In a bizarre explanation of how four students of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) were lynched in Omukiri-Aluu area in Rivers State recently, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed D. Abubakar, today stated that when the armed policemen arrived at the active scene, they were prevented from saving the students by a mob which threw stones at them.
“Consequently, the Patrol Team called for reinforcements, but unfortunately, upon the arrival of the reinforcements, the alleged armed robbery suspects have been stoned and burnt to death, while the mob immediately took to their heels,” Mr. Abubakar said in a statement which he signed personally.
He said the police commenced an investigation in which they arrested the traditional ruler of Omukiri Community in Aluu, Alhaji Hassan Welewa, as he was found to have incited the mob to unleash terror on the victims.
“Findings have revealed that the victims had gone to the area where they met their unfortunate death earlier that morning to demand for money allegedly owed to them by Coxson Lelebori Lucky, alias ‘Bright’, who raised a false alarm that the victims were armed robbers.
Coxson has since gone underground, the IGP said, but detectives are looking for him. Mr. Abubakar also stated that 18 other people, most of them members of a local vigilante, have been arrested in connection with the murders. He specifically named Felemo Solomon; Cynthia Chinwo; Ozioma Abajuo and Chigozie Samuel Evans as having been “closely linked to this barbarous act.”
Mr. Abubakar did not explain how a heavily armed police patrol team was prevented from an active crime scene by people who only had stones. In the incident on October 5, the four students of UNIPORT, aged 18-20, were lynched and their bodies set on fire.
The IGP gave their names as Ugunna Obuzor, 18, 200 Level Geology student; Lloyd Toku, 19, 200 Level Civil Engineering student; Tekena Elkanah, 20, a Diploma Technical student; and Chiadaka Odinga, 20, 200 Level Theatre Arts student.