SECURITY operatives continued the raid on Umuokiri-Aluu community for the second day running on Monday in search of members of the vigilance group accused of lynching four male undergraduate students of the University of Port Harcourt.
This is just as the university has declared seven days of mourning in honour of its students mobbed to death by the vigilance group in Aluu on Friday.
It will be recalled that men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) entered Umuokiri-Aluu on Sunday and arrested 13 suspects, including the traditional ruler who allegedly ordered the killing of the students accused of armed robbery.
Nigerian Tribune observed that the community has virtually been deserted as residents have continued to leave en masse in fear of rumoured reprisal by students of the University of Port Harcourt.
Shops and businesses were closed and very few people were seen along the street of the once busy community. None of the few remaining residents agreed to talk to journalists.
Meanwhile, authorities of the University of Port Harcourt have declared seven days of mourning in honour of three of the four victims of the Aluu mob action.
Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Joseph Ajienka, who disclosed this on Monday at a press briefing held on the Abuja campus of the university, also informed that the Student Union Week, which ought to start on Monday, has also been suspended.
According to him, the three students confirmed to be students of the university were Biringa Chiadika Lordson, year two Theatre Arts with matriculation number U2010/1805036, Ugonna Kelechi Obuzor, year two Geology, U2010/5565149 and Mike Lloyd Toku, year two Civil Engineering U2010/3010094.
He said the fourth person who was murdered alongside the other three was Tekena Erikena, adding that effort was still on to confirm if he was a student of the university.
Ajienka said though the school bears no responsibility for the security of students who live off campus, it would not tolerate the senseless killing of any of its students.
He said further that security had been beefed up within and outside the university campus to prevent a breakdown of law and order, adding that flags were being flown half mast in honour of the students.
Against speculations that the four students were armed robbers, Nigerian Tribune investigations gathered that the victims of jungle justice actually lived a life that was totally different from the cause of their untimely death.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that two of the four undergraduates were in fact event organisers and were very popular within the campus. It was gathered that two of the boys, Ugonna, a.k.a Tipsy, and Lloyd a.k.a Big L, were promising musicians who recently recorded a song entitled ‘Ain’t no love in the heart of the city.’ The song has been circulating all over the social media since their deaths and it was evident that they were stars in the making who were cut down in their prime.
Ugonna, from all indications, lived a comfortable life. Photos that emerged after his death showed that he lived a life of affluence as some pictures even suggested that he was widely travelled. One of the pictures released was reportedly taken in London.
Also, the pictures of the other undergraduates were not so different and it is surprising that they were branded as thieves who had stolen mobile phones and a laptop.
Anne, Takena (Tamunokena) Elkanah’s sister, was said to have witnessed the gruesome murder of her brother. It was reported in some media that she claimed that a police van was seen at a distance while the mob snuffed life out of the boys and that when she continued pleading with the mob to release her brother on the grounds that he was innocent, she was accused of being an accomplice of the gang. She said her family wanted justice for the killing of her only brother, saying he was innocent of the allegations levelled against him.
Investigations also revealed that Mr Onyema Biringa, father of one of the victims, Chidiaka, based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, was reported to be a top Senior Manager at the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
At the burial of his son, Chiadikobi, he told a relative that he had handed over the murderers to God.
One of the relatives, Okonkwo Queen, reacting to Chidiaka’s death, said “my eyes are filled with tears. My dear brother, may your soul rest in peace.”
Mr Toku Mike, Lloyd’s father, a broadcaster with Radio Rivers, denied the allegations that his son was a robber, saying his son was a decent young man, while he called on the police to investigate the killings and bring the perpetrators to book.