A member of the House of Representatives, Onofiok Luke, has mourned a young entertainer, Godwin Thomas, who was shot dead November last year at a traditional marriage in Akwa Ibom State allegedly by a police officer.
The unidentified police officer was said to have accompanied the groom who is a driver to Akwa Ibom governor, Udom Emmanuel.
Mr Emmanuel attended the marriage ceremony and had left before the killing, the police said.
People familiar with the incident told PREMIUM TIMES that the governor’s driver, Bassey Edet Bassey, was being driven out of the event venue at the end of the ceremony when the victim, Mr Thomas, rushed to the car, held it and began begging him for money. He was said to have been shot at a close range by a police officer who had warned him to back off.
“You came, you hustled, you left under tragic circumstances,” the federal lawmaker, Mr Luke, said in a Facebook post on Thursday a few hours after the slain entertainer was buried in Etinan.
Mr Luke represents Etinan Federal Constituency. Late Mr Thomas was his constituent.
The lawmaker said in the Facebook post that he was doing his best to ensure that Mr Thomas’ death was not in vain.
“As your representative in the National Assembly working with your representative in the state Assembly Rt. Hon. Aniefiok Dennis, we are doing our best to ensure that your death is not in vain.
“Adieu, Our Supporter and show boy.”
When PREMIUM TIMES, Saturday, contacted Mr Luke, a former speaker of Akwa Ibom House of Assembly, to find out what steps were being taken to bring Mr Thomas’ killer to justice, he said would not comment on the matter since it was “a subject of investigation”.
PREMIUM TIMES spoke with the representative of Etinan State Constituency, Akwa Ibom House of Assembly, Aniefiok Dennis (the victim was his constituent).
“You know we are not the police,” Mr Dennis said.
“I took the matter to the floor of the House during plenary and the House of Assembly which I belong condemned the killing of the poor boy. It was a very unfortunate incident.
“I was following it up with the police, they were carrying on with the investigation. You know there is not much I can do, they (police) have to do their job.”
Mr Dennis, who said there is now an autopsy report to aid in the investigation, urged the police to conclude their investigation and ensure that justice is done.
“I don’t think they (the police) are making reasonable progress,” the lawmaker said when asked to assess the progress of police investigation.
“I am concerned because he (the victim) is somebody I knew personally, he was from my ward, and we have been working together, a strong party boy. I would not accept the matter being swept under the carpet,” he said.
The police in Akwa Ibom said the killing was being investigated. “There were police personnel from within the state and neighbouring states on escort duties,” the police said.
Governor Emmanuel is said to have been enraged over the killing and has asked that the culprit be prosecuted.
The attorney general of Akwa Ibom State, Uwemedimo Nwoko, in January, told PREMIUM TIMES what could be done to obtain justice in the case.
“Normally when a thing like that happens, the victim’s family or other people that are interested would pursue the police, write a petition to the commissioner of police or the inspector general or the AIG and say this person was killed in indefensible circumstances and then call for investigation.
“If the police refuse to investigate, call in civil society organisations to demand an investigation and, of course, they would generate the heat and the police would investigate.
“It is after investigation that the matter now comes to the office of the attorney general and I will prosecute,” Mr Nwoko said.
“Let the family of the deceased raise a petition. If I have a petition on my table as attorney general, copied to me, I will write to the police that I have received this kind of complaint, please investigate it and let us have a report.
“Since that incident happened I have not heard anything about it till today. I have been told that it wasn’t even the policemen in the governor’s convoy that did that.
“I felt quite sad, I see no reason why whosoever was responsible should not be prosecuted.”