Atsuwete's Murder Further De-Humanises Our Collective Person In Niger Delta—Semenitari
“any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” - John Donne
When on Monday August 29, 2016, I received with shock the gruesome assassination of Ken Atsuwete, a Comrade, lawyer and friend par excellence, an enemy to any infraction on human rights, I was benumbed and confused.
The assassination of Mr. Atsuwete is not only despicable, barbaric, anti-democratic and height of impunity in Rivers State, but a summary of what Rivers State had become in the last one year.
This cold-blooded murder is a huge loss to the Niger Delta region and further dehumanises our collective person as a region struggling to reframe the ugly narrative out there as a people violent and bestial. Even as we strive to change this sad testimonial through hard work, openness and truth, the virtues for which Mr. Atsuwete lived, such incident as his murder dents darker our resolve.
Mr. Atsuwete was committed to his conviction that all men were created equal and so, ought to enjoy unfettered freedom and justice, and where any abuse occurred, the fine lawyer in him would kick albeit through legal means and judicial processes until such a yoke was loosened. He lived to see others happy and free. He lived fighting for the common man, the wretched of the earth whose rights to life, respect and freedom of movement and association suffered any breach.
Through many troubles and struggles, Atsuwete jointly fought alongside other comrades in the path of justice to give the people of the Niger Delta a lease of life.
Ken Atsuete was a believer and a comrade. His faith in Jesus as Lord and personal Saviour emboldened him through thick and thin. His certainty of "a better city whose maker and keeper is God" meant he was content and not able to be bought by filthy lucre. Such is my memory of this vibrant Niger Delta son and follower of Jesus Christ.
His stand on issues, even those qualified as controversial, was always unequivocal. His vocal stance against bad governance and rogue regimes stood him out. A true Citizen of Nigeria and son of the Delta, Atsuwete carried in him the blood of our progenitors who withstood and fought off foreign domination. I am saddened I have to be referring to him now in the past.
Those who killed Mr. Atsuwete would think they have eliminated that benignant tumour in their body system, but unknown to them, this is just the beginning of their eternal suffering and sorrow. Not only will they die worse, miserable deaths, the sword shall never depart from their homes. As is written in the Eternal Word of God, The Holy Bible, “... Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house ... “(2 Samuel 12:10), so shall it be unto them.
My condolences and that of the entire management and staff of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to the young family he left behind.
I trust that for you, my brother Ken, Heaven is arisen on your behalf. God has arisen because of you. Your blood will speak.
I call on the Inspector General of Police, the Director-General, Department of State Security, DSS, and Heads of other sister security agencies to please not allow this murder to go unravelled. It is one murder too many and one that must put a knell on this coffin of insecurity in Rivers State.
Mrs. Ibim Semenitarri
Ag. Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer,
Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC