Tears flowed freely yesterday as remains of Lloyd Toku Mike, one of the four University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) students, who was brutally murdered in Omuokiri community, Aluu clan, Rivers State, on October 5, 2012, were buried in Port Harcourt City cemetery, opposite Free-Town Street, off Aggrey Road, Port.
Toku was a 200 level engineering student and first son of his parents, Mr. & Mrs. Toku Mike. His dad is an Assistant Director of Programmes, Rivers State Broadcasting Service. As early as 8am, mourners and sympathisers had started gathering in their residence at No. 29 Captain Amangala Street, Town, Port Harcourt. Some sympathisers, who wore black T-shirt with Lloyd’s picture on it, moved straight to mortuary, as they wanted to capture every bit of the action, while other waited patiently at the residence.
At exactly 9:59am, the ambulance, a Ford Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) with a Lagos registration number, BDG 485 AS, bearing the corpse, arrived the family house for the last time. “My baby is here,” the grieving mother muttered, as she touched the ambulance bearing the body of her cherished son. After about five minutes, the body was moved to the field, where an open church service was held, before the remains were taken to the Port Harcourt City Cemetery for internment.
After some soul-touching songs and choruses by members of Salvation Ministries, one of the pastors of the church, Promise Jeremiah, preached a sermon, taking his theme from Luke Chapter 16:22-30, which talked about a beggar and Lazarus. He said in life, people must belong to, either, Lazarus’ camp or beggar’s camp, heaven or devil’s camp. The pastor urged his listeners to repent and to turn to God, as they might not have another opportunity to make amends, when they die, just like the rich man, who among others pleaded that Lazarus be sent to his father’s house, to tell the members of his family to live righteous life. In his tribute, Mr. Toku Mike, regretted that his son never spoke to him for the last time before life was snuffed out of him.
He said: “Lloyd, you called and wished me happy birthday on Thursday, October 4, 2012. You promised you would come home on Friday, October 5, 2012 after lectures but you never did. Little did I know that your birthday wish was your goodbye to me, your mother, and your younger brother. “Lloyd, why, why and why did you abandon us the way and manner you did? Lloyd, we loved you so very much. Word alone can’t explain how much love we had and still have for you even in death.”
He said if money and tears were enough to bring him back to life, he and his wife wouldn’t have stopped crying, and would have gone extra mile to borrow without hesitation. Mr. Toku, who later spoke to Saturday Sun said he was sad that he would only be seeing the still picture of his beloved son, instead of seeing and speaking with him in person.
Most of the people who spoke on the occasion condemned the federal and Rivers State governments, for not sending representatives to the burial ceremony. They also urged the security agencies to fish out the suspected killers now at large. The students union leaders also condemned the authorities of University of Port Harcourt for not doing enough to ensure that the slain students get justice. As result of the tension and uncomplimentary remarks made against UNIPORT authorities, the representatives of the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Jospeh Ajienka, Professor Bellgam Henry, left the scene without making any comments or remarks. But in the burial programme, the condolences of the Vice Chancellor of University of Port Harcourt, sent to the Toku’s family on October 11, 2012, Professor Ajienka, was published. He described the circumstances leading to the gruesome murder of the students as unfortunate, regrettable and condemnable.
“The entire university community is yet to recover from the shock of that dastardly act. May I, on behalf of the Governing Council, Senate and student of the University of Port Harcourt deeply commiserate with you and your family on the sudden death of your son, Mike Toku,” he wrote. Also, in a condolence message, dated November 1, 2012, and signed by the commissioner, Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs. Joeba West, Rivers State government expressed shock over the death of Lloyd. West said as a student of Family Support Primary school, Lloyd was hardworking and promising.