenge.
Among those at the service of songs were the Managing Director of Guardian Mr. Emeka Izeze; The Guardian Editor, Mr Debo Adesina, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Lagos NUJ Chairman, Mr. Wahab Oba, among others.