Sergeant, two others get death sentence for UNIPORT students killing
A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, yesterday sentenced a Police Sergeant, Mr. Lucky Orji; and two others, David Ogbada and Ikechukwu Amadi, aka Kapoon, to death for the murder of four students of the University of Port Harcourt.
The court discharged and acquitted four other suspects standing trial along with the convicts – Saviour Johnny, Abiodun Yusuf, Joshua Ekpe and Cyril Abang – for not being actively involved in the murder.
The four students of UNIPORT, Ugonna Obuzor, Toku Lloyd, Tekena Elkannah and Chiadika Biringa, were on October 5, 2012, murdered by a mob at Omuokiri village, Aluu community, in the Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Twelve suspects were earlier arraigned in the court, but based on the advice of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, one Otorubio and five others, including the traditional ruler of Umuokiri, Alhaji Hassan Welewa, were discharged on January 27, 2017.
But seven suspects – Saviour Johnny, Lucky Orji, Ikechukwu Amadi, David Ogbada, Abiodun Yusuf, Joshua Ekpe and Cyril Abang – were denied bail.
Justice Letam Nyordee, in his judgment on Monday, ruled that the prosecution had been able to substantiate its claims on the involvement of the three persons in the murder through the video evidence presented to the court.
Nyordee held that evidence given against the first, second and third defendants in the matter were overwhelming, noting that even their (three convicted persons) statements on the murder was not corroborated by the video evidence.
He held that the evidence of the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh defendants in the matter justified their position that they did not actively take part in the murder, explaining that their statement was supported by the video evidence of the prosecution counsel, which only captured the presence of the suspects at the scene of the murder.
Nyordee maintained that the role played by the three convicted persons in the murder of the students were unjustifiable, adding that their actions were intended to terminate the lives of the victims.
Referring to Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 37, Vol. 2, Law of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999, he convicted the first, second and third defendants and sentenced them to death.
Nyordee condemned the killing of the four students, saying the victims had great hope and future.
The trial judge lampooned security operatives for their failure to take their role of protection of lives seriously.
Nyordee said no explanation would ever be valid on why the Joint Military Task Force, the Aluu Police Post, Isiopko Police Division and C4I security outfit, which were present, could not rescue the victims, whose allegation of robbery could not be proven during the unlawful prosecution.
He added that the decision of the court would serve as a warning to people who engaged in jungle justice, adding that there was the need to protect human lives.