There are indications that the Rivers State Police Command has arrested two persons in connection with the assassination of renowned human right activist, Barrister Ken Atsuwete at his residence in Aluu community in Ikwerre local government area of the state.
This is as human right activists from Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta States on Friday stated a peaceful protest in Port Harcourt, demanding thorough investigation into the killing of Atsuwete, who was also one of the leading counsels to the detained chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon. Ojukaye Flag-Amachree.
The deputy governorship candidate of the APC in Rivers State during last year’s general election, Asita Honourable; the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mrs. Ibim Semenitari; and renowned human and environmental rights activists: Alagoa Morris and Dr. Omenazu Jackson, among others, participated in the protest.
Coordinator of the Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition (NDCSC), Anyakwe Nsirimovu, confirmed the arrest of the two suspects while speaking to newsmen shortly after a meeting between organisers of the protest and the state commissioner of Police, Mr. Francis Mobolaji Odesanya, at the Police headquarters in Port Harcourt.
Nsirimovu hinted that members of the coalition from across the nine states of the Niger Delta would continue to protest, until the killers of Atsuwete, a Pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), were apprehended and prosecuted, to serve as a deterrent to other criminally-minded persons.
The protesters, who wore black T-shirts with the photograph of the slain lawyer on them, with these inscriptions: “Barr. Ken Atsuwete, one murder too many”, “End the killings in Rivers State” and “Account for Ken Atsuwete’s murder,” were armed with placards bearing various inscriptions.
Some of the placards read: “Who killed Ken Atsuwete?”, “Inhumanity to Ken Atsuwete is inhumanity to all men”, “Ken Atsuwete fought for the people, it is time for the people to fight for him”, and “The sponsors and killers of Ken Atsuwete must be sanctioned.”
Others read, “The civil society and human rights community demand justice”, “Insecurity of lives and property in Rivers State is a proof of failure of government”, “Every human being has right to life. Protect this right” and “We demand urgent and effective investigation.”
Addressing the protesters after, the commissioner of Police, Odesanya disclosed that the Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, had ordered that the perpetrators of the crime must be brought to book, while assuring that the command would diligently carry out the instruction.
The police boss also expressed grief and sadness on the assassination of the frontline lawyer, said: “We are going to get to the root of the matter. We are going to bring the full weight of the law to bear.”
After the meeting with the commissioner of Police, the protesters marched to the office of the Department of State Services (DSS) at the old GRA and then, Government House, Port Harcourt. After waiting at the gate and no government official came out, they left.