Police in Bayelsa State have launched a manhunt after an aide to Governor Seriake Dickson was shot dead in a suspected assassination operation overnight.
Ebikimi Okoringa was inaugurated as an adviser to the governor last month, but he has not yet been assigned an office.
He was killed at about 1:00 a.m. Tuesday in his hometown in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, about 20 kilometres north of Yenagoa, the state capital.
Bayelsa police commissioner, Don Awunah, told PREMIUM TIMES he had ordered a manhunt for the suspects, adding that the police are treating the matter as a homicide.
“We understand that he had a brief altercation with some people shortly before he was murdered,” Mr Awunah told Premium Times by telephone Tuesday night. “We have launched a manhunt for the suspects.”
Two administration officials who spoke with the online medium under anonymity from Yenagoa Tuesday night said they suspected that Mr Okoringa was assassinated.
The incident comes six months after an AIT reporter escaped assassination in the state.
Patience Owei was returning from a church programme at dusk on October 8 when she was assailed and shot by thugs in downtown Yenagoa. The police said at the time that they were treating the case as armed robbery because the suspects bolted with Ms Owei’s handbag which contained her telephones and other belongings.
Mr Dickson condemned the attack and said the state would cover the bill for the journalist’s care at a specialist hospital.
Yet, the case raised new fears about the safety of media practitioners and other residents in Bayelsa, especially as it occurred only a few months after a radio journalist was fatally shot by gunmen.
Famous Giobaro was a reporter for Bayelsa Radio until his assassination on April 16. The police said the matter would be investigated, but no updates had been provided ever since.
Bayelsa information commissioner, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, conveyed the sadness of Mr Dickson and his cabinet about Tuesday’s development, adding that the state would ensure a thorough investigation.
“The government is the deeply pained by the news of his death,” Mr Iworiso-Markson told Premium Times by telephone Tuesday night. “The governor would work with security agencies to ensure a full-scale investigation into the matter.”
“At the appropriate time, their findings would be made public”, the commissioner added.