by Stanley Azuakola
What role did the police play in the gruesome killing of the four young University of Port Harcourt undergraduates in Aluu on October 5? That’s been one question, the answer to which has been the subject of much speculations. Mohammed Abubakar, Nigeria’s top cop, has revealed the official police position on why the police were incapable of protecting the lives of the young boys.
In a statement which he 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:”, Abubakar said his men did not sanction the attacks, but were chased away with stones 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 IGP however said that the police were making efforts to arrest the culprits. He mentioned that after the incident, the Police immediately launched an investigation leading to the arrest of Alhaji Hassan Welewa, the traditional ruler of Omukiri Community, Aluu. Eighteen others, some of whom are members of the vigilante group of the community were also arrested.
“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 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.
Sadly, Coxson is still on the run, but Abubakar said that detectives are on his trail.
Abubakar also said that the police have 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.”