By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
If only he had stayed away from his home that fateful Easter Sunday morning, perhaps he could have evaded the messengers of death that brutally cut him down at his prime,” lamented a close friend of Famous Giobaro, an editor of the Bayelsa State owned broadcasting corporation, the Glory FM, at the funeral procession held in his honour.
It was a day many will not forget in a hurry as the death of Giobaro, a father of two, rattled the media community in the predominantly riverine state.
The peace of Yenagoa, the state capital, was violated by gunmen, leaving many broken hearted.
Just as colleagues and family members of the journalist were pondering over his gruesome murder, the police community was jolted by the news of the death of a security operative in another frightening incident around the red light district of Ovom in the heart of the state capital.
While Giobaro was brutally cut down in his prime by unknown gunmen, who shot him severally at his residence along INEC Road at the Kpansia suburb of Yenagoa in early hours of Easter Sunday, the police operative, whose identity was not disclosed, was reportedly hacked to death close to a public bar.
The slain police officer, an indigene of Akwa Ibom State, is believed to be married with kids.
He was described as a regular caller in the area and had been involved in raids. Sources described him as a stubborn and “difficult” officer and had in the past caused hoodlums in the area hard times.
Sunday Vanguard findings revealed that the gunmen, who killed the journalist, were audacious in their operation and might have been trailing him for sometime before snuffing life out of him.
The door to the deceased apartment was riddled with bullets one of which hit him as he tried to take cover before the gunmen gained access through the kitchen and finished him off.
The invaders, as gathered, did not harm two guests of the deceased who passed the night at their victim’s apartment and did not steal any of his valuables.
The two guests reportedly tried to resist the gunmen from entering the room to no avail before they fled into the wardrobe and toilet for protection.
“A neighbour of the deceased, who spoke anonymously, said the gunmen drilled many bullet holes on the door.
He said: “Giobaro, who tied a piece of wrapper round his waist, was first hit by a bullet when he scrambled out of his bed following the sounds of gunshots.
“They didn’t steal anything and they didn’t go to any other flat. It was a case of assassination.”
Premonition: The source said the children of the deceased were not at home when the gunmen struck as he had sent them to stay temporarily with his separated wife.
He added: “They (assailants) were on a mission to kill him. They shot many bullets at the door. They still came to him in the pool of his blood to shoot him many times in the stomach.”
The police came shortly after the incident and took the corpse to the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Yenagoa before it was later taken away to his hometown, Otuedu community in Ogbia local government area of the state, Sunday afternoon for burial.
Though the police maintained studied silence on their ongoing investigation, security sources told Sunday Vanguard that three persons, among a lady allegedly involved in a failed romantic relationship with the deceased, have been picked up for interrogation.
Death threats: The late journalist was said to have received multiple threat messages in connection with the relationship before he was killed. Some of his colleagues said a young man came looking for him at his office penultimate Saturday and was acting strangely.
“It is possible he knew some persons were after him and that informed his claim that a relation was sick and on admission and as such stayed away from work on Saturday before we heard the sad news of the next day of his death,” one of the sources said.
Tributes: Journalists on Tuesday converged on the state radio, the deceased place of work, and held a procession, displaying placards with different inscriptions to protest the murder of their colleague.
Led by the Director of News and Current Affairs, Glory FM, Timi Sami, the protesters began the march from the premises of the radio station and trekked to Kpansia area before returning to the station where sympathisers and colleagues paid tributes to the dead journalist.
Sami, who addressed the sympathisers, cursed Giobaro’s killers, saying they had murdered sleep.
She urged the authorities to investigate the matter and prosecute the perpetrators.
Lamenting the gruesome murder, Sami, in an emotional laden voice, said, “We are here to register our anger concerning the killing of my ‘son’. I call him ‘my son’, because Famous Giobaro was of the News and Current Affairs Department.
“The killers succeeded in entering the house and ended his life. Even if somebody has done something to you, in any form or manner, is that the right way to go about it? Our youths should be called to order.
“They should think of how to go to God and not to kill one another. The drugs they are taking, let them stop it. I am calling on the police, the security agencies in Bayelsa State and Nigeria to beef up security. We don’t know where we are now. This is something unexpected.
“The governor has been trying to ensure there is peace and adequate security by engaging the youths. But why? What would make you to kill your fellow person? What will money do for you and your life when your hands are not clean?”
Others described the deceased as a jolly good fellow.
“You cannot have a dull moment when you are with Giobaro. He was always smiling and gifted in cracking jokes,” said Cyril Adi, a colleague of the deceased.
Meanwhile, the state government and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) have condemned the killing, describing it as sacrilegious.
They called on the police and other security agencies to fish out the killers and bring them to justice.
But Baylesa State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Mr. Asinim Butswat, said detectives were investigating the incident and declined further comment.