By Peter Duru
MAKURDI—A pastor with Foundation Faith Church and a Professor of Aquatic Pollution in the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Professor Gabriel Okayi, was, yesterday, reportedly killed by gunmen in Makurdi, Benue State capital.
The university lecturer and brother in-law of the General Overseer of the Church, Okayi, was allegedly killed at about 3a.m. in his residence at Asase, in the North Bank area of the town.
Vanguard gathered from a member of his church that the deceased, who was in his mid 50s, had a day before his death dedicated a new Toyota Corolla car he recently bought in the church.
According to a neighbour of the deceased, who spoke on condition of anonymity, “we heard that the armed men gained entrance into the private residence of the pastor after scaling the perimeter fence of the building.
“But what got everyone worried about the manner he was killed is the fact that the man woke up at about 3a.m., when he realised that his dogs were barking persistently, only for him to discover that the dogs were not released from their pen by his housekeepers.
“He was said to have opened the door and stepped out to get the dogs released only for the armed men, who hid within the compound to open fire on him, killing him instantly in cold-blood, after which they fled the scene.
“The gunshots and wailing by his family members attracted neighbours some of whom summoned courage and mobilised to the house only to discover the man in a pool of blood and before they rushed him to the hospital he was already dead.”
When Vanguard visited the scene, sympathisers, including his church members, had taken over his residence and family members, who were still in shock, would not speak on the matter.
When contacted, the Benue State Police Commissioner, Bashir Makama, said: “I have visited the scene of the incident. The fact is that murder cases of this nature are premeditated.
“They don’t just happen; they are well planned and executed. Investigations are ongoing and I can assure you that we will apprehend the masterminds of the condemnable act.”
Reacting, the Head of Public Relations Unit of the university, Mrs. Rosemary Waku, said the matter had been reported to the police, pleading that the matter be thoroughly investigated with a view to arresting the masterminds.
She said: “We also urge other lecturers living outside the campus of the university to beef up security around their homes to check a repeat of the unfortunate incident.”