David Ntekim-Rex
Late Ntekim-Rex

OBINNA EZUGWU

Former Anambra State governor, Mr. Peter Obi; Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, among others, have expressed sadness over the killing of a young computer systems engineer, David Ntekim-Rex.

David, 22, a graduate of the University of Lagos, who won the IBM Z Initiative Prize in 2018, was on Friday, shot and killed by armed robbers who wanted to steal his mobile phone at the Jibowu area of Lagos State.

Son of Dr. Yetunde Nketim-Rex, a senior lecturer at the English Department in the University of Lagos, David was said to have been dropped off by a cousin named Nicholas around 8pm.

He was said to have walked down to Jibowu Street near Finicky Restaurant which has no functioning streetlights.

While waiting to board a vehicle that would convey him home which is close to WAEC bus stop, he was said to have been using his Samsung phone, which caught the attention of the robbers.

An attempt by the hoodlums to snatch David’s phone was resisted and this was said to have infuriated them as one of them brought out a gun and shot him at close range before fleeing with the phone.

A relative said the police arrived the scene but failed to act on time to take him to hospital as David had not yet been confirmed dead when they arrived.

He said the policemen had already declared the spot a crime scene and assumed that David was dead, an allegation that has caused national outrage.

But the Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said David was already dead when they arrived at the scene.

“On getting to the scene, policemen met his lifeless body but relations insisted that he was not dead. So, police took him to Military Hospital, Yaba but the hospital said they could not treat him and then referred him to LUTH,” he said.

“He was accepted at LUTH and he was confirmed dead. The family returned to police to get extracts at the station for mortuary. So, the allegation of the police abandoning him is not true. The incident is unfortunate and we sympathise with the family but we did what we could.”

The case, sources said, has been transferred from the Sabo Police Division to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti.

Reacting to the incident in a statement on Tuesday, Mr. Obi, who was the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) vice presidential candidates in 2019 election, said he was saddened by the killing, noting that David did not deserve to die in the circumstance.

“I am saddened by the killing of innocent and hard-working young Nigerian, David Ntekim Rex, in the hands of armed robbers due to worsening insecurity in our country,” Obi said.

“David, and indeed any other citizen, does not deserve this untimely death because the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act (2017), makes their treatment lawful.

“I urge governments and institutions at all levels to urgently direct that gunshot patients be treated without police report in line with our laws. The hospitals can inform the police of such a patient while he or she is undergoing treatment.

“May the Almighty God grant David eternal rest and his family and friends the fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss.”

Similarly, Saraki, former governor of Kwara State, asked that the full weight of the law to be brought to bear on everyone found to have been culpable in the death of 22-year-old.

David, according to a 2018 statement by IBM, had beaten 17,000 others from around the world including finalists from Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, Nepal and the United States to emerge as the co-regional winner of the annual Master the Mainframe competition, organised by AngelHack and IBM Z Academic Initiative.

Meanwhile, the PDP on Monday, called for a probe into the role of the Police in the death.

The party in a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, condemned the reported refusal of police operatives to save the young man’s life. The party said the operatives reportedly “engaged in photo ops, as the promising young Nigerian continued to bleed.”

The party also expressed worry over the alleged refusal by the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and the Military Hospital to attend to the victim before his death.

“It is horrendous that while the victim gasped for breath, the police, who ought to have provided help and take action to track down the assailants, reportedly took pictures of the dying youth and showed more interest in his laptop,” the party said.

“Our party holds that this action of the said police operative makes them culpable for failing in their statutory duties of saving lives, which also amounts to a very grievous offence under our laws and before humanity.

“In the same vein, the PDP expresses worry over the alleged refusal by the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and the Military Hospital attend to the victim, leading to his eventual death.

“The PDP asserts that the reported actions of the police and the hospitals are in clear violation of the “Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act 2017”, which establishes the right of every person with gunshot wounds to be treated and also provides, as a duty, for security agents and agencies to assist such victims.

“Our party, therefore, calls on Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to immediately commence a full inquest into the roles played by his men and the hospitals in the unfortunate death of Citizen David Ntekim-Rex.

“The PDP grieves over the death of this young Nigerian. We also commiserate with the Ntekim-Rex family and urge the Inspector General to take steps to apprehend the assailants and bring them to book.”