It is exactly one year ago today that the country was visited with certain horror. Four students of the University of Port Harcourt were killed in the most barbaric manner. It happened in the Rivers State’s Omuokiri village, Aluu, October 5, 2012. That incident shook the nation. The boys werez Tamuno-Itekenasam Elkanah, Ugonna Kelechi Obuzor, Lloyd Toku Mike and Chiadika Lordson Biringa. They were brutally murdered by a cheering crowd in a broad daylight. The manner of their death attracted public indignation and outright condemnation, both within and outside the country.
The students were said to have gone to the village to recover a debt, owed one of them. Another version of the story said the boys had gone to the village with dark intentions. The ‘debtor’, according to the first account, was said to have raised the alarm, which attracted the attention of members of a vigilance group. Members of the vigilance group allegedly arrested them, took them to the palace of the traditional ruler, Alhaji Hassan Welema, before they were paraded in the street naked. They were to be crudely tortured and then gruesomely murdered. Ironically, some policemen were allegedly part of the cheering number.
The four students, first sons of their respective parents, were said to be inseparable and brought together by fate. Two of them, Lloyd and Ugonna were already putting finishing touches to their music album, titled, “Heart of the City”, with a track, “Ain’t no love in the heart of the city,’’ before they were murdered.
One year after their murder, their parents, indeed, the whole word is still waiting for justice to be done. UNIPORT and Aluu community, too, are asking for justice. This is because of the bad image their murder created for the institution and Aluu community. The damage is unimaginable, according to both communities. For instance, after the incident, the impression created was that Aluu people are mindless murderers or that all Aluu citizens participated in the murderous act. And in an interview he once granted to Saturday Sun, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Joseph A. Ajienka, talked about how embarrassing it had been for the academic community.
Trial of accused persons
After the murder of the four students, some persons were arrested and arraigned in a court of law, while the case has been heard eight times – that is, between October 2012 and August 2013. It started in Port Harcourt Magistrate Court and is now at the High Court.
Eighteen persons have so far been arraigned in connection with the killing. October 17, 2012, 13 persons, including a 59-year-old traditional ruler, Alhaji Hassan Welema and a 24-year-old lady, Cynthia Chinwo, were arraigned before a Chief Magistrate’s Court. Others were ex-sergeant Lucky Orji, 43; Lawal Segun, 28; George Nwadei, 20; Ekpe Daniel, 30; Okoghiroh Endurance, 24; Gabriel Oche, 33; Ozioma Abajuo, 23; Endurance Edet, 27 and Ikechukwu Louis Amadi (aka Kapoon), 32. Also in the list were David Chinasa Ogboda, 30; Chigozie Evans Samuel, 22; T. Lucky Agburum and Abiodun Yusuf.
The accused persons faced a five-count charge, which included conspiracy and murder of the four victims. The offence is punishable under Sections 324 and 319 of the Criminal Code Cap 37 Volume III laws of Rivers State, 1999.
Source: Sun News