After four years of tension, anxiety and court trial, justice finally came for the four students of the University of Port Harcourt, UNIPORT, who were brutally killed in Aluu community, Ikwere Local Government Area of Rivers State, in October 2012.
A Rivers State High Court, Port Harcourt, on Monday sentenced three persons, including a police sergeant, to death for the murder of the students.
The court found the police sergeant, Lucky Orji, David Ogbada and Ikechukwu Amadi (aka Kapoon) guilty of the murder of the UNIPORT students – Ugonna Obuzor, Toku Lloyd, Tekena Elkannah, and Chiadika Biringa – who were stripped naked, stoned and burnt to death by a mob, after they were falsely accused of being robbers.
The judge, Letam Nyordee, said the prosecution counsel was able to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the three persons were involved in the murder.
Justice Nyordee said the video evidence provided by the prosecution was an overwhelming proof that the three were actively involved in the murder of the students.
He said that the convicted persons violated Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 37, Vol. 2, Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.
The judge said the killing of the four UNIPORT students were unjustifiable and condemnable, adding that the victims were the hope and future of their families.
He criticised the police and other security agencies for their failures to protect the lives of Nigerian citizens.
The judge said it was unacceptable that the Joint Military Task Force, JTF, Aluu Police Post, and the Isiopko Divisional Police Headquarters couldn’t mobilise to rescue the victims.
The court judgment, the judge said, would serve as a deterrent to others who don’t have respect for human life.
Twelve suspects were initially arraigned before the court for the murder.
Five of the suspects, including the traditional ruler of Umuokiri, Hassan Welewa, were discharged and acquitted in January this year, based on the report of the state Director of Public Prosecution, DPP.
The court ruled that four of the defendants – Saviour Johnny, Abiodun Yusuf, Joshua Ekpe and Cyril Abang – were able to prove their innocence in the case.