The people of Omuokiri-Aluu community in ObiaAkpo Local Government Area of Rivers state did not envisage the outcry that has continued to trail the brutal murder of four students of the University of Port Harcourt last week Friday in the community.
Those killed were Ugona Kelechi Obuzor, year two Geology; Biringa Chiadika Lordson, year two Theatre Arts; Mike Lloyd Toku, year two Civil Engineering, and Tekena Erikena.
The school authorities said the late Tekena registered for a certificate programme with the university days before his brutal murder. According to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Ajienka, the late Tekena had done a Basics programme with the university.
What led to their death
Different accounts of what could have caused their death have made the rounds since the brutal killing. The Police Commissioner, Mr. Ndabawa, while briefing the National Human Rights Commission at the Police headquarters, said the Police would do everything humanly possible to get to the root of the incident.
He said preliminary investigation showed that the boys were apprehended in the early hours of Thursday and kept till the time they were killed.
He said those who arrested them should have handed them over to the Police. Adding, he said no weapon was found on them, stressing that the traditional ruler of the community was reportedly aware of the arrest of the students.
The police boss acknowledged that the community where the boys were arrested had been notorious for crime and cult- related issues. He also said that though the boys were arrested in the early hours but it was not enough justification for the manner they were killed.
He said the Police would look at all ends of the incidents, also x-ray its role in the whole saga. According to him, the High Command of the Police would also want to establish if there was dereliction of duty on the part of its men in the area. “We have a police post in Aluu. If our men showed dereliction of duty, the IG will take it up,” he said.
The Police and security operatives have a major task to thoroughly investigate what informed the mob action. Some have said the boys were innocent but found themselves in Omuokiri Aluu at the wrong time. So they probably paid the price for the offense allegedly committed by others.
There are those who think that the killing would not be unconnected with cult-related issues. According to some students of the University of Port Harcourt, the boys were allegedly on ‘assignment’ to compel a member of their group to pay his dues.
The student sources said when the deceased students and their friend allegedly got to the one they went to meet he said he had no money. They then reportedly made attempt to go with his laptop and blackberry, an act that forced him to raise alarm, branding them thieves. In seconds, youths rounded them up.But some other students dismissed this as untrue. They said if the four had been cultists their group should have rushed to rescue them since the incident happened in the university community. “ There was enough time for rescue. Again those holding them had no weapon. A few of their men if they were cultists would come, shot into the air to rescue them. They were not cultists,” a security expert added.
A third view was that one of the students paid for accommodation which he never got at the time he was promised. After he had made alternative arrangement he tried getting his money back from the person he paid to. But all his efforts were fruitless.
He then enlisted three of his friends and one other person to accompany him to the community to demand for the money. They allegedly got to the debtor’s house in the early hours of the day. And an argument reportedly ensued when the debtor said he had no money.
The creditor, according to the sources, then insisted he was going to go with the debtor’s laptop and phone and would release them after he had paid his money. This allegedly did not go down well with the debtor whom the sources said immediately raised alarm branding the guys who came for the money as thieves. And in seconds they were rounded up.
The fifth person they reportedly brought to assist them recover the money allegedly had a gun unknown to them. He reportedly shot into the air to ward of arrest and escape leaving the four others behind.
What appears clear in all the angles that have been touted is that the foursomes were not robbers. And as usual with such situations, different versions would continue to make the rounds on why they were killed. It is left for security operatives to unravel the true story.
As it stands, speculations would continue to fly until the police come out with its findings on the true account of what led to their death.
Meantime, the National Human rights Commission, has called on the Police and other security operatives to unearth the truth on the issue and further ensure that those behind the callous murder were made to face the law.
Executive Secretary of the Commission, Prof Bem Angwe, said his Commission would monitor the court process to see that justice was done at the end of the day.
Describing the killing as barbaric, he said no reason could justify extra-judicial murder. He assured that his body would work with the Police and other allied agencies to see that all those that should be brought to book were made to answer for their roles in the heinous act.
He sympathized with parents and families of the victims, just as he enjoined students of the University of Port Harcourt not to take laws into their hands.
Condemnations have continued to trail the barbaric manner the foursome were murdered. No reason can truly justify the callous and heinous act.
In the judgement of many, the Police also have explanations to make on why they could not rescue the victims of the murder.
The time between when they were allegedly apprehended and when they were finally murdered, some said was enough for the Police to effectively act to save the lives of the foursome from the horrendous experience they went true before they gave up the ghosts.
“We want justice; we want justice”, were the words on the lips of all that had spoken to the Vanguard on this sad incident.
How the state and the Police go about it, time will tell
Meantime, the people of Aluu community have condemned the killing, urging government to fish out the killers. Keshi Benson who spoke for the community said the sad incident was not committed by indigenes of the community
According to him, the area where they were killed is inhabited by strangers.
The Police and other security operatives have assured that thorough investigation would be carried to unearth all details surrounding the brutal murder of the four.