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Unidentified gunmen kill journalist, police involvement suspected

(MRA/IFEX) - On 17 August 2008 at about 10.30 p.m. (local time), Mr. Paul Abayomi Ogundeji, a member of the editorial board of the Lagos-based private daily newspaper "Thisday", was shot dead in Dopemu, a suburb of Lagos, by yet-to-be identified gunmen.

According to the Nigerian Police, while driving home Ogundeji was ambushed by armed robbers who had earlier stolen another car. The police allege that the bandits ordered him to stop and to open his car door, and that when he refused to obey, the robbers shot him. Nothing was removed from the Kia Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) which he was driving.

However, an eyewitness gave a different account. The unnamed witness said the journalist was shot at close range by men in police uniform who had been manning a roadblock at the location of the shooting. The witness said the victim was stopped by the uniformed men who ordered him to open his door. When he refused to obey, one of the policemen shot him dead and the officers then boarded their vehicle and left the scene. The victim's family believes this version of the incident.

Ogundeji, who joined the editorial board of "ThisDay" about three months before, had worked with several other publications previously, including "The Guardian", "The Punch", and the defunct "Comet" newspapers. He was also chief press secretary to former Lagos state deputy governor Femi Pedro.

This incident comes barely two years after the murder of "ThisDay" newspaper's then-editorial board chairman, Godwin Agbroko, on 22 December 2006. Agbroko was shot dead as he was returning home from the office. His killers have not yet been found.

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