Coalition of Civil Society in the Niger Delta
on Friday protested against the gruesome murder of a frontline Port
Harcourt-based human rights lawyer, Mr. Ken Atsuwete.
The activists stormed Port Harcourt
in black attire with placards bearing different inscriptions like ‘End the
killings in Rivers State now’, ‘One murder too many’ and ‘Every human being has
a right to life, protect his life’.
Others are ‘The killers of Ken must
be brought to justice’, ‘Insecurity of lives is a proof of failure of the
police’, ‘The spirit of Ken Atsuwete demands justice’ and ‘We demand urgent and
effective investigation from Rivers CP on Atsuwete’s murder.’
The protesters, who were led by the
Convener of the Doing Democracy Movement, Mr. Anyakwe Nsirimovu, also had the
Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari and the Chancellor
of the International Society for Social Justice and Human Rights, Dr. Jackson Omenazu,
as part of the protest.
The protesters, who had marched to
the State Police Command at about 9.30am, also demanded that the police should
fish out and prosecute the killers of Atsuwete.
It will be recalled that Atsuwete
was murdered on Monday morning by unknown gunmen around his residence in Aluu
community, Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Speaking to the press, Nsirimovu, who is also
the State Chairman of Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition, noted that the state
was no longer safe for people to inhabit.
Nsirimovu lamented that the level
of killings in the state was worrisome, stating that the intervention of the
Federal Government was needed in the state.
The civil society leader also regretted that
the state government could not send a representative to address the protesters,
who visited the Government House in Port Harcourt.
Meanwhile, the State Commissioner of Police,
Mr. Mobolaji Odesanya, had promised that the killers of the rights lawyers
would be found.
Odesanya, who spoke while addressing the
protesters at the command headquarters, said, “The entire police force express
our sympathy to the family and friends of the deceased. But the promise I make
here today is that the command under my watch will arrest the culprits and they
are going to face the full weight of the law.”
Earlier, Semenitari stated that the hope of
the people was that the police would not relent in arresting anybody found
culpable of Atsuwete’s murder.
According to her, “My constituency
has always been the Civil Society Organisations. We are in protest of one of
us. We are demanding that the killers
should be found and be brought to book.
“The police must find the killers and bring
them to book. The CP has assured us and we want to trust him. Our call today is
that the killers should be found.”