The Police on Monday in Abuja confirmed that the four University of Port Harcourt students killed by a mob at Aluu, Rivers State, were not robbers.
A debtor who set them up masterminded their killings, the police rather said.
Four students, Ugunna Obuzor, (18), Lloyd Toku, (19), Tekena Elkanah, (20) and Chiadaka Odinga, (20) were lynched on October 5, 2012 by a mob.
The police named Coxson Lucky, alias Bright, as the mastermind behind the killings.
The Force also said it had arrested 21 other persons, among them Segun Lawal, Felemo Solomon; Cynthia Chinwo; Ozioma Abajuo and Chigozie Samuel Evans said to have played key roles in the killings.
Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, who said Lucky raised the alarm that resulted in the lynching of the students, however, assured that all those found culpable in the killings would be prosecuted.
The victims, Abubakar, who spoke through the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said had gone to the community that morning to demand money allegedly owed them by Lucky, who raised the alarm that they were armed robbers.
Although, Lucky, the police chief said, had gone underground, detectives were still on his trail.
He said, “Intelligence report implicated the traditional ruler of Omukiri community, Aluu, 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.”
The IG explained that the police patrol team sent to the scene of the lynching could not rescue the students from the mob as members of the team were pelted with stones.
He said, “Consequently, the patrol team called for reinforcements, but unfortunately, upon the arrival of the reinforcements, the alleged robbery suspects had been stoned and burnt to death, while the mob immediately took to their heels.
“Their corpses were recovered by the Police who by then had been joined by members of the Joint Task Force. The victims were later identified to be students of University of Port Harcourt.”
He said investigation was ongoing and efforts were being intensified to track down others who were involved in the incident.
Abubakar said he had deployed policemen in the area, including detectives to assist the State Police Command.
He said, “Normalcy has been restored, while the situation in the area, especially in the university and other tertiary institutions is being closely monitored with a view to forestalling any untoward reactions.”
He appealed to Nigerians to see it as their civic obligation to assist security agencies in the discharge of their responsibility.