•Police took part in torture –Suspect
•UNN Alumni condemn killings
…Culprits must be brought to book –Presidency
From TONY JOHN, CANICE UZOUKWU, Port Harcourt and Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Rivers State Police Command, yesterday paraded 13 suspects including a traditional ruler and a young lady over their alleged involvement in the gruesome murder of four students of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), in Umuokiri community, Aluu, Rivers State.
Even though the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Indabuwa confirmed the arrest of two additional suspects, the kingpin of the gruesome act, Coxson Lelebari Lucky who raised the alarm that the victims were armed robbers, is still on the run. The parade was coming even as the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar, said that many suspects have been arrested over the killing of 42 polytechnic students in Mubi, Adamawa State, last Month.
Those Paraded yesterday were, Alhaji Hassan Welewa (traditional ruler), 59, Cynthia Chinwo, 24, Lawal Segun 28, Lucky Orji, 43, Ekpe Daniel, 30, George Nwadei, 30, and Gabriel Oche, 33. Others are Ozioma Abajuo, 23, Chigozie Evans Samuel, 22, Endurance Edet, 27, Uwem Sampson Akpabio, 30, David Chinasa Ugbaje, 30 and Ikechukwu Louis Amadi (aka Kapoon), 32 years old.
At the Command’s headquarters, Moscow Road, where the suspects were paraded, Indabuwa stated that although it was not the philosophy of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to parade suspects, it became pertinent to parade them because of the gruesome manner in which the victims were executed.
He said that the parade was sequel to a media briefing on Monday by the IGP, coupled with the recent arrest of two additional suspects, Ikechukwu (aka Kapoon) and David. The duo, he alleged, actively participated in the killing of Llyod Toku Mike(19), Chiadika Biringa (20), Tekena Elkanah (20), and Ugonna Obuzor (18).
“Nonetheless, the gruesome manner in which the crime was committed, coupled with the direct and glaring involvement of some of the suspects, and the interest generated by the heinous crime, left the public with no option than to parade them.”
The CP therefore declared that any other arrest made in connection with the case,would be made public, adding that investigations were continuing.
Meanwhile, only three out of the 13 suspects were allowed to speak to newsmen, not even the traditional ruler. One of the suspects whose identity was not disclosed for security reasons, told Daily Sun how one of the two policemen who visited the scene participated in torturing the victims. He however, exonerated his colleague who, according to him, pleaded with the mob to spare the the lives of the students.
His confession: “The crowd took the boys to No. 9, Royal Hill, Omuokiri, Aluu Road, where they (students) pointed at a room occupied by one Bright (now at large) from Ogoni. “Bright’s door was locked. He was my co-tenant. They beat the boys severally and very seriously.
“One of the policemen was pleading but the other one even joined in kicking one of the boys. After joining hands in beating the boys, the policeman said, ‘let the crowd handle them’.
“The crowd shouted they would not agree. I only participated by using my belt to flog the boys and I told the people who brought them to the house to take them away so that they would not kill them there. One of the boys was my customer at the campus. I am a cobbler. He was an Igbo boy,” he lamented.
According to Ikechukwu, a.k.a. Kapoon who lives on No. 9, Royal Hill, he was informed that the students were robbers.
“The boys were beaten mercilessly. Policemen came but they refused to hand them over to the Police. We resisted their killing in our compound. I was flogging both the crowd and the boys. I used a short stick on them.
Another suspect simply called Segun, from Ogun State, said he lives in Omuokiri but denied taking part in the beatings.
In Abuja yesterday, the IGP disclosed that several arrests have been made over the killing of 42 polytechnic students in Mubi, Adamawa State, adding that they would soon be charged to court.
Abubakar, who disclosed this during a meeting with bank executives also said that the suspects were undergoing interrogation to ascertain their level of involvement in the barbaric killings,. He appealed to Nigerians to exercise patience with the Police so that they could do a good job.
“One thing Nigerians should appreciate is that we just don’t make arrest and say because you have made an arrest, the people are killers. You must be able to interrogate; you must be able to investigate and get your facts and proponents of evidences, convincing enough, will be able to gain conviction in a court of law.”
“Even when you do that, they still remain and stand as suspects until they are convicted in a court of law, adding, “as soon as we conclude investigations, we shall brief you on that matter.”
In a related development, the leadership of the University of Nigeria (UNN), Nsukka, Alumni Association, has condemned the lynching of the undergraduates describing it as barbaric and cruelty of the most shameful sort.
Dr. Nwanne Chioke, National President of the association, expressed the feeling when he spoke to Daily Sun in Kano, and charged the authorities to fish out the perpetrators and save the parents of the victims and Nigerians, the trauma of the sad incident.
His words: “This is extremely barbaric and sad. I want to ask those who partook in, or supervised the killing of these boys, “Can you kill your child because he stole a phone?” He queried.
“Would you be happy if your own son is killed even if he had stolen a car?” This is a fundamental question that they should answer now,” he asked further.
…Culprits must be brought to book –Presidency
From AIDOGHIE PAULINUS, Abuja
The Presidency, yesterday, insisted that culprits arrested in connection with the killing of four students of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), must be brought to book. The undergraduates were allegedly murdered by natives of Omuokiri, in Aluu clan, Rivers State.
Speaking in Abuja while receiving the organizers and contestants for the Most Beautiful Girl in Abuja Beauty Pageant in his office, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Ali Gulak said President Goodluck Jonathan was working round-the-clock to see that the issue of insecurity is tackled.
Gulak regretted that most of the crises witnessed in the country were perpetrated by youths who were not gainfully employed.
He stated that the present administration had a robust plan for youths to tackle the spate of insecurity.
Gulak however, said Nigerian youths must volunteer information that could assist government to address the challenge. Describing as unacceptable, the manner in which some students engage in cultism, Gulak said the practice must be discouraged. “I will say right away that our problems are within us. Engaging in cultism is unacceptable. We must discourage that and I want to urge students that they shouldn’t allow themselves to be intimidated into joining that.
“Very soon, the arrested suspected killers of the students of Port Harcourt will be brought to book. Government will appreciate youths that really showcase their talents,” Gulak said.