Azubuike Ekwegbalu, the Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria, was murdered in his home on Sunday in a suspected knife attack.
Ekwegbalu, an indigene of Ogbunike, Oyi Local Area of the state, was killed in his residence in Commissioners’ Quarters Area of Awka, the state capital.
The government has described the incident as a setback to the anti-cult campaign in the state, which has witnessed numerous cult and gang-related activities in recent times.
For example, on Sunday, August 6, 2017, a gunman entered a Catholic Church in the state during Mass, killed no fewer than 12 persons and wounded 18 in a suspected drug gang war.
Ekwegbalu, 43, was said to be a close relation of the wife of the governor, who had been involved in the campaign against cultism in the state.
An official statement issued by the government on his death described him as an intelligence officer who worked on the anti-cultism campaign.
Mr C-Don Adinuba, the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, who announced the death in a statement, described him as a thorough, quiet, unassuming, energetic and dedicated security officer whose forte was intelligence gathering.
He said Ekwegbalu had, in the last few months, devoted his energy and professionalism to monitoring cults in various parts of the state following an increase in the menace of young cult members in educational institutions and elsewhere.
“The Anambra State Government announces with great sadness the death early this morning of Mr Azubuike Ekwegbalu, SSA to the State Governor on Security.
“He was not known to most government officials and declined the use of any paraphernalia that could give him out as an intelligence operative.
“Ekwegbalu’s tragic death is a serious setback to the fight against the cult menace and crime generally in the state.
“Gov. (Willie) Obiano has contacted the Azubuike family and commiserated with them.
“Anambra Government working with the security agencies will do everything in its power to apprehend those responsible for Ekwegbalu’s death,” he stated.
According to the police, one person has been arrested in relation to the incident.
SP Haruna Mohammed, the Police Public Relations Officer, said a team of officers visited the scene following a report of the incident and moved the deceased to a hospital where he was certified dead on arrival.
Mohammed said a careful observation on the dead man’s body revealed stab wounds while a blood stained Kitchen knife was also recovered as exhibit at the scene.
According to him, at about 1:30a.m. on Aug. 9, there was a report of alleged murder of one Azuibuike Ekwegbalu ‘m’, aged 43 years, native of Ogbunike in Oyi LGA but resident at the Commissioners’ Quarters, Awka.
“Police detectives visited the scene and rushed victim who was found in a pool of his blood to Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Awka, for medical attention where he was certified dead by the medical doctor, on arrival.
“Corpse was deposited at the hospital mortuary for autopsy.
“A careful observation on the deceased body revealed stab wounds while a blood stained Kitchen knife was also recovered as Exhibit at the scene.
“Consequently, one suspect who allegedly was in the premises has been arrested and case is under investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident,” he stated.
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