I shook my head in shame after reading the lame excuse by the Inspector General of Police as to why his men could not save the ‘Aluu4’ as they were lynched. Is this the type of police force the IG is heading? A force that is afraid of stones in the face of apparent threat to lives? Please read his statement below and draw your own conclusions.
In a statement issued today in Abuja, titled ‘Update ON ON-GOING INVESTIGATIONS ON ALUU KILLING: Rivers State: Murder of Four (4) Students of University of Port-Harcourt:’, the Inspector General of police explained that his men were chased away with stones by the mob attacking the boys. He said when a reinforced team of policemen returned to the scene, the boys had been killed and burnt by the mob.
“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 students killed were: Ugunna Obuzor- aged 18 Years; 200 Level Geology student; Lloyd Toku- aged 19 Years; 200 Level Civil Engineering student; Tekena Elkanah- aged 20 Years, a Diploma Technical student and Chiadaka Odinga- aged 20 Years, 200 Level Theatre Arts student.
The Inspector General’s statements only confirmed the criticisms by witnesses that the police simply abandoned the students to their fate when they got to the scene of lynching. A relation of one of the victims actually accused the police of encouraging the mob to kill the boys.
However, the IGP is not joining issues with critics but has gone on to outline the efforts the police are making to arrest the culprits.
Abubakar said 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 whom 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.
Abubakar said the police have in the meantime made a massive deployment of Policemen 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 touching 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.”