A youth leader named Ebenezer Matthew was shot and killed by gunmen believed to be cult members on Wednesday in the Rivers State hamlet of Abarikpo, under the Ahoada East Local Government Area.
According to local reports, Mathew served as the president of the Abarikpo Community in the Akoh kingdom.
His murder occurred roughly three months after a woman named Chigbewejim Steward was allegedly killed in the same neighbourhood by a group of gang-raped suspects.
Ekeakita Chinem, the Akoh Youth Congress’s local government’s public relations officer, confirmed the incident to reporters on Thursday.
Chinem said the suspected cultists killed the deceased in his father’s compound, saying the miscreants may have carried out the act because of the youth leader’s anti-cultism posture.
He said, “It is true that Ebenezer Mathew was shot dead yesterday (Wednesday) night in his father’s compound.
“The only thing I know about Matthew is that he was not somebody that tolerate illegality.
“He has been standing firm, fighting against cultism and insecurity in the community and I believe that is one of the two things that might have led to his death.”
Asked if the matter has been reported to the police, Chinem said, “Yes. As I am speaking to you, they are preparing for his (Mathew’s) burial.”
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He expressed sadness over increasing cases of killings in the area and called on security agencies and the local government authorities to come to the aid of the people.
He added, “The insecurity in Ekpeye communities is worrisome. People don’t sleep with their two eyes closed. As of last month, we had about 36 killings recorded.
“In Ekpeye ethnic nationality, we have six clans known as kingdoms. Among the killings we recorded, Ubie has the highest figure of about 16 while Ahoada recorded six. We recorded three cases in Akoh with motorcycles stolen and daily robbery cases on Odiemenyi Road.
“I am calling on the security agencies and the political leaders to beef up security in Ekpeye land.
“I also call on the Divisional Police Officer, the Area Commander, the Commander, the Joint Taskforce Commander, the local government chairmen of Ahoada East and Ahoada West and the paramount rulers to come to the aid of the poor masses in Ekpeye land.”
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Grace Iringe-Koko, confirmed the incident but said it was not cult-related.
“Yes, I can confirm the incident. Some persons attacked him but I don’t think it was cult-related.
“The command is on top of the situation and investigation is ongoing to identify the culprits and bring them to book,” Iringe-koko, a Superintendent of Police, said.
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