Posted by By Tony Edike on
THE Vice President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in charge of the South East Zone, Mr Chukwudi Achife, narrowly escaped assassination Monday night when suspected members of a campus cult group who had reportedly assaulted him last week and snatched his handset attempted to shoot him.
ENUGU ó THE Vice President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in charge of the South East Zone, Mr Chukwudi Achife, narrowly escaped assassination Monday night when suspected members of a campus cult group who had reportedly assaulted him last week and snatched his handset attempted to shoot him.
The cultists reportedly laid ambush for Mr Achife around 7.30.pm as he approached his car parked along Port Harcourt street Ogui New Layout Enugu, but the NUJ chieftain was alerted to the plot when one of the would-be assailants accidentally dropped his gun and a little child standing nearby cried out in Igbo: "Hey look, that is a gun!"
Mr Achife was said to have taken to his heels on hearing the shout and eluded the assailants numbering about three who pursued him to the end of the street. Bystanders were reported to have run for dear lives when they observed what was going on.
The NUJ Vice Presidentís problem with the cultists was said to have started on Sunday, July 17 when, while driving along Onyuike road in the same layout. Three suspected members of the cult riding in a gray 504 saloon car blocked his route and started to manhandle him. They reportedly pulled him out of the car and snatched his Sony Ericsson camera phone model T610 and sped off.
Some people on the street however identified one of the attackers as a student of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) whose family used to live in the neighbourhood, but had since moved to an undisclosed area.
Achife had immediately rushed to the Ogui police station where he made a report of the incident. The police had swung into action and were able to trace the brother of the suspect (names withheld) who is a staff of the Enugu State Water Corporation and questioned him about his brotherís whereabouts which he denied knowledge of.
Achife in a petition to the state police commissioner over the assassination attempt said the student had on learning that his brother had been traced went to the scene of the crime the following day and dropped the MTN SIM card from the stolen handset in a match box wrapped in toilet paper.
He also called Achife on his other line and identified himself as a member of a powerful campus cult and threatened to have him killed if he did not call off the police investigation into the incident, adding that he should be content with the returned SIM card. The suspected cultist allegedly also called the investigating police officer, one Sergeant Onu and introduced himself as the personal assistant to a top government official and told him to call off his investigation as nothing would come out of it due to his connections.
The cultistís claims were later found to be untrue as the real personal assistant to the named state official who was contacted by the police denied knowledge of such a person. The NUJ Vice President said he received another call from the student on Saturday 24 July in which he told him to prepare for his death, adding that he (Achife) had also promptly reported this to the police before the assassination attempt.