The Ughelli Branch Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) of Delta state, Barr Austin Icheghe, was found murdered yesterday by yet unidentified gunmen.

SaharaReporters sources allege that Barr Icheghe, who is survived by four children, is a suspected member of the Black Ax cult, and that his death may be connected to a clash between the Black Axe and Vikings cult which has already claimed seven lives in Ughelli. Austin Icheghe

SaharaReporters reliably learned that the victim was killed at his residence on Thursday at about 9pm.

On Friday SaharaReporters visited the Icheghe's residence to report on the scene. The SaharaReporters correspondent witnessed the victim’s pool of blood still on the ground, with sympathizers and family members seen in groups mourning and discussing in hushed voices.

Narrating the unholy incident to SaharaReporters, the niece of the deceased, who simply identified herself as Egunor Uviesa, stated that her uncle was shot in front of his apartment while leaving his vehicle after closing from work.

According to her, as soon as he left his vehicle, the assailants accosted him and shot him in the head damaging part of his face.

He was immediately rushed to a private clinic in Ughelli where he was later confirmed dead.

Reacting to the development in a press statement, the Executive Director for the Center for the Vulnerable and the Underprivileged (CENTREP), Oghenejabor Ikimi, condemned the cold blooded killing of his colleague.

"It is barbaric. I wondered why anyone would want to sentence a lawyer to death. The killing of the NBA Chairman brings to mind the incessant killings in Ughelli, which is on the rise in recent times. We are tired of these cases of unresolved murders and assassinations nationwide."

According to the human rights attorney two lawyers in Delta State were murdered by unknown gunmen last year while they were on their way to court. The police have yet to arrest anyone related to these cases.

"We are calling on the State Commission of Police and his men to wake up and checkmate these killings because we are tired of these killings.” Ikimi lamented.

Also condemning the incident Asaba based legal practitioner, Mr. Chuks Ebu, told SaharaReporters that the deceased was his junior back in their university days, described him as a down to earth human who cannot even hurt a fly. He wondered why he should be murdered in such circumstances.

Ebu however called on the police to, as a matter of urgency and importance, unravel the circumstances that led to the gruesome murder of the lawyer, and the subsequent arrest and prosecution of all those behind the killings.

SaharaReporters learned that the renewed cult clash has been ongoing on since Sunday. At the time of writing, police in Delta State have mounted roadblocks in strategic locations in and around Ughelli town, and have been arresting people at random alleging their culpability.

All effort to contact the State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Celestina Kalu has proven unsuccessful. Police sources at the State Police command in Asaba have confirmed the incident.

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