John ODHE, Yenagoa
The gruesome murder of the All Progressives Congress (APC), chieftain, Mr. Sunday Frank-Oputu in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State may not have been politically motivated as being insinuated in some quarters.
Frank-Oputu was brutally assassinated last week in his Bay-Bridge residence in the state capital by yet to be identified gunmen who scaled his fence and shut several bullets at him through his bed room window around 11pm while his police wife was away for a vigil.
Eye witnesses said the deceased was left in a pool of his own blood after being riddled with bullets by the assailants while his kids were wailing around him helplessly before people from the neighbourhood came and rushed him to the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa where the Doctors confirmed him dead.
Being a factional chieftain of the APC who had been kicking against the congresses that brought the current leaderships of the party in the state as well as his strong condemnation of the recent invasion of court proceedings during a case involving his party, Frank-Oputu’s death has been widely adjudged as politically motivated.
However, further revelation has proved otherwise, there is an alleged link of Frank-Oputu’s murder to communal crisis in his Igbomotoru community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
According to the traditional ruler of Igbomotoru community, HRH Aseimiegha Ofongo, the sudden dimise of the APC strong voice may not be unconnected to the intra-communal crisis involving a certain suspected illegal oil bunker who wants to use force to change the leadership of the community.
Ofongo hinted that late Frank-Oputu’s firm resistance to the nefarious activities of the said bunker may have led to his assassination.
The traditional ruler further revealed how the alleged crude oil thief and his ilk allegedly kidnapped him (the paramount ruler) and forced him to take an oath to relinquish his throne.
The paramount ruler claimed that he has since gone into hiding as the alleged assailants that killed the APC chieftain are threatening to kill him and take control of the crude oil rich Igbomotoru community.
While speaking to Journalists from his hideout, the royal leader fingered the suspected oil bunkering merchant, (name withheld), who allegedly bears illegal arms, as possible mastermind of the assassination of Frank-Oputu because he stood by the leadership of the community in their quest to prevent the suspect from using Igbomotoru as a base for his nefarious activities.
The Traditional Ruler further alleged that the said suspect sometime ago kidnapped him, took him into a shrine in the forest where he was forced to take an oath at gun point to relinquish the throne.
The traditional ruler explained that he has since relocated outside the state for safety and that others who meant well for the community have equally fled as they are chased away from their homeland and families.
Meanwhile, more condemnations have continued to trail the unfortunate killing of the APC pundit, Frank-Oputu.
Apart from the leadership of his party, the police and the Bayelsa state government that had condemned the dastardly act and declared manhunt for the assailants, other groups and individuals have also been laying their voices in condemning the murder.
Notable among them is the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) which described the wicked manner with which the life of Frank-Oputu was caught short as most unacceptable and alien to the ljaw Nation.
The pan ljaw youth body in a statement signed by its national Spokesman, Comrade Ebiladei Ekerefe, described the late Frank-Oputu as a vocal, truthful and peace loving politician and wondered what could have warranted his brutal murder.
Ekerefe called on the security agencies to ensure that discreet investigation is carried out so as to bring the perpetrators of the evil act to book.
Also condemning the painful death of the APC chieftain is the former Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, who in a statement described Frank-Oputu as a dogged politician who stood and died for the truth.
The pioneer Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, while sympathizing with the family of the deceased also sued for proper investigation of the cause of Frank-Oputu’s gruesome death and bring his killers to justice.