The Political Assassination of
Harry Marshall -A Compilation
Mobolaji E. Aluko, Ph.D.
March 6, 2003
Chief Marshall Harry at the ANPP secretariat in Abuja... Tuesday
Photo: Sunday Aghaeze
Chronology of high profile murders of politicians since 1999
Sep 9 - Sunday Ugwu, elder brother of Nwabueze Ugwu, a legislator representing
Nkanu East LGA in Enugu killed in a case of mistaken identity
Feb 4 - Governor James Ibori of Delta State escaped death in an exchange of gun
fire between two factions of the PDP
March 5 - Momoh Lawal, a relation of Umar Akaaba, former Chairman, Okene LGA in
Kogi State killed
August 24 - Four killed in Abakaliki when Senate President Chief Anyim Pius
Anyim's supporters clashed with Ebonyi Governor Sam Egwu's supporters
Dec 21 - Odunayo Olagbaju, member of the state assembly in southwestern Osun, is
killed by unknown gunmen in his hometown of Ife.
Dec 23 - Justice Minister Bola Ige is shot dead in his bedroom in the
southwestern city of Ibadan in Nigeria's most high profile political killing for
March 7 - Three students reportedly killed at Effurun, Delta State, after a PDP
rally turned violent
Aug 13 - Janet Oladapo, a PDP leader in Odigbo LG clubbed to death by gunmen
Aug 15 - Ahmed Pategi, chairman of President Olusegun Obasanjo's ruling Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP), and his police orderly are murdered by unknown
assailants on a highway near the state capital Ilorin.
Aug 29 - Gunmen kill Victor Nwankwo, younger brother of opposition PMP leader
Arthur Nwankwo (and founder Eastern Mandate Union (EMU)) in the southeast city
Sept 1 - A vocal critic of the governor of southeastern Anambra state governor
and local branch chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Barnabas Igwe and his
wife, Abigail, are gruesomely murdered in the commercial hub of Onitsha. The
killers use a truck to run repeatedly over their dead bodies.
Sept 26 - John Nunu, treasurer of Akassa local government area of southeast
Bayelsa state, is killed by unknown gunmen.
Oct 20 - Prof. Chimere Ikoku, former Vice Chancellor, UNN, killed in his
Nov 25 - PDP governorship hopeful Dele Arojo is assassinated in Lagos by unknown
December ? - Alhaji Isyaku Muhammad, United Nigeria Peoples Party (UNPP),
National Vice Chairman, North West was assassinated
Jan 18 - Three killed in an ANPP, PDP clash around Buhari - Bularafa - Dokini
area in Yobe State
Feb 10 - Ogbonnaya Uche, a senatorial candidate of the main opposition All
Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) dies two days after he is attacked in his home in
Feb 18 - At least seven people are killed in clashes between PDP and ANPP
supporters in Jato-Aka village in central Benue state. The bloodletting was
sparked by the killing of a security guard at the residence of ANPP's
governorship candidate for Benue, Paul Unongo.
Feb 22 - Theodore Agwatu, principal secretary to the Imo state governor, is
murdered in his Owerri residence by unknown attackers.
Feb 23 - Speaker, Borno State House of Assembly, Hon. Inuwa Kubo escaped
March 3 - Mrs. Emily Omope (aka Thatcher) an AD member in Ekiti State died at
the UCH Ibadan after an acid attack in December last year by unknown persons
March 5 - ANPP regional chieftain Marshall Harry is shot dead in his home in the
Thursday, March 6, 2003
Harry Petitions Police, Says Odili Out to Disrupt ANPP Rally
Three days before his death the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) national vice
chairman, Dr. Marshall Harry alleged in a petition to the Rivers State
Commissioner of Police that the state governor, Dr. Peter Odili, wanted to
disrupt the flag off of the ANPP presidential campaign in Port Harcourt
In the letter which he copied the president and security chiefs, Harry listed a
number of measures the Rivers State governor had taken to intimidate ANPP
Excerpts from the letter read:
It is with extreme dismay that we wish to urgently bring to your attention the
dangerous political trend that is rearing its ugly head in Rivers State. This
very ugly trend which is planned and being executed by Rivers State Governor
should be nipped in the bud before mayhem is let loose. Peter Odili should be
held responsible in the event of any riots and disruption of public peace
occurring in Rivers State as a result of his irresponsible and unscrupulous
Elections in a democracy is about winning and losing. In developed world, it is
seen as a healthy contest where winners and losers shake hands after elections.
But here in Rivers State, and Nigeria, most of the people who call themselves
democrats are nothing but intolerant dictators who are full of mischief, who are
bent on misusing power at the expense of the people they are supposed to
THE SOURCES OF PROBLEMS:
1. On Tuesday, February 25th 2003, we applied to the Rivers State Stadia
authority for permission to use the Liberation Stadium Port Harcourt for the
flag-off of the ANPP Presidential Campaign Rally. To our astonishment we were
told that for the stadium to be made available for the use requested for, we
must pay a total of seven million, five hundred Naira (N7.5 million). Two
million five hundred thousand Naira as the fee and five million Naira security
deposit. Meanwhile, a fortnight ago, the Ruling PDP used the same arena after
paying only N800,000. We consider this sudden rise in cost as outrageous and a
plan to frustrate the planned Rally.
Let it be known that the stadium is not a property of Dr. Peter Odili Company
Limited but the property built and maintained with River State money.
Fortunately, the party chairman in the presence of Prince Tony Momoh and Alhaji
Sule Hamman Bello called the Governor to ask him why the outrageous cost, they
are witnesses to what transpired.
2. Since we started the preparation for the presidential flag-off campaign, we
have noticed a high spate of arrest, intimidation, harassment and maiming of our
party officials, candidates and supporters by Odili's thugs with the assistance
of the Police.
3. Apart from the continued detention of Chief Ibe Eresia Eke, an ANPP National
Officer for trumped up charges of attempted murder for which he has been refused
bail since the past four weeks, the following are other Party members that have
just been hounded into Police cells for similar trumped up charges.
4. Deacon Elekwa, the House of Representatives candidate for Emohua/lkwerre
constituency was arrested and detained three days ago under similar
circumstances and without bail.
5. Mr. Monday Nyoneh, the Party Chairman of Tai Local Government Area was
arrested and detained without bail for trumped up charges of attempted murder.
6. Mr. I. Benjamin, the Ward 11 Chairman of Delga L.G.A. is also under detention
by the Police in Degema Local Government Area.
Information reaching us reveals that there is calculated attempt to truncate and
abort the flag-off of the Presidential Campaign Rally of ANPP in Rivers State.
Let us state it clearly now that we shall refuse to be harassed and intimidated
and we have more than enough capacity to ensure that Governor Peter Odili's plan
to frustrate the kick-off of the campaign is resisted. We do not regard as part
of our statutory function to take over the function of the Police. We can only
compliment their efforts in the area of protection of lives and property but we
do not lack the will and capacity to protect our supporters if the Police is
found to be failing in that aspect.
The Police should be seen to be fair and equitable in discharge of their
functions and not to dance to the whims and caprice of the State Government.
They should not be seen to be openly partisan as is the case in Rivers State.
Mr. Godwin Obielum the State Commander of Operation Fire for Fire who been
transferred severally but brought back with the influence of Odili's scheming is
at the head of the continuous harassment and intimidation of our supporters.
We want to also inform you that we have it on a credible note that the Peter
Odili's government of Rivers Slate has been buying Police and Army uniforms as
well as guns and ammunitions to equip their standing army of murderers for the
purpose of rigging the forth-coming elections.
We strongly urge you to advise the State government against these dangerous
developments so as to nip the consequences in the bud because we do not want Mr.
President to convert Rivers Stale into another Odi or Zaki-Ibiam which we
suspect he may do willingly if only to appease his "son" Dr. Peter Odili on his
We also urge you even if it is for the upteenth time to do everything possible
to prevent this ugly trend from degenerating into a disaster of immense
proportion. The misgovernance of Peter Odili is bad enough to have angered
Rivers indigenes thus far but arresting and intimidating them are likely to
worsen the situation. That is why we are alerting you to take preventive
''PDP is responsible for Marshall's death''
Statement By Chief Don Etiebet (Chairman, ANPP)
March 5, 2003
"It is well known country-wide that we in ANPP have planned to flag off our
presidential campaign in Port Harcourt on the 8th of March, 2003. To this end,
the party appointed Dr. Marshal Isokrari Harry, who was our South-South co-ordinator
as well as the ANPP presidential co-ordinator in the South-South, as the
Chairman of the ANPP Presidential Campaign Flag-off Ceremony in the South-South
in the city of Port Harcourt on Saturday.
My dear brothers and sisters I want to say that since that announcement of the
starting of our campaign programme, one road block or another has been placed on
our way. When we started to get the venue of the function in Port Harcourt, the
Liberation Stadium, in which the ruling party, PDP held their function not too
long ago, and paid N800,000.00 this facility was made inaccessible to us unless
the party (ANPP) paid N3.5 million as the fees and to deposit another N5 million
for purported amount of security and damages to the stadium.
When I heard of this outrageous demand from government of Rivers State, I
personally called on Dr. Peter Odili, the Executive Governor of Rivers State and
complained about this development. He told me he was going to look into it and
that he would call me back. Since then, he never called me back and I called
10,000 times, but he is never around. However, in order to secure the venue for
this very important event, the Chairman of the Planning Committee, Dr. Harry
Marshal himself made immediate payment of N7.5 million to secure the stadium.
The flow of intimidation and certain occurrences to ensure that our flag-off
campaign never took place in Port Harcourt, Dr. Harry took it upon himself to
make representation in a petition, dated 3rd March 2003, to the Commissioner of
Police in Port Harcourt complaining about the action of the government in Rivers
State to abort our presidential flag-off campaign ceremony. Copies of that
letter written by Dr. Harry dated the 3rd of March, 2003 were given to me
yesterday (Tuesday) by Harry himself when he visited us to brief us on the
Yesterday, Dr. Harry was with us in Abuja here to brief the party leaders on the
preparations for the flag-off ceremony. We met with Dr. Harry till 9.00 last
night and he went home. In fact one of our gubernatorial candidates, George
Moghalu went to him and had dinner with him till almost mid-night and discussed
a few things. I was therefore, very, very shocked when 6.00 a.m. this morning I
received a phone call that Dr. Harry had been shot in his house. Police was
called in and he was rushed by the police to the hospital, National Hospital,
Abuja, where he was pronounced dead.
Dr. Harry was a man who had given his time, his life and money to ensure the
growth of democracy in this country, to build a stable democratic culture for
all of us and for our children yet unborn. He was a man that exhibited
democratic principle. The killing of Dr. Harry is one assassination too much and
too many for us to bear. He chronicled the spate of attacks that had befallen
the party loyalists and members throughout the country. In recent times, many of
our party members have been harassed and assassinated. A few of such incidents
that came to mind immediately were in Rivers State itself, Monday Udo, a
stalwart of the ANPP was assassinated in his house in Port Harcourt and an
attempt was also made on Ogwu Ibolo, an elected ANPP local government chairman
in Rivers State.
Yesterday morning, the Deputy Chairman of the Flag-off Committee, Chief G. O. T.
Minimah's office, Port Harcourt was invaded by armed men in broad daylight and
when they didn't see him they wrote a note that their presence was the beginning
of what will befall him. We thought we have got democracy, where everybody is
safe and work for the betterment of this country but our dreams are being dashed
by the events of this present administration.
"Never in the history of this country through the civil war have we experienced
this kind of violence, threat to lives and properties and intimidation to
undermine our democracy."
Thursday, March 6, 2003
ASSASSINATION OF MARSHALL HARRY
How he was murdered
-Security Guard, Niece
By Auwalu S. Mu'azu, with agency report
Chief Marshall Harry, National Coordinator, South-South geopolitical zone of the
ANPP Presidential Campaign was murdered by unknown gunmen at his 28 Karaye
Close, Garki II, Abuja residence yesterday.
The ANPP chieftain was said to have been killed in the presence of his daughter
and his niece, Loliya Harry.
The only security guard in the house, Mr. Polini Aniya, said the assailants
numbering about five forced their way into the ANPP chieftain's residence at
about 3 a.m.
He said: "I was in my room by the gate side when I heard some movements in the
According to him, when he came out to confirm what was happening, the gunmen
caught up with him, flashed the lights of their torches on his face and tied him
up with a rope.
"They tore my bed sheet and tied me. They asked me to give them money and I told
them I don't have money. So they went to the Boys' Quarters."
At the Boys' Quarters, the security guard further revealed, the gunmen took
almost an hour struggling to force their way into the main building where Chief
Harry Marshall was sleeping in his bedroom.
Mr. Aniya said the assassins woke up everybody in the house from their sleep and
seized their mobile phones.
Although Aniya did not state specifically the number of people at the boys
quarters, he said the assassins also collected some money from those they found
The gunmen, the security guard further disclosed, forced their way into the main
building after they broke into the kitchen in the main building.
Immediately after wards, they (gunmen) began to ransack all the rooms on the
ground floor of the house even as Chief Harry's bedroom was upstairs.
While this was going on, Aniya said, one of the assassins climbed into the
ceiling roof and walked through it until he broke into the bedroom of Chief
Marshall Harry. He said that happened after they failed to break through the
The security guard further informed Daily Trust that when the gunmen broke into
the main house and were engaged in verbal brawl with Chief Harry's relations, he
(Chief Harry) came out of the balcony of his room and was shouting for help,
perhaps expecting his neighbours to come to their rescue.
Dr. Harry came out here (point at the balcony) and was shouting thieves,
thieves, assassins, they came to kill me. Isn't there anybody to help us," the
security guard added.
However, a few minutes after Marshall Harry got back to his room, one of the
five assassins who broke and climbed into the ceiling roof had gotten to the
ANPP chieftain's bedroom, "and we hear gun shots twice. That was all," Mr. Aniya
Dr. Harry's daughter, who was in his room when he was assassinated, is now in
hospital recieving treatment.
Also recounting her experience in the early hours of yesterday Miss. Loliya
Harry, a niece to Dr. Harry concurred with the security guard.
"I was in my room downstairs when they came and asked me to take them to Oga,
but I refused.
Then one of them slapped me," she said.
According to Loliya, Dr. Marshall who returned home on Tuesday night at about
9.00 p.m. was sleeping in the same room where his daughter also slept. That was
upstairs. The assassins got him right in there, she added.
According to another eye witness, as a result of the gunshot, Marshall Harry's
intestines were pulled out having been shot on the stomach by the assassins.
The suspected assassins, according both Aniya and Loliya took to their heels
when they heard the sound of an oncoming vehicle.
It was a vehicle of one of their neighbours who returned house at about 4 a.m.
The assassins were said to have fled through the residence's backdoor exit.
Both the gateman and Miss. Loliya said though they could not contact the police
while the suspected assassins were in the house, the police, however, arrived
the house after the killers had left.
It's shocking, say PDP, AD
By Reuben Yunana
The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said it recieved
with rude shock and disbelief, the gruesome murder of Marshall Harry.
A release signed by the national publicity secretary of the party, Barrister
Venatius Ikem, described it as an act capable of truncating our nascent
"Coming at this critical moment in our march to successful civilian transition,
a dastardly act capable of blowing sky-high the entire democratic exercise has
indeed been committed with the assassination of Dr. Marshall.
"This for sure is no happy moment in our national life. A threat to the life of
one of us is indeed a threat to the life of the entire political class," Ikem's
Describing the murder as bizarre and unfortunate, the party called on the
Inspector-General of Police to leave no stone unturned in urgently fishing out
and bringing to justice the killers of the top politician.
Also yesterday, Alliance for Democracy (AD) described the murder as despicable,
callous and barbaric.
Chairman, AD Northern caucus and deputy national publicity secretary, Dr. Manzo
Abubakar in an interview with Daily Trust described the murder as a crime not
against the ANPP but a crime against the country in its march towards nationhood
and enduring democracy.
"It is despicable, callous, barbaric and an ultimate madness. It is a throwback
to the pre-colonial period. He was killed by those who do not wish this country
He urged politicians to resist the temptation to see the contest for political
power as a do or die affair while calling on government to empower its security
agencies to apprehend the culprits.
He described the late Marshall as a frontline politician with a distinguished
public career who aggregated and articulated the aspirations of his people.
"Marshall loved his people. He lived for them," Dr. Manzo said.
Also speaking yesterday, PDP national chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh said the
assassination of Marshall has cast a doubt on the ability of the police to
protect lives and apprehend criminals.
Calling for more funds for the police, Ogbeh described the murder as a dangerous
signal in the country's effort to achieve a peaceful civilian to civilian
transition in May this year.
This is one assassination too many. The killers must be found and, together
with their sponsors, dealt with.
May Chief Harry Marshall's soul rest in peace [Amen].