n 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. Abubabar, 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.
Full text of the statement:
UP-DATE ON ON-GOING INVESTIGATIONS ON ALUU KILLINGS
Rivers State: Murder of Four (4) Students of University of Port-Harcourt:
On 5th October, 2012 at about 0700Hrs, based on a distress call that some armed robbers were arrested at Omukiri-Aluu area in Ikwerre LGA, a patrol team of four Policemen from Isiokpo Divisional Police Headquarters was dispatched to the area, a distance of about 10kms. The Police on getting to the scene met a mob attack on four victims who were supposedly the suspected armed robbers. Attempt made by the Police Patrol Team to take over the suspects were met with stiff opposition from the mob who chased the team with stones.
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. The corpses were recovered by the Police who by then have been joined by members of the Joint Task Force (JTF). The victims were later identified to be students of University of Port
Harcourt. They are namely:
(i) Ugunna Obuzor- aged 18 Years; 200 Level
(ii) Lloyd Toku- aged 19 Years; 200 Level Civil
(iii)Tekena Elkanah- aged 20 Years, a Diploma
(iv)Chiadaka Odinga- aged 20 Years, 200 Level
Theatre Arts student.
The Police immediately launched an investigation leading to the arrest (based on information) of Alhaji Hassan Welewa, the Traditional Ruler of Omukiri Community, Aluu where the heinous incident took place and eighteen (18) others, some of who are members of the vigilante group of the community.
Intelligence report implicated Alhaji Hassan Welewa, as being the person who incited the mob to unleash terror on the victims. Further investigation conducted by the police indicates that four (4) suspects, namely: Felemo Solomon; Cynthia Chinwo; Ozioma Abajuo and Chigozie Samuel Evans have been closely linked to this barbarous act.
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. Although, Coxson has gone underground, Detectives are on his trail.
Investigation is ongoing with efforts being intensified to track down others who are involved in the incident. Those who are found culpable shall be prosecuted.
Meanwhile, massive deployment of Policemen has been made to the area, including detectives to assist the State Police Command. Normalcy has been restored in the area, while the situation in the area, especially in the University and other tertiary institutions are being closely monitored with a view to forestalling any untoward reactions.
Efforts are being intensified to establish the motive(s) behind this crime, arrest all who may be directly or indirectly connected with the crime and eventually bring all indicted persons to book.
I wish to use this medium to advice and appeal to Nigerians to see it as their civic obligation in the fight against crime and criminality, to assist security agencies in the discharge of their responsibility. Security is everybody’s responsibility and so, should not be abandoned in the hands of security agencies alone. The maximum cooperation of the public is needed to ensure that Nigeria is safe for all.
Nigerians are further reminded to avoid taking laws into their hands, as two wrongs can never make a right. More so, it is criminal and against the laws of the land and those that do so will surely be made to face the full wrath of the law.
In addition, the IGP appeals to citizens who might have information torching on this and other on-going Police investigation not to hesitate in turning over such information to the Nigeria Police Force.
May I assure Nigerians that the Police Force will do everything legitimate, within its capacity, to ensure that perpetrators of these dastardly acts at Aluu in Rivers State are identified and made to face the law.
IGP MOHAMMED D. ABUBAKAR, CFR, NPM, mni
INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA