University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) students yesterday stayed put on the campus, vowing to burn more houses of the suspected killers of their colleagues in nearby Aluu community.
Yesterday, soldiers and policemen were deployed in the community. The four lynched students are: Biringa Chiadika Lordson, Year Two, Theatre Arts, U2010/1805036; Ugonna Kelechi Obuzor, Year Two, Geology, U2010/5565149 and Mike Lloyd Toku, Year Two, Civil Engineering, U2010/3010094.
The fourth person, Tekena Erikena, who earlier did Basic Studies at UNIPORT, was yet to be formally identified as a student of the university.
Inspector General of Police Mohammed Abubakar vowed yesterday that the police will investigate the killings.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) urged the government to prosecute the suspects without delay.
The soldiers and policemen barricaded the roads, checking the few people and vehicles passing. The community has been deserted by the residents, especially the vigilance members, who allegedly killed the young men.
The spokesman of the 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Bori Camp, Port Harcourt, Major Michael Etete, described the heavy deployment of soldiers and other security personnel as one of the proactive measures taken by the security agencies to quickly restore normalcy to the area.
Rivers police spokesman Ben Ugwuegbulam, said the security men were there to protect lives and property of law-abiding citizens.
Some students in the Faculty of Education, who were still on the campus, wondered why they would be forced out of their hostels, while protesting to ensure justice.
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Rivers State chapter, called for the sack of the Police
Commissioner, Mohammed Indabawa; Ugwuegbulam and the area’s Divisional Police Officer (DPO) for alleged dereliction of duties.
The online video clip of the murder showed that it took some hours before the four students were murdered. They were paraded naked round the community, before being clubbed to death. All of them did not die at the same time.
When the mob was sure that all the four students, who were alleged to have stolen mobile phones and laptops, were dead, they put tyres on their necks and took time to drench them with petrol and set them ablaze.
“We are also worried by the refusal of ordinary Nigerians to be their brothers’ keepers in times of need. We note that the UNIPORT Four would not have died, if some of those who witnessed the sad event made genuine efforts to save their lives by reaching the police, other security agencies or even radio stations.”
Inspector General of Police Abubakar who spoke in Lagos on his way from Turkey, said: “I am aware of the situation. I have been briefed on it even while in Turkey, we are on it, we are commencing investigation; the investigation will tell what exactly has happened. I want to assure all Nigerians that we are doing our best to bring out all the culprits of that very ugly incident and we shall not, under my administration, and this government will not tolerate any such barbaric act in this country and you will hear from me as soon as I get the brief from the commissioner of police and the AIG.”
He added: “Investigation is on. I don’t want to give you the number of persons that have been arrested.”
On the killing of students in Mubi, Adamawa State, Abubakar said:” It is still under investigation too. We are making progress and I will say that we are making very good progress on that and you will hear from me soon.”
He also spoke on the activities of vigilance groups, saying:” No vigilance group is supposed to operate directly, except under the administration and operational control of the police and
any vigilance group that is not so registered and which will not comply with the rules and regulations is operating illegally.”
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) yesterday called for the prosecution of the killers of the students. Its President, Okey Wali (SAN), spoke at the inauguration of the NBA working group on strategic planning in Abuja. “There is no disputing the fact that these show a total system failure. Neither of these dastardly acts took place in a time frame that the security agencies would not have arrived at the scenes and prevented the murders, if there had been timely intervention,” he said.
“Wali urge the government to intensify efforts to identify and prosecute the perpetrators of the inhuman acts and their collaborators to serve as deterrent.
“Nothing short of the identification and prosecution of the Mubi and Aluu Killers and collaborators will assuage the feelings of Nigerians,” he added.