His wife became a widow in the season of elections. She has refused to be consoled. His murder sent panic across the nerves of his friends and associates, heat up the political space in Delta State and caused serious upset among the appointees of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. Why? He was said to be a reliable political ally within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) family in the state and a helper in time of distress.
The circumstances surrounding his gruesome murder, till now, leaves sympathizers disconsolate. He was a political force at Ekpan in Uvwie Local Government area of the state. He was Governor Okowa’s Special Assistant on Youth Development, Mr Lawrence Ngozi Ijei, who was killed at the peak of electoral contest in the state and the country. Unknown gunmen reportedly snuffed life out of him after they ambushed and shot him dead around Ekpan in Warri axis of the state while he was returning from an outing on February 15, within the town.
For Ijei’s distraught wife, Mrs. Ngozi Ijei, death cannot do them apart as she maintained that she would live to remember his love and admire his fearless posture. “See what they (enemies) did to me? Life has become bitter without my love. The odds have become my lot. I did not believe this will be the end. His children are here – tender and fragile.
I am now at the mercy of God. My friend, my love, my heart, is no more. I am now friendless and forlorn. Oh my God!” she wept, gnashing her teeth. She however expressed confidence in Governor Okowa, whom she said God used from the outset to bring light to their family, to remain a benefactor close at hand in time of distress.
“Governor Okowa that I know will not abandon me and these little children to our fate. I never knew the nasty and brutish side of life will snatch him away from me at tender age,” she lamented. Ijei’s killing sparked anger among youths in the locality and resulted in disorderliness for two days as vehicular movement was shutdown, economic activities crippled and nightlife forcefully restricted for fear of the unknown.
His assailants did not leave any stone unturned. They trailed him to the black spot and shot their victim twice at a close range in the chest and head, and made sure he was lifeless before they escaped in their waiting car. Another source claimed his assailants accosted him while he was returning from Asaba with mobilisation fees for presidential and national Assembly elections initially scheduled for February 16. Only God knows which source is accurate. But opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) swiftly lashed onto the version that portrayed the victim as a political rascal, whose activities had allegedly kept Delta Central Senatorial District of the state in the violence and intimidation.
“The huge money he was allegedly conveying to his place but which was carted away by the hoodlums was given to him for wrong-doings, including vote-buying,” an opposition source said. The Acting Police Public Relations Officer in the state, ASP Chuks Orisewezie, simply said: “We already have the signal. We are on top of the situation. Investigation has not revealed whether it was politically motivated or it was cult-related. All I can tell you is that, investigation has commenced.” With displeasure, Governor Okowa condemned his gruesome murder in strong terms. A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, said: “The Governor is deeply saddened by the untimely death of his aide who was killed by yet-to-be-identified gunmen.
“We have alerted the security agencies of some disturbing security situation in parts of the state and wonder what they are doing because these information have been available to them. I condole with his wife and family and urge security agencies to investigate the unfortunate incidence with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice.” He called on the people to remain peaceful and maintain the existing peace he has built in the last three and half years.
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