The police have begun the probe of a senior lawyer, Ndionyenma Nwankwo, in Owerri, the Imo State capital on Sunday by suspected assassins. The victim was a former Chairman of the Owerri branch of the Nigerian Bar Association. Nwankwo was found dead in his office located at No. 43 School Road, Owerri, with deep machete cuts.
It was gathered that his driver fled with his car and mobile phones. The secretary of the Owerri branch of the NBA, Chinedu Agu, who confirmed Nwankwo’s killing on Sunday, said the Homicide Section of the state police command was involved in probing the murder. Agu described the murder of the Anambra State born lawyer as a big blow to the branch.
Agu, who narrated how Nwankwo was killed said, “Around 8.15am today (Sunday) while on my way to church for the 8.30am Mass, I received a call from the Chairman of the NBA, J. I. Ogamba, who asked me to liaise with the former Secretary of the association, Ishmael Nkwocha, to take the police to the deceased’s office to ascertain the safety of Nwankwo, who left home for work on Saturday and had yet to return.
“Nkwocha, who shares the same office space with him, had in response to frantic calls from his family members over the uncertainty about his whereabouts, gone to his office to meet it locked. On opening the entrance door, he met Nwankwo’s main office locked and saw traces of blood on the door to Nwankwo’s office.
“Not very sure of the situation, he went to the Homicide Section of the state CID and he alongside forensic experts from the police headquarters went to the office to have it properly opened in order not to contaminate evidential materials. When the forensic experts arrived around 9.56am with their gadgets, they forced open the door only for us to find Nwankwo’s bulky frame in a pool of his congealed blood.
“On closer inspection, Nwankwo appeared to have been savagely dealt machete blows by his assailant; as deep cut was seen on his neck with less than 50 per cent of the flesh in his neck region holding the head. Blood splashes were seen on the roof, fans, printer, computers, table, files, seats, books and bookshelves in the office.”
Agu added, “Nwankwo was suspected to have been busy working as his printer, computer and fan were on, while a writing pad containing jottings unrelated to this incident and pen were found on his desk.
“A bucket of water was seen in his office, with which the assailant must have washed his hands and the machete used in perpetrating the act. A search of the office revealed an abandoned machete inside the toilet of the office, which was suspected to have been used by the assailant to cut his neck. When his body, which lay half prostrate, was turned machete cuts were seen on his wrist also and the footprints captured by forensic experts suggested the act was done by two persons as the two footprints were not identical.
“As of the time of this provisional report, forensic experts are still gathering evidential materials for their use accompanied by myself, L. C. Ugorji, Uche Osuji, Ishmael Nkwocha, J. I. Ogamba, D. O. Nosike and a host of other lawyers. Meanwhile, his (Nwankwo’s) driver, who reportedly was the only person with him in the office on Saturday, as of the time of this report, is at large with the deceased’s phones and car.
“Arrangements have just been concluded to take the corpse to the morgue. This is one death too many; one murder too savage.”
When contacted by our correspondent on Sunday, the spokesman for the state police command, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the incident. He disclosed that the command had commenced investigation into the incident.