Gunmen suspected to be cultists on Wednesday shot dead a youth leader identified as Ebenezer Matthew in Abarikpo community, Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Mathew is said to be the president of Abarikpo community in Akoh kingdom of the local government.
His killing came about three months after suspected cultists allegedly gang-raped a woman identified as Chigbewejim Steward to death in the same community.
The Public Relations Officer of the Akoh Youth Congress in the local government, Ekeakita Chinem, confirmed the incident while speaking with journalists on Thursday.
Chinem said the suspected cultists killed the deceased in his father’s compound, saying the criminals may have carried out the act because of the youth leader’s anti-cultism stance.
He said: “It is true that Ebenezer Mathew was shot dead last (Wednesday) night at his father’s property.
“All I know about Matthew is that he was not someone who condoned illegality.
“He has stood firm and fought against cultism and insecurity in society and I think that is one of the two things that could have led to his death.”
Asked if the matter has been reported to the police, Chinem said: “Yes. As I speak to you, they are preparing for his (Mathew’s) funeral.”
He expressed sadness over several cases of killings in the area and called on security agencies and the local authorities to help the people.
He added: “The insecurity in Ekpeye communities is worrying. People do not sleep with their two eyes closed. 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 number of about 16 while Ahoada recorded six. We recorded three cases in Akoh of stolen motorcycles and daily robberies on Odiemenyi Road.
“I call on the security agencies and political leaders to strengthen security in Ekpeye land.
“I am also calling on the Divisional Police Officer, the Area Commander, the Commander, the Joint Task Force Commander, the local government chairmen of Ahoada East and Ahoada West and the top rulers to help 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 people attacked him, but I don’t think it was sect related.
“The command is on top of the situation and investigations are underway to identify the culprits and bring them to justice,” said Iringe-koko, a police inspector.