Ovie Okpare, Warri
A Netherland-based Niger Delta environmental rights activist, Mr. Sunny Ofehe, has lamented the inability of the Nigerian security agencies to apprehend any of the killers of his mother, Mrs. Theresa Noghayin Ofehe, who was allegedly assassinated by gunmen nine years ago.
Ofehe was allegedly strangled on October 4, 2017 at her Benin residence, Edo State, when a group of unknown assailants stormed her home and left her lifeless body in one of the rooms in the apartment.
Ofehe, who is the founder and Executive Director of the Netherlands-based Hope for Niger Delta Campaign, stressed that he would continue to hold the Nigerian Government responsible for his mother’s death for not properly investigating the case to bring to book the perpetuators of the heinous crime.
He explained that the family had now decided to bury his 60-year-old mother after waiting for over nine years for security agencies, especially the police, which were handling the case, to apprehend even a suspect in connection with the murder.
The activist, who had been in the vanguard of fighting the underdevelopment and injustice meted out on the people of the oil rich Niger Delta by oil multinationals operating in the region, alleged that the killing of his mother might not be unconnected with his criticism against the deprivation of the region.
He said, “For as long as the Nigerian Government refused to investigate and prosecute those behind this satanic act, I will continue to hold the Government of Nigeria responsible for the death of my mother.”
Mr. Ofehe, who fled Nigeria in 1995, during the repressive military rule of Late Gen. Sanni Abacha and applied for political asylum in The Netherlands, however, said the remains of his mother would be interred this month.
The University of Benin graduate recalled, “After the death of my mother, it took time for me to recover from the shock of the heinous act. In 2011, I was prepared to finally bury her when the Dutch police raided my house four days to the funeral and arrested me on trump up charges.
“This arrest and the protracted legal case that followed delayed the funeral. My mother was a peace-loving woman whose life was cut short at her prime. She was a great support in my life and even sacrificed all she had to make sure I became what I am in life today.”
In 2014, the activist was kidnapped alongside four other Dutch nationals and two journalists, including this reporter, in Letugbene, Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State during a visit to give support to the cottage hospital serving 12 communities in the creeks of the oil-rich Bayelsa State.
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