BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
OMUOKIRI-ALUU, a bubbling university community was seemingly lifeless when Vanguard Features, VF, visited the place after the brutal murder of three students of the University of Port Harcourt and their friend in the early hours of Friday. See video of the killed students here. Be warned it is gory.
The foursome of Ugona Kelechi Obuzor, Biringa Chiadika Lordson, Mike Lloyd Toku and Tekena Erikena did not know death was lurking around the corner when they decided to sleep in their friend’s house at Omuokiri-Aluu Thursday.
Father of one of the students
According to the father of one of the students, Mr Mike Toku, a staff with the state owned Radio Rivers station, his son and three others spent Thursday night at their friends place in the community so they could track a friend who lives in the same community early enough before he leaves home. He said he gathered the friend they were to meet was indebted to one of them. This decision the four friends took cost them their lives.
VF gathered that five of them, including the owner of the apartment they slept, stormed the residence of the friend they were to see to demand money from him in the early hours of Saturday.
An argument ensued and in the process, according to another source, probably the owner of the money insisted he was to go with the laptop and phone of his debtor until his money was paid. This decision, apparently allegedly did not go down well with the debtor who reportedly raised alarm, branding the five friends thieves.
And before anybody could say Jack, the boys had been rounded up by community folks. One of the five, according to the source, escaped.
They were reportedly stripped naked and led by the irate youths to where they were finally clubbed to death. And their corpses set ablaze.
According to Mr Toku, the tragic killing took place around 7am. He said he got a call that his son was being clubbed to death and they rushed to the scene from their Captain Amangala residence in Port Harcourt Town.
He said they got there at about 9am to see smouldering the corpses. Continuing, he said his wife and two others assisted him to carry the corpses into an ambulance. Mr Mike said one of them was still looking like he had some degree of life but he was certified dead when they got to the hospital.
He appealed to government and security operatives to fish out killers of the students. “I want justice to prevail because the children were innocent. The community had no right to do what it did to them. I am appealing to government and the human rights community to stand on the side of parents of the victims to fight for justice on this issue if not it will continue in the community,” he said.
According to Mr Toku, he saw men of the Joint Task Force, JTF, when he got to the scene of the brutal murder trying to enforce law and order. He said he heard they had fired warning shots that made those around the scene of the incident to flee.
At press time, Omuokiri community had been deserted. When VF visited the area after the murder, some residents were seen relocating with some of their valuables. An Okada rider said most people fled the area for fear of arrest. He said the Police stormed the community after the killing.
The Police in a statement the following day confirmed that a Chief, Ahaji Hassan Walewa and 12 others had been arrested over the incident. The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ben Ugwuegbulam, who issued the statement said the Police would stop at nothing to unearth those behind the heinous crime.
The part of the community where the incident occurred is mostly inhabited by students of the University of Port Harcourt and workers. The area has modern buildings and hostels. It is about five minutes on a motor bike to any of the three campuses of the university in the area.
Some residents of the community who managed to offer comments to the VF on strict condition of anonymity said they had been witnessing incessant robberies within the last six months. A female student said the community was a no-go-area from 7pm at night.
According to some of the residents, they had occasions when robbers gang raped their victims after dispossessing them of their valuables. “They never cared if their victims were married.
“ They said the robbers would rape married women before their husbands. So there had been anger in the community against robbers,” one of the students quipped. It is not clear if this bottled-up anger was responsible for the extra- judicial killing of the students.
Seven days mourning
At press time, the authorities of the University of Port Harcourt had declared seven days mourning for the deceased students with flags flying at half mast all over the school.
Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Joseph Ajienka who briefed media men on the sad incident commiserated with families of the deceased. He said the university had identified three out of the four as their students.
He said Biringa Chiadika Lordson was a year two Theatre Arts student with matriculation number U2010/1805036; Ugonna Kelechi Obuzor, year two Geology, U2010/5565149 and Mike Lloyd Toku, year two Civil Engineer U2010/3010094.
The fourth person, Tekena Erikena, the VC said only did Basics Studies with the university. He said effort was still on to ascertain if he was finally admitted into any programme in the university at the end of the pre-degree class.
The VC, Prof Ajienka, who dismissed allegations in some quarters that students of the institution were planning to storm Aluu community for a reprisal attack said the university authorities would not in any way condone lawlessness and extra-judicial act. He further appealed to security operatives and government to fish out killers of the foursome.
Some students of the University who reacted to the brutal killing said those behind it went too far. They said they should have allowed the law run its course after they had apprehended the boys for whatever thing they alleged they did. None could say if the deceased were robbers but they said they had heard in some quarters that the killing could be cult- related.
According to one of the female students she was struggling to understand how those behind the killings would bluntly ignore explanations and appeals from the students on why they were at the spot they were apprehended. “So nobody among the irate youths chose to give the deceased hearing,” she queried.
Meantime, VF gathered that two of them, Ugonna and Llyod featured in an album that was released precisely on August 13 this year. VF gathered that the Ugonna’s music name was Tipsy, while Lloyd’s name was Big L.
Some of Ugonna’s pals on his twitter account @tipsy_tipsy lamented his death. They sang his praise as an upcoming rapper.
It was clear they were budding music stars, Doris McDaniels told VF while condemning the brutal murder. She spoke of the two as very responsible children from decent homes who would have nothing to do with robbery.
On his part, Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi has ordered security operatives to unearth killers of the students. While condemning the circumstance under which they were killed, he said the government would not tolerate such heinous crime.
The killing has continued to generate outcry all over. The task before the Police in the state is to fish out the killers of what has come to be known as the Aluu 4.