By Evelyn Usman and Wahab Abdulah
LAGOSâ€”SEVEN months after The Guardian newspapersâ€™Assistant News Editor was killed by gunmen, another newspaper journalist, Edo Sule Ugbagwu, was shot dead, weekend, in the same neighbourhood by unknown gunmen.
The late Ugbagwu who hailed from Oturkpo, Benue State, was 42 years old at the time he was killed in the Shasha Akowonjo area of Lagos.
Ugbagwu, a Judiciary Correspondent with The Nation newspapers, was killed on Saturday evening at about 6.45pm. A statement by The Nation newspapers, yesterday, confirmed the incident.
Reports said that the gunmen, numbering two and armed with an AK 47 riffle and a pistol, stormed 39 Church Street, off Bameke, Shasha, Akowonjo, where they made straight for Edoâ€™s flat which was on the ground floor, at the back of a one-storey building.
Demand for money
They were said to have met the deceased’s brother, identified as Okloho Sule Ugbagwu in the sitting room and demanded that he brought out the money kept in the apartment. Thereafter, they ordered him to lie flat on the ground, warning that they would shoot if he acted otherwise.
Just then, Edo reportedly came out of his bedroom, and on hearing the banters between his brother and intruders, demanded for their mission. Apparently unaware of their mission, he was said to have asked them to leave the house, but what he got in response were two-gun shots aimed at his forehead.
Efforts to save his life proved abortive as he reportedly gave up the ghost before reaching a private hospital around the area.
The gunmen reportedly left the flat thereafter, without taking anything from the apartment, or carrying out another attack in the premises. They were said to have zoomed off in a red Honda car with unknown registration plate.
When Vanguard visited the residence, sympathizers were seen condoling Ugbagwuâ€™s widow.
Explaining how it happened, the deceased’s younger brother, Okloho said: â€œI was in the bedroom when I heard my name.
Thinking it was my brother that called, I came out, only to find two men with guns asking, â€˜where is the money?â€™ I was confused and asked them which money they were referring to. They asked me to lie down and I obeyed. My brother then came out of his room and they asked him to go back into his room and kept asking where he kept the money. He told them to get out of his house, but the next thing I heard were two gun shots while the men quickly rushed out.â€
The widow, Mariam Ugbagwu, who is yet to come to terms with her husbandâ€™s demise, said: â€œWe were taking a walk when he received a call and thereafter told me he was going to get something from the house. I sat down patiently waiting for him a few metres to our gate.
But just then, I noticed a vehicle driving recklessly out of the direction of our house. On approaching where I sat, the vehicle slowed down, reversed and drove off again. I did not know what that meant until I got home only to meet my husband in the pool of his own blood. I screamed and called out to my neighbours who helped rushed him to a private hospital from where he was referred to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, Ikeja, where he was certified dead.â€
Until his death, Edo worked with defunct Comet Newspapers before he joined The Nation newspaper on July 31, 2006. His last official assignment was the press conference organized last Friday by the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch .
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Marvel Akpoyibo, visited the scene, Saturday night, to have on the spot assessment, from where he directed detectives at the Homicide section of the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Panti, to carry out discreet investigation.
The CPâ€™s visit according to the spokesman for the command, Mr. Frank Mba, was not only to commemorate with the bereaved family but also to demonstrate how the command felt about the unfortunate incident.
Although there had been no arrest but Mba said â€œdetectives from the homicide section have been to the scene. We are very passionate about this case and we are going to carry out discreet investigation at the end of which we would inform members of the public about our findings.”