Wednesday, 5 October 2016

ALUU4 lynching four years on: Will there ever be justice?

It has been four years since the unfortunate killing of four undergraduates in Aluu community of Rivers State.

The families of the late students are still agonising over the slow pace at which justice is being served.

October 5, 2016, marks the fourth anniversary of the brutal murder of four undergraduates of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Ugonna Obuzor, Lloyd Toku Mike, Tekenah Elkanah and Chiadika Biringa.

The four, all friends, were murdered at Umuokiri, Aluu in Ikwerre local government area of Rivers State.

That fateful day, the news filtered in like a rumour and before long, it was confirmed that four families had lost their children, the lives of four young Nigerians had been cut short in their prime.

Painful as this incident was, four years down the line, the perpetrators of this heinous and barbaric act are yet to be brought to justice.

On the sad day in 2012, the undergraduates were brutally beaten and paraded round the community before they were finally burnt to death with an allegation of theft and later cultism. The video, which has been played as evidence before the trial court thrice showed how the boys begged for their lives all to no avail.

The suspects, Lawal Segun, ex-sergeant Lucky Orji, Ikechukwu Louis, a.k.a. Kapoon, David Chinasa Ogbada, Abiodun Yusufu, Joshua Ekpe, Abang Cyril, and John Ayuwu a.k.a. Johnny Babber, are charged on four counts under Section 319 (1) of the Criminal Code Cap 37, Vol 2, Laws of Rivers State, 1999.

Alhaji Hassan Welema, traditional ruler of the community, Okoghiroh Endurance, Ozioma Abajuo and Chigozie Evans Samuel are also charged with four counts of negligence for refusing to prevent by all reasonable means when felony “murder” was being committed under Section 515 of the Criminal Code Cap 37, Vol 2, Laws of Rivers State, 1999 and are currently on bail.

The trial judge at the Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Justice Letam Nyordee, had adjourned the matter to June 12, 2014, to rule on the admissibility of the statement of the 3rd accused person, after admitting the statement of the second accused person as exhibit on the last adjourned date before the strike embarked upon by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) on June 10, 2014.

The strike by the judicial workers led to the closure of courts in the state for almost one year, thus hindering the speedy trial of the suspects.

In June 2015, after the swearing in of a new administration in the state, the judicial workers suspended their strike and the courts were reopened.

Nothing has been heard of the trial resumption as  there were changes in the prosecuting teams as the lead prosecuting counsel and solicitor-general of the state, Mr. Rufus Godwins, was recently appointed the Head of Service of the state by Governor Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike.

Will there ever be justice for these young minds whose light were out during the day?

Read more about the young men here