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Outrage and arrests over the mob lynching of 4 students from the University of Port Harcourt
| October 08, 2012
Nigerians around the world continue to express outrage and dissgust over the murder of four students from the University of Port Harcourt (Uniport), who were accused of stealing mobile phones and laptops. The students were accused of stealing mobile phones, including BlackBerrys, and laptops at an off-campus hostel located in Aluu, next to the university, where a lot of students reside. The students who were 100 and 200 level students, studying Engineering and Theatre Arts, were paraded around the town by the residents, beaten unconscious and then had tyres placed around their necks and petrol poured on them to set them ablaze. The incident was captured on video and this has been circulating around the internet. Reacting to the news of the lynching, Rotimi Amaechi, the governor of Rivers state, called the mob action barbaric, sad and unfortunate. He also asked the security agencies in the state to ensure the immediate arrest and prosecution of people involved in the crime. Meanwhile, reporst state that the police have arrested community leader of Aluu, some members of his family and some students of the institution who live off campus. A Rivers State police spokesperson confirmed the arrest of 13 people and said, said: “The Rivers State police command unequivocally condemns the gruesome killing of four UNIPORT students on Friday by an irate mob from Aluu community. The command sympathises with the families of the slain students and also appeals to them not to take the laws into their hands. “Students of UNIPORT are urged not to engage in any reprisal, as such can lead to chaos and anarchy. The command has commenced diligent investigation into the ugly incident. Amazing success has been recorded in that regard, as 13 persons, including the chief of the community, suspected to have been involved in the reprehensible and barbaric act, have been arrested, based on credible intelligence and video clips of the killings. “The suspects are being interrogated by crack detectives from SCID (State Criminal Investigations Department). The Rivers police command is unwaveringly committed to protecting lives and property of Rivers people and will not rest on its oars, until the perpetrators of the horrendous act are not only arrested, but also brought to justice.” There have also been conflicting reports about what really happened. Some reports say that the students were cult members, who had gone to attack someone and when they were leaving, a girl saw them and started shouting and this alerted some members of the community who went after them. Another version states that they were not cultists but had gone to collect money from someone who had been owing them, and had to go early in order to meet the person at home, then they ran into the the vigilante group, who called them thieves and started beating them. A third version said they were cultists and had gone to Aluu village to ‘‘harrass’’ a rival cult member, but when they go there they didn’t meet him at home. So, they decided to wait in a nearby bush. Then the rival cult members went to the vigilante group to report that the students were armed robbers and had been terrorising the community for a while. Regardless, the outrage amongst Nigerians suggests that the mob should have handed the boys over to the police instead of taking the law into their own hands. On facebook and other forums that are popular with Nigerians, a lot of people continue to voiced their anger and disgust with one poster saying " What is the difference between this and the killing of 42 students in Mubi in Adamawa State? Jungle justice! Where are we headed in this place called Nigeria? Politicians are busy looting our common wealth and confining our generations to perpetual poverty and these are the ones we hail, idolise and make kings.” There have been reports that the residents of Aluu have been fleeing the community to avoid arrest by the police.

(1) Comment


"The views and opinions expressed in these comment(s) or article(s) do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of NGEX, its partners or its affiliates."
OMOTAYO, J. A.    Lagos, NIGERIA    October 08, 2012
I shall continue to pray that the souls of those killed find a peaceful rest and for God to console the families affected. Beyond that, I shall continue to hammer on the paucity of knowledge and high level of misinformation by educated Nigerians that remain as major components of our problems.

If the killings had occured in the North, the community leader arrested in Rivers State would have been named Boko Haram ring leader. Thank God the incident was down South-South. Since 1999, Nigeria and Nigerians have been placed on precipitous socio-economic trajectory. The result: Anger in the land and peace is volatile. God save Nigeria.
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