By Rose Nwankwu (Awka Correspondent)

The Senior Special Assistant on Security to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state, Mr Azubuike Ekwegbalu, was, on Sunday, murdered in cold blood by yet unknown assailants, leaving him dead after allegedly stabbing him with a kitchen knife. The assassins, allegedly stormed his residence in Awka, Anambra State Capital.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) source, the incident occurred in the early hours of Sunday at his residence at the Commissioners’ Quarters, Awka, a high brow area for government officials. An eyewitness said the late Ekwegbalu, who hails from Ogbunike in Oyi Local Government Area of the state, was a close relation to the wife of the governor.

“He was murdered by unknown men last night at the commissioners’ quarters, Awka. “This is barbaric. May his soul rest in peace. “Security operatives must do all that is possible to bring the killers to justice,” the source said.

Confirming the incident in a statement, the Spokesman of the Police Command in the state, SP Haruna Mohammed, said one suspect, who was seen in the premises had been arrested. “On Aug. 9, 2020 at about 1:30a.m., there was a report of alleged murder of one Azuibuike Ekwegbalu, aged 43 years, native of Ogbunike in Oyi LGA but resident at the Commissioners quarters Awka. “Following the report, Police detectives attached to ‘B’ Division Awka led by the DPO, CSP Emma Ogbuanya visited the scene and rushed the victim who was found in a pool of blood to COOUTH Awka for medical attention. “He was certified dead by the medical doctor on arrival while his corpse was deposited at the hospital mortuary for autopsy,” he noted.

Mohammed said 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 the case is under investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the killing", he said.

Meanwhile, the Anambra State Government has already announced, with "great sadness", the death of Mr Azubuike Ekwegbalu, saying the Police in Anambra state suspect his death may be a case of homicide.

A statement on Sunday by the state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Hon. C Don Adinuba, described "Mr Ekwegbalu was a thorough, quiet, unassuming, energetic and dedicated security official whose forte was intelligence gathering. To carry out his duties faithfully, effectively and efficiently, he kept a low-profile in the public space throughout the years he was in office as the SSA to the 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.

"He had in the last few months devoted his infectious energy and acute professional intelligence 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 results have been outstanding. Mr Ekwegbalu’s tragic death is a serious setback to the fight against the cult menace and crime generally in the state.

"His death was reported accordingly to Governor Willie Obiano, and he has, in turn, contacted the Azubuike family and commiserated with them.

"The Anambra State Government working with the security agencies, will do everything in its power to apprehend those responsible for Mr Ekwegbalu’s death, as we have successfully done over the years in similar deaths. The Government assures all Anambra people, once again, that it will stop at nothing to make the state remain the safest and most peaceful state in Nigeria.

"God bless Anambra State, the Light of the Nation", the statement said. NNL.