Obioma
Godswill Obioma

OBINNA EZUGWU

Controversy has surrounded the death of Professor Godswill Obioma, Registrar of National Examination Council (NECO), who died on Monday.

Initial report had indicated that gunmen invaded his residence and strangled him to death, a account attributed to his wife, Elizabeth Obioma.

“The assassins came in and killed him and left without taking anything,” Elizabeth told Peoples Gazette by telephone on Tuesday morning.

A report by the medium said Obioma, 67, had been facing attempts to remove him from office as the head of NECO.

Another family source, however, suggested that Obioma died on Monday night after a brief illness.

Prince Godswill Obioma, the son of the deceased in a text message to the Director of Human Resources on behalf of the family, said: “Dear Sir, this is to formally inform you that my father Prof. Godswill Obioma the Registrar/Chief Executive of NECO passed to eternal glory yesterday 31/5/2021 after a brief illness.

“We request that you kindly notify the Board, Management and the entire staff of the Council of this development.

“We shall keep you duly informed.

Still, there is an emerging indication that an ongoing probe of N6.5bn contracts handled by NECO by the Nigerian Senate, may have led to his death.

Mr. Chucks Akunna, Executive Director at The Authority Newspaper, disclosed that he spoke with the deceased before his death and he had hinted that his predecessors who handled the contract, were uncomfortable with the probe.

“This is soft-spoken NECO Registrar, Prof. Godswill Obioma. At about 7am May 24, 2021, we spoke on the ongoing Senate probe of N6.5b contracts. Said his predecessors were uncomfortable, but that he wouldn’t speak “for now”. Last night he was murdered in his Minna house,

Obioma was appointed head of NECO barely a year ago on May 14, 2020. He hailed from Abia in Nigeria’s Igbo-dominated South-East region.

The incident came barely a day after Ahmed Gulak, a top politician of the ruling APC, was gunned down in Owerri, raising widespread fears of insecurity.

The Niger State Police Command has, however, dismissed as untrue, Obioma was murdered by gunmen in his home in Minna, the state capital.

The police command in a statement on Tuesday in Minna by its Public Relations Officer, Mr. Wasiu Abiodun, said the story is totally false, untrue and a pure element of fake news.

The statement said “it is important to state categorically that on 31st May, 2021, the Registrar/CEO, National Examinations Council (NECO), Prof. Godswill Obioma, was rushed to National Hospital, Abuja, by his family members where he was later confirmed dead after a brief illness.”