Monday Ndor: Another Statistics in Unsolved Murders

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    Nigeria’s civil rule since May 29, 1999, has violently consumed many of its notable citizens who contributed in no small measure to the Country’s existence. In Rivers State, before assassins called at Monday Ndor’s house Sunday, August 19,2001, and snuffed life out of the lawmaker, they had at various times been unwanted guests of some members of the Rivers State House of Assembly. Some of the lawmakers had always feared for their lives. A day before his death, Ndor was in a joyous mood with his wife, Elizabeth, because of the latest addition to their property – their newly acquired Mercedes Benz ML 320 jeep

    He drove the less than 40-kilometre distance from Port Harcourt, capital city of Rivers State, to his Khana constituency in the jeep to continue the felicity with his people. But Ndor, unknown to anyone, except his assailants, was bidding his beloved constituency farewell.

    As the day wore on, Ndor realised it was time to rejoin his family at their 4, Eleleni Close in Rumuomasi area of Port Harcourt and to also prepare for the following day’s business in the House. The journey back to Port Harcourt was smooth and filled with sweet memories until Ndor and his co-traveller drove into his house around 7p.m. Ndor’s wife, Elizabeth, hardly had the opportunity to welcome her husband home when two gunmen emerged from nowhere and rained bullets into his head, stomach and legs. He died on the wheel of his prized jeep, and Elizabeth’s world momentarily, came down. She wailed and cried for help, but Ndor was no more. He was 40 years old when he was murdered.

                                                Blood- stained seat of Ndor’s car

    The assassins came for only Ndor, got him and left. The late lawmaker’s jeep was not touched, neither was his male passenger. And nothing was removed from Ndor’s house or jeep. According  to sources.  the two gunmen who killed Ndor may have been aided and abetted by two other male visitors to his house that faithful day.

    The two visitors, the sources say, had been visiting Ndor for some days. They were waiting in Ndor’s balcony that faithful Sunday evening when he drove into his house. The two gunmen, the sources explained, came in, pointed to Ndor and asked the two visitors if he was the lawmaker. The duo were said to have answered in the affirmative. Pronto, they killed Ndor, and the two unwanted visitors fled with the assassins in their get-away Mercedes Benz 190 saloon car. The white-coloured car’s plate number was said to be “FT 82” at the time of attack

                                              Elizabeth – Widowed

    Ndor’s corpse was deposited at the Braith-Waite Memorial Hospital, now Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, mortuary, few minutes after his death. Moments later, Rotimi Amaechi, then Speaker of the House, visited Elizabeth to Console her over the death of her husband. When the House convened the following day, Monday, August 20, 2001, Amaechi, amidst sobs, formally broke the news of Ndor’s untimely death to his colleagues on the floor of the House, they paid a sympathy visit to Ndor’s widow. The House then adjourned “sine die”,  to be reconvened by the Speaker when members felt safe enough to sit.

    The previous Monday, Ameachi had led members of the House to report the incident to Matthew Egwuenu, the then Rivers State commissioner of police, asking him to bring the perpetrators of the dastardly act to book. The police, as usual, promised to find Ndor’s killers. Peter odili, then governor of the state ,  certainly, did not take the matter lightly. After paying a sympathy visit to Ndor’s widow previous Monday. Odili vowed that Ndor’s killers would be found ‘because nobody  takes the life of anybody in Rivers State and gets away with it’, The governor’s assurance gave some measure of comfort to Ndor’s grief-stricken widow, family, friends and well-wishers.

                                     Dr. Peter O Odili, then governor of Rivers State

    No doubt, Ndor’s murder did filled members of the House with palpable fear of death, especially those of them who sat on the lands and housing Committee. Ndor was Chairman of the Committee until he was murdered. Early that August, Ndor had led members of his Committee, members of the State’s Bureau for lands and Housing, officials of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, and Security Personnel to inspect parcels of land being encroached on by some individuals.

    The inspection was at the behest of a petition to the House by the NRC, owners of the property, which had failed in its bid to halt the encroachment. As soon as Ndor and his entourage arrived at the stretch of land, which is located between the UTC and SUPABOD areas of Nnamdi Azikiwe Road in Port Harcourt, they were attacked by the illegal occupiers of the Land. They were pelted with stones, bottles,sticks and other missiles. Several persons in the entourage, which included the journalists, were injured. Ndor’s official Peugeot 504 2000 series car was vandalised , with its rear windsscreen shattered. The Police later arrested some of the attackers who were  detained.

    Among the illegal structures on the land were several shanties and a building used for religious purpose. It was gathered that the two unwanted visitors who waited in Ndor’s balcony at the time he was killed had been visiting the late Lawmaker to plead with him to facilitate the release of those who were detained for  attacking Ndor and his entourage

    The family house of Ndor’s predecessor, George Tolofari , had been attacked on April 17 the previous year, in Borokiri area of Port Harcourt. Tolofari escaped the assassin’s bullets but his father, Friday, a retired Army Major, was not so lucky as the assassin shot and injured him.

                                                           George Tolofari

    Friday barely survived the attack until April, 22 Gwhen he died from the gunshot injuries at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, UPTH. Despite a successful surgery.

    Many of Ndor’s  colleagues had survived attacks since the house was inaugurated in 1999. They include Anthony Wale, Azubuike Odum, Azubuike Nmerukini. Even then, Magnus Abe, minority Leader of the House, Christian Mba and John Bazia- all members of the House- felt unsafe, Tamunosisi Gogo Jaja, majority leader of the House,  had shared the fears of his colleagues  when he recalled  the experiences of the State’s Lawmakers in the hands of attackers, advicing his colleagues  to take their personal security seriously and called on the Police to intensify round-the-clock security of lives and property  in the State.

    Gogo Jaja had disclosed that Mba,representing Andoni Constituency would have been attacked  if, against security report and advice given him. He had visited Andoni. Mba  kept a distance from his home town. Abe and Bazia , it was gathered , had also been receiving threat messages from certain individuals. The Police,they said, was aware of their complains . Late Ndor, Odum and Abe were of the All Peoples Party,APP.

    19 years after, Ndor’s death has been added to the long statistics of unsolved murders of public  men in the State. The Nigerian Police seem to have put the matter behind them, even when all fingers were pointing to certain persons as being responsible for Ndor’s death.

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