Leadership (Abuja)

18 November 2012

Nigeria: Uniport Four - Parents Still Waiting for Justice

On Friday, November 16, 2012, the remains of Lloyd Toku Mike was laid to rest at the Port Harcourt cemetery, after an open-air funeral service at the Number Six Field in Old Port Harcourt Town.

Lloyd, a year two civil engineering student of the University of Port Harcourt and three of his colleagues were gruesomely murdered on October 5, 2012 by members of a vigilante group at Umu-okiri-Aluu commuity in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.

Other victims were; Biringa Chiadika Lordson, year-two theatre arts; Ugonna Kelechi Obuzor, year-two geology and Tekena Elkanah, a diploma student of the university. They were killed following allegations that they were armed robbers.

Speaking at the funeral service, father of Lloyd who is an Assistant Director with the Rivers State Broadcasting Corporation, Mr. Toku Mike, expressed disappointment over the lynching of his son and his friends.

Mike said he did not expect such a thing in a community where students live, insisting that justice must be done.

He said; "I can't even imagine it in my wildest dream that such an incident can happen. Though justice is yet to be done, they have only arrested about 13 or 14 persons and charged them, to court. I would not say that I am satisfied with investigations yet, until we get to the root of the matter.

"What we are praying God is for justice to be done. It is not just apprehending or arresting those behind the killing of our children, but they (culprits) should also be brought to book. Let them, for all the pains they have brought to us (parents of slain students), feel they have erred."

Mike lamented that no official of the state or Federal Government has visited any of the families of the youths since the ugly incident occurred over a month ago.

The bereaved father said; "the state government has not visited us: It is sad that such a thing has happened and authorities like that did not come to visit the families of the bereaved. From the state government, nobody has shown up. We have not seen anybody.

"From the university; yes, the Vice chancellor sent a representative to pay us a condolence visit. But it is unfortunate that up till today, we have not heard from the state government. We also have not heard anything from the federal government."

To Lloyd's mother, the only thing that can assuage them is that "justice should not only be done, but must be seen to be done."

Mrs. Toku Mike who spoke in an emotion-laden voice, expressed happiness that the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, exonerated the four students from any criminal act.

She said; " I have an inner joy that the evil labels of being thieves and cultists put around her son and his friends were cleared by the Inspector-General of Police, who exonerated the innocent persons murdered when they went to recover debt from somebody who promised one of them accommodation, but wickedly raised alarm alleging they were thieves."

Also, the Ijaw National Congress (INC), the apex socio-cultural organization of the Ijaw nation where Lloyd and Tekena, where two of the victims come from, believe that only justice can heal the wounds, occasioned by the killing of the youths.

According to the INC publicity secretary, Mr. Victor Burubo, who was present at the funeral of Lloyd, the congress would neither support any move to avenge the students' death, nor fight, but that the organization watching the direction of on-going investigations by security operatives.

He stated that the body would also follow the trial of suspects arrested in connection with the murder, even as he lamented that Lloyd' s killers made a futile attempt to defame him, saying; "today, the truth is out that Lloyd and his friends were not thieves as they were labelled. He was better than them, so they killed him and defamed him to justify their actions."

Burubo who commiserated with parents of the deceased over the painful loss, however stressed the need for the family to move on and allow security agencies to do their work.

The INC spokesman said; "today, his body is laid to rest, it is painful, but we should all move on with life. We are not going to fight to avenge his death, but we are hoping that justice will be done. If justice is not done to heal the pains, we will take appropriate steps in accordance with the law."

As the parents and the leadership of the INC are demanding that justice should not just be done, but should be seen to be done, the onus now lies on security operatives and the judiciary to expedite action on the trial of all those arrested in connection with the extra-judicial killing of the four youths.

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