…He Was Workers’ Friend – Ex-Tuc Boss
Acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mrs. Ibim Semenitari on Wednesday described the gruesome assassination of renowned human rights activist and legal practitioner, Ken Atsuwete as the height of impunity in Rivers State.
Also, the immediate past chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in the state, Comrade Hyginus Chika Onuegbu, expressed shock over the killing of Atsuwete by yet-to-be identified gunmen, describing him as a friend of workers in the state.
Semenitari, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, stated that the cold-blooded murder of the human right activist 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.
The NDDC boss said, “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.”
Meanwhile, former chairman of TUC in the state, Comrade Hyginus Chika Onuegbu, recalled how himself, Anyakwe Nsirimovu and the late Atsuwete fought against the Social Services Contributory Levy Law in 2010 and 2016.
Onuegbu, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday, said, “I am still in shock over the dastardly killing of my Comrade and Good friend Barrister Ken Atsuwete. Ken was a friend of the workers and poor people. We fought many battles together not just for the workers but for the ordinary people of Rivers State.
“The Struggle against the Social Services Contributory Levy Law in 2010 and 2016 is a good example of how Ken, Anyakwee and I partnered to defeat obnoxious laws. His death is a big loss to the Human Right Community, Rivers State, the poor, labour unions and defenseless whom he took as his family.
“My sincere condolences go to his wife and the immediate family as well as the civil society. I just hope that matter will be thoroughly and swiftly investigated by the Police and DSS and the findings made public. This is one murder too much.”