A Police Sergeant, Lucky Orji, and two others Ikechukwu Louis Amadi and David Chinasa Ogbada were yesterday sentenced to death by a Port Harcourt High Court, Presided over by Justice Nyordee.
The three who were found culpable for their involvement in the gruesome murder of four students of the University of Port Harcourt in Aluu village, Ikwerre Local Government Areain 2012 were on Monday sentenced to death by a Port Harcourt High Court, even as four others were discharged and acquitted.
The four others who were discharged and acquitted are Abiodun Yusuf, Joshua Ikpe, Abang Cyril and John Ayuwu who were jointly sued with the convicts in the eight-count suit of conspiracy to felony and murder.
The four students of UNIPORT were lynched in a mob-like fashion at Umokiri Aluu, a university community on October 5, 2012 for alleged stealing mobile handset phones and laptop.
They were Ugonna Obuzor (19), Tekena Elkanah (23), Lloyd Tokwu Mike (22), and Chiadika Biringa (23) even as unconfirmed sources claimed that the four slain students were all first sons of their various families.
In his judgment which lasted for over two hours, the presiding judge, Justice Nyordee said the confessional statement by the convicted persons, Lucky, Ikechukwu and David Ogbada aligned with the video evidence played in the court which pictured how they all played role in the murder of the four students, stressing that their offence is capital and liable to death sentence.
On the discharged and acquitted persons, Abiodun, Joshua, Cyril and John, Justice Nyordee said, the defendants in the evident made statements in manner which contradicted their confessional statement and the prosecution could not prove their direct involvement in the crime.
“The death of the victims is most condemnable,” he stated condemning the circumstances that led to their death at the early hours of that day.
Justice Nyordee stressing that the victims did not consider the insecurity situation in the area before they went out to demand for their money at a very late hour from one Bright who raised the alarm that led to their death and is currently at large.”
The judge noted that C4I, JTF and Aluu Police Post could not combine their intelligence to the rescue of the victims who were burnt to death, lamenting that “their (victims) death shows how cheap human life is even when complained.”
He added that the sentence should teach all men that human life should be respected as the utmost value of God’s the Creator.
Earlier, the counsels to the defendants pleaded that the court should tender justice with mercy and asked the court should reduce the punishment of the convict, following first convict’s status as a married man with two wives and father of many children.
But the submission was countered by the prosecution in the matter, the Director of the State Public Prosecution, I Otorubio, who urged the court to discountenance the submission by the defendants, saying that the punishment is clear is death with no option.
He said, “They should consider the victims that were killed, especially one of them who were the only son of his family.”
It would be recalled that 11 persons, including the Paramount Ruler of the community Alhaji, Hassan Welewa were being tried for the murder of the four youths.
Alhaji Welewa and four others were charged for negligence to wit Felony; they were discharged and acquitted in January, 2017.