By Ernest Chinwo, Adebiyi Adedapo and Chiemelie Ezeobi
Soldiers and policemen under the Joint Task Force have taken over security at Omuokiri Village of Aluu where four students of the University of Port Harcourt were killed by a mob last Friday.
This came as the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Wednesday decried recent serial killings of about 46 students of the Federal Polytechnic in Mubi, Adamawa State, and four students of the University of Port-Harcourt by villagers of Aluu community, describing both incidents as evidence of total system collapse.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mohammed Abubakar, has condemned the gruesome murder of the four students from the University of Port Harcourt.
Villagers and residents of the community had fled the community on Tuesday when the students, led by the South-south and South-east zones of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), went on rampage in the community in protest against the murder of their colleagues.
No fewer than 12 houses and 30 cars were destroyed in the protest, which was later brought under control by the JTF.
When THISDAY visited the university and the community yesterday morning, students were seen leaving the campus in droves, following the closure of the university and the consequent directive for them to vacate their hostels immediately.
UNIPORT’s Deputy Registrar, Information and Communication, Dr. Williams Wodi, had said Tuesday night that the school had been closed indefinitely, pointing out that the decision was to forestall further breakdown of law and order due to the students’ unrest.
At Omuokiri, five persons who were seen near the spot where the four students were killed were yesterday arrested by security operatives who had been deployed to the town to maintain law and order. They were handcuffed and driven off in two patrol vans.
A truck load of mobile policemen (MOPOL) were seen near the scene of the killings, while about 50 other heavily armed men of the JTF, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Department of State Security and policemen were seen moving round the town.
Some of the security operatives were spotted retrieving some items suspected to have been used on the students before they died, including motor tyres, sticks and stones, at a place called ‘burrow pit’ in Umuokiri, probably for forensic analysis.
Non-security men seen in the community were only those whose houses and cars were burnt by the protesting students on Tuesday.
Meanwhile THISDAY observed that some of the students, especially those from outside Rivers State had taken refuge with friends at Choba, one of the host communities of the university.
NBA President, Okey Wali (SAN), said this yesterday at a press conference preceding the inauguration of the NBA working group on strategic planning.
He also reiterated its support for the call for state police in the country, saying that the Nigerian police lacks adequate funding, training and intelligence gathering.
According to Wali, internal security was the biggest threats to national development, integration and progress of the nation.
He however disclosed that NBA was planning to organise a National Summit on Peace and Security in Nigeria, aimed at addressing the security challenges in the incessant security challenges rocking the country.
He stated further that the alarming state of insecurity in the country has led to a disregard for the sanctity of human life.
Wali urged security agencies to restore the confidence of Nigerians in their ability to protect lives and property of the citizenry.
“There is no disputing the fact that these show a total system failure, neither of this dastardly act took place in a time frame that the security agencies would not have arrived the scene and prevented the murders, if there had been timely intervention,” he said.
NBA charged the government should identify and prosecute the perpetrators of the inhuman acts and their collaborators to assuage the feelings of Nigerian’s.
“Nothing short of the identification and prosecution of the Mubi and Allu Killers and collaborators will assuage the feelings of Nigerian’s,” he added.
Abubakar pledged that the police would thoroughly investigate the matter and ensure that justice runs its full course.
Abubakar, who made this disclosure on arrival from Turkey to Lagos, however declined to reveal the actual number of persons that had been arrested in connection with the murder so far.
He said, “Even though I was not around then but I am aware of the situation and I was briefed on this even while in Turkey. We are on it and we have commenced investigation to the incident.
“The investigation would tell what exactly had happened, but I want to assure all Nigerians that we are doing our best to bring out the culprits of that very ugly incident.
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