A former Chairperson of Owerri, Imo State branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ndionyenma Nwankwo, has been found dead in his office.
The 64-year-old lawyer apparently killed on Saturday was found lying lifeless in a congealed pool of his blood in his office located at 43 School Road Owerri, on Sunday.
The secretary of Owerri branch of the NBA, Chinedu Agu, gave details of the preliminary observations from the scene of the incident in a statement on Sunday.
He said there were deep machete cuts on the deceased person’s neck and wrist regions.
According to him, Mr Nwankwo had left home for work and did not return on Saturday.
He said his worried family members, on Sunday, alerted Ishmael Nkwocha with whom the deceased was sharing an office space “over the uncertainty of his whereabouts.”
Mr Agu said on visiting the office Sunday morning the door to Mr Nwankwo’s main office was met locked but “traces of blood on the door.”
He said police forensic experts were invited to the scene, and after they opened the door with their gadgets, Mr Nwanwko’s “bulky frame” was found “lying lifeless inside his office in a pool of his congealed blood.”
He stated, “On a closer inspection, Nwankwo appeared to have been savagely macheted by his assailant, as a very gaping cut was seen on his neck, a monstrous cut of not less than of about 30cm with only about less than 50percent of the flesh in his neck region holding the head.
“Blood splashes were seen on the roof, fans, printer, computers, table, files, seats, books, bookshelves inside his office suggestive of a ferocious macheting of his neck.
“Nwankwo was suspected to have been busy working as his printer, computer, standing fan were on while a writing pad containing jottings unrelated to this incident and a 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 matchet used in this act.“A search of the office revealed a matchet abandoned inside the toilet of his office with which the assailants was suspected to have used 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 unidentical.”
Driver, phones, car of deceased yet to be found
He said 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.”
He added that the deceased’s driver “who reportedly was the only person with him in the office on Saturday, is at the time of this report at large, with Nwankwo’s phones, and car nowhere to be found.”
CP orders investigation
Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relation Officer in Imo State, Ikeokwu Orlando, said in a statement on Sunday that the Commissioner of Police, Nasiru Mohammed, asked for calm, and “directed investigation into the matter, with a view to arrest the fleeing suspect(s) and recover the stolen items.”
The statement, titled, ‘SUSPECTED MURDER’ gave a brief preliminary findings on the incident which tallied with Mr Agu’s account.
It stated that following a report, “operatives of the Command moved to the scene (his office) and met the lifeless body of the lawyer in the pool of his own blood, with machete cuts on his neck.”
The statement added, “Taking a further look around the office, a matchet with blood stains, suspected to have been the matchet used in inflicting the cuts on him, was found on the floor.
“It was also discovered that his car and other yet to be identified items were taken away.”
NBA President commiserates
NBA President, Olumide Akpata, who also confirmed the incident in a thread of tweets on Sunday, said he had contacted the incumbent and another past chair of the Owerri branch of the association to express his condolences.
He also called on police authorities to ensure the perpetrators were brought to book.
He stated, “I am devastated to hear of the gruesome killing of a past Chairman of the Owerri Branch of the @NigBarAssoc N. H. Nwankwo Esq which said event took place at his office at 43 School Road Owerri, Imo State where he had gone to work on Saturday 6 February 2021.
“I have called the Branch Chairman, Mr J. I. Ogamba & past Chair, Mr Damian Nwanosike to express my condolences.
“I pray that God grants his family the fortitude to bear this loss while I call on @PoliceNG to ensure that the perpetrators of this dastardly act are brought to book.”
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