Award-Winning Journalist, Jerry Needam Recounts Debacle With Assassins
DMOMA 2021 Journalist of the Year Award Winner and Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Sole Administrator of the Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA), Pastor Jerry Needam, has continued to relieve an ugly chapter in his life, an encounter with assassins whose spirited attempt to snuff the life out of him was foiled through God’s intervention.
The miraculous survival, which occurred at his Woji residence on the 22nd of December, 2015, has left a memory which he says, has been difficult to erase.
“I have made efforts to blot out December 22, 2015 from an old almanac hung in my office, where the date had been encircled, but to no avail. The more I tried to do so, the more I stuck with a tiny voice telling me that even if I succeeded in physically brushing off the date, the memory would still stick like the spots on a leopard.
“Even as I speak, I still see the goose pimples all over my body as the mental picture of my close shave with death regurgitates in my subconscious. But I believe that as nothing lasts forever, this picture would someday, evaporate, and may be, just maybe, replaced with a merrier and more fascinating experience”, he said.
Jerry Needam who is also Publisher of award-winning National Network newspaper, said the incident occurred in the early morning hours of Tuesday, December 22, 2015, during a foray of kidnap and assassination attempts which had ravaged parts of the Niger Delta at the time, but with God on his side, he escaped and cheated death by the whiskers!
Sadly, the Publisher who is also the pastor-in-charge of St. Luke’s Christ Army Church Nigeria, Kono, Khana Local Government Area, said that three gallant police officers, including an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) who had come to his rescue were not as lucky, as they lost their lives.
He said the incident happened right at his residence in Port Harcourt, with his entire family – wife and five children, during which scores of armed men engaged the Police in a fierce gun battle, leaving the compound, rooms and vehicles riddled with bullets.
Pastor Needam expressed his appreciation to his boss, and Sole Administrator of the Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA), Bro. Felix Obuah whom he described as a ‘big brother’ for coming to his rescue.
He also thanked staff of National Network newspaper, friends and well-wishers for their fervent prayers at that moment of travail.
“But for the timely intervention of my boss, Bro. Felix Obuah, which had been consistent, the trauma on my family would have been more devastating”, he said.
Pastor Jerry Needam also recalled that that Tuesday’s failed attempt on his life was, according to him, the third in a “highly organized, politically motivated plot on his life which has left him and his family refugees as he had to abandon his house and presently puts up in a rented apartment.
According to him, “The daredevil men stormed my residence in the wee hours of that Tuesday morning and shot sporadically to gain entrance into the compound.
“During the incident which lasted for over two hours, I put a distress call to the Police who promptly arrived my residence and engaged the gunmen in a fierce gun battle”.
He enjoined his brethren, friends, relations and associates to join him to thank God on daily basis, saying he had nothing else to do but render thanksgiving to the Almighty God.
“I literally get goosebumps each time I remember that fateful day. I believe that my life is a product of God’s abundant grace. My life ended on that day; what I am enjoying today is what I would call a bonus life, graciously gifted to me by the Almighty God. To Him be all the glory!”, he said.
Recalling that the incident also occurred at the time his boss, Bro. Felix Obuah was the State Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Jerry said he believed and still believes that the mastermind of the kidnap and assassination attempt were his ‘political opponents’ who desperately want him silenced following his strong political views and his penchant for the truth.
“I still extend my unreserved gratitude to the Rivers State Police Command for their prompt response to the distress call and their demonstration of professionalism in the encounter with the heavily armed assassins.
“Unquantified thanks also go to the church for their prayers for me and my family. I however, sympathize with the Police command and the families of the deceased policemen, praying that God would give them the fortitude to bear the loss of their beloved bread winners”, he said.