By Patrick Ochoga, Benin City
Palpable fear again envelopes residents of Benin City, the Edo State capital following the killing of a lecturer of the University of Benin, UNIBEN, Professor Paul Otasowie by gunmen suspected to be hired assassins.
Prof Osatowie was said to have been shot dead on Wednesday evening in front his house on Siluko in Oredo council area of the state.
As at the time of filing this report there were conflicting reports as to the how the university don was assassinated.
While a version said he was shot as he climbed down his staircase of his storey building, another version had it that he was killed moments he drove inside the premises of the residential building on the same area.
But the command Police said he was killed off Siluko road.
It was however not clear whether Prof. Osatowie was killed by assassins or kidnappers.
The latest ugly development has further heightened concerns among residents within the ancient capital town following reported cases of abductions of high profile individuals by gunmen in the past one week in different locations of the state.
Until his sudden death, Prof. Osatowie was a lecturer in the Faculty of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Benin.
The Publications Officer of the university, Mr. Michael Osasuyi when contacted on the incident said the institution was yet to ascertain full details of what actually transpired from the deceased family.
Osasuyi described the death of the professor as a huge loss to the university community, adding the deceased was a hardworking and dedicated staff.
He said, “For now, the university cannot ascertain what had transpired. But we are sending delegates now to the house to meet with the family.
“We commiserate with the family and it is a big blow to the university. He was one of the persons who have ensured that work is done and done well.”
He noted however that the institution was concerned about the level of insecurity in the state.
“The vice-chancellor, Prof. Orunmwense is saddened with this development. We just wish that this insecurity in Edo State is looked into. Just recently, (Joseph) Osayomore was kidnapped.
“The level of insecurity now is becoming something else. The vice-chancellor commiserates with the family and the school is mourning,” the spokesman added.
Also, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Moses Nkombe, said three suspects have arrested in connection with the killing of the lecturer.
He disclosed that it was a neighbor of the dead Prof Osatowie who alerted the police on the killing, adding that nothing was removed from him after the incident.
The murder of Osatowie came less than two weeks after three policemen deployed on duty at the Ogba Zoo and Nature’s Park were shot dead on Sunday while the Executive Director of the complex, Dr. Andy Ehanire, was also kidnapped in the process.
In addition, ace music icon, Ambassador Osayomore Joseph was again on Tuesday this week abducted in the capital City.
Both Dr. Ehanire and Ambassador Osayomore are yet to be released by their captors even as it was learnt yesterday that members of their families have not established any contact with the suspected kidnappers.