Media practitioners in Edo State were yesterday thrown into mourning as news filtered in that a reporter with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Benin Centre, Lawrence Okojie, has been killed by unknown gunmen.
He was shot dead on Saturday night shortly after he was dropped off around Oguola Junction, off Siluko Road after leaving the office and he was to trek some few metres from there to his house.
The deceased had called his pregnant wife around 8p.m. to inform her that he was already trekking home from the junction but his family became apprehensive when he did not arrive minutes later.
The wife’s curiosity heightened when hours passed by and she still could not see her husband arrive home, and there was no response after repeated calls to his phone. This made her raised the alarm that her husband, who was supposed to have arrived home, could not be reached. Her husband’s body was later found at the scene of the incident.
Other sources said some of his colleagues at NTA joined by some family members on a search mission discovered Okojie’s body in a morgue in Benin on Sunday night. As at the time of filing this report, the circumstances surrounding the death of the reporter were still sketchy.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Moses Ikombe, when contacted on phone yesterday confirmed the death of Okojie, but disclosed that one person has been arrested in connection with the killing.
Okojie’s death brings to five the number of journalists killed in the state in the last six years. A statement by the state council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) signed by its chairman, Sir Roland Osakwe, urged the police to ensure that Okojie’s killers are brought to book.
“He was a humble, hardworking and committed member of the union, who took his job very seriously. The union is calling on the police and all security agencies to fish out the killers of this young man, whose life has been cut short leaving his family in anguish.
“Is this the result for hardworking journalists? We are pained because just few months ago, a journalist was gunned down by unknown gunmen in Bayelsa State.
“We are harmless professionals with constitutional responsibilities to inform, educate and entertain the people of our great country Nigeria. It is the duty of security agencies to provide needed security as we carry out these responsibilities for a better society.”