Uniport Shut Down as Protests over Students’ Killings Spread

10 Oct 2012

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Governor Rotimi Amaechi

By Ernest Chinwo

Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, was on the boil Tuesday as students of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) protested the killing of four of their mates last Friday.

The protest forced the university authorities to order the closure of the institution indefinitely with a directive for students to vacate their hostels.

Also, 11 out of the 13 suspects arrested at Omuokiri Village of Aluu Community in connection with the murder were arraigned yesterday before the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt.

The students, under the auspices of the South-south and South-east zones of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), had barricaded the busy East-West Road, carrying placards, which blamed the Federal Government for not putting adequate facilities in the institution, a situation they said, led to the murder of the students.

The protest caused a massive traffic gridlock on the road, which leads to other South-south states.

NANS Treasurer of the zone, Iyere Onono, said the students would not leave the roads until they got assurances from either Rivers State Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, or the Federal Government that their grouses would be addressed.
He, however, expressed disappointment at the low turnout of students of UNIPORT, saying they had not shown enough concern over the death of their schoolmates.

The protest spread to Omuokiri Village where rampaging students burnt down not less than 12 houses. More houses would have been torched but for the arrival of the Joint Security Task Force (JTF).
The protesting students were also said to have tried to attack UNIPORT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Ajienka, before the arrival of men of the JTF.

Ajienka, who later addressed reporters on the murder, condemned the killing, stating that nobody has the right to engage in extra-judicial killing.

“Inasmuch as we condemn all forms of criminality, the authorities of the University of Port Harcourt wish to state in unequivocal terms that nobody has the right to engage in extra-judicial killing or resort to self-help, no matter the level of provocation,” he said.

Ajienka listed the names of victims as Biringa, Chiadika Lordson (Year two, Theatre Arts), Ugonna, Kelechi Obuzor (Year Two, Geology) and Mike, Lloyd Toku (Year Two, Civil Engineering).
He said the fourth victim, Tekena Erikena, was “yet to be formally identified as a student of the University of Port Harcourt.”

He said in honour of the murdered students, the university authorities, in consultation with the Students Union Government (SUG), had also suspended the Students Union Week indefinitely.

Confirming the closure of the university, the institution’s Public Relations Officer, Dr. Williams Wodi, said the authorities shut down the school to safeguard lives and property.
He said the authorities had also asked students to vacate the hostels, adding that the university would remain shut until normalcy returned to the area.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Thomas Etomi, said 11 of the suspects were arraigned to ensure that their human rights were not abused.

He told a delegation of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) led by its Executive Secretary, Prof. Bem Angwe, that the remaining two suspects were still assisting the police in their investigations.

He said the police were poised to ensure a speedy investigation and prosecution of all that were involved in the murder of the students.
Angwe said the NHRC had received petitions from across the world on the murder of the four students.

He condemned the murder and said the commission would hold a watching brief and follow the prosecution on the matter.
THISDAY gathered that the main actor in the murder of the students was arrested yesterday by men of the JTF.

A source said he was picked up in the community, stripped and marched round Omuokiri community by men of the JTF before being whisked away.

The university has declared seven days of mourning for the students.

Tags: Nigeria, Featured, News, Rotimi Amaechi, Aluu Community, University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT)

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  • I feel the pain and agony of the students of UNIPORT, they have a right to protest the barbaric act and evil done to the 4 UNIPORT students that were murdered without mercy. However, i appeal for calm and advise that they don’t take Laws into their hands. I believe justice will be done to this matter. The police and other security agencies should be allowed to do their job.

    From: anga sotonye

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • This is so, so sad indeed. The Bible has made it clear that the heart of man is desperately wicked...but I never would have thought in my lifetime that my own fellow Nigerians would engage in such a dastardly and barbaric act. The little i watched of the video of the killings made me throw up yet there were people watching this evil act while it was going on and did nothing even women!!! All those that engaged in this gruesome murder, are their hands clean? Before you judge another person, check yourself first. i don't condone any form of criminality but then no matter what those boys did, no one has the right to take their lives in such a carlous way. My heart goes to their respective families. I pray that God will grant them the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss and as for those that committed this act, i can only say that may God have mercy on us all...

    From: Betty

    Posted: 3 years ago

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