By Jimitota Onoyume & Davies Iheamnachor
PORT HARCOURT—A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, yesterday, sentenced to death a Police Sergeant, Mr. Lucky Orji, and two others, David Ogbada and Ikechukwu Amadi alias Kapoon, for their roles in the murder of the four students of University of Port Harcourt, popularly known as the Aluu 4.
The court also discharged and acquitted four other accused persons in the case, namely Saviour Johnny, Abiodun Yusuf, Joshua Ekpe and Cyril Abang.
Recall that four students of UNIPORT, Ugonna Obuzor, Toku Lloyd, Tekena Elkannah and Chiadika Biringa, were murdered in a mob action at Aluu community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state on October 5, 2012.
Twelve accused persons were arraigned before the high court over the crime and, based on a report from the Director of Public Prosecutions, DPP, I. Otorubio, five of the suspects, including the traditional ruler of Umuokiri, Alhaji Hassan Welewa, were discharged and acquitted on January 27.
Seven of the suspects, Saviour Johnny, Lucky Orji, Ikechukwu Amadi, David Ogbada, Abiodun Yusuf, Joshua Ekpe and Cyril Abang were denied bail, while their trial lasted.
The trial judge, Justice Letam Nyordee, in the judgment, yesterday, noted that the prosecution counsel was able to prove the involvement of the three persons through video evidence presented to the court.
Justice Nyordee held that evidence against the first to third defendants were overwhelming and confirmed in the video evidence that they actively took part in the killing of the four students.
The court held that the statement of the fourth to seventh defendants justified their position that they were not involved in the murder, adding that it was corroborated by the video evidence of the prosecution counsel, which only captured the presence of the suspects at the scene.
The judge explained that the role played by the three convicted persons in the murder were unjustifiable, adding that their actions were intended to terminate the lives of the victims.
Making reference to Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 37, Vol. 2, Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999, the court sentenced the three to death for taking the lives of other persons unjustifiably.
Court faults security operatives
The court lashed out on security operatives for their failure to protect lives and upholding of law, regretting that the security personnel at the scene of the crime could not save the situation, and described it as the sorry state of the society.
He said no explanation will ever validate why the Joint Military Task Force, JTF, the Aluu Police Post, Isiopko Divisional Police Headquarters and C4I security outfit, which were present, could not mobilise to rescue the victims, whose allegation of robbery could not be proven during the unlawful mob action.
Justice Nyordee added that the decision of the court will serve as a deterrent to those who take human life without recourse to law, adding that human life should be protected.
Lloyd’s father reacts
Meanwhile, the father of one of the four murdered students, Mr. Toku Mike, who spoke to Vanguard, has hailed the judgment, saying it shows the children were not robbers, cultists or any other evil names they were called by the mob.
Mr. Toku’s son, Lloyd Toku, was a 19-year-old year two student of Civil Engineering at the time he was murdered alongside his three other friends.