Thursday, 11 October 2012

UNIPORT killings: Community counts losses after students’ rampage

The people of Omuokiri Aluu Community have begun to count their losses barely 24 hours after students from the University of Port Harcourt embarked on reprisals to avenge the killings of their colleagues.
The angry students had on Tuesday stormed the community, burnt some houses, cars and other property over the torture and murder of the students on Friday.


Four undergraduates of UNIPORT were lynched by a mob comprising members of the community for allegedly stealing laptop computer and a BlackBerry phone.
The students were Biringa Chiadika of the Theatre Arts Department; Ugonna Obuzor of Geology Department, Mike Toku Llyod of Civil Engineering Department and Tekena Elkena.

When our correspondent visited the community on Wednesday, few of the indigenes were seen bemoaning their losses.

One of the leaders of the community, Sunday Ahanonu, said he had lost all he laboured for to the students’ reprisals.

Ahanonu, whose house was torched by the students, expressed shock that security agents could not stop the rampaging students when they stormed the community.

Sixty-five-year-old Ahanonu and father of 15 children, worked at UNIPORT for 35 years before he retired.
He appealed to the state government and the management of the university to compensate him for the destruction of his property, adding that he and members of his family were not involved in the killings of the students.

Ahanonu said, “I am a retired civil servant. I worked with UNIPORT for 35. But all I have achieved for many years have been destroyed by students from the university. I don’t know where my family and I will lay our heads when my only house has been burnt.

“I lost the sum of N850,000 cash, which I kept in my house. I could not take the money to the bank because I was not feeling okay and went to the hospital. It was at the hospital that I learnt that my house was burnt by the students.”

Also, a woman, who identified herself as Pauline Nwakwo, told our correspondent that she left the village when she learnt that security agents had embarked on mass arrest, but came back to notice that her bar had been burgled.
According to her, the rampaging students forcibly entered her bar and carried away her deep freezer and drinks.

She said, “As a woman, I had to run away when we noticed that the police were embarking on mass arrest. The students broke the door to my bar and took away a deep freezer I bought for N66,000. I want government to pay me back all I have lost.
“The students were killed far from here at the Burrow pit. We don’t know anything about the killings of the students.”

Indigenes of the community were also seen leaving their homes in droves to other places in order to avoid being attacked by the students.

One of them, who gave her name as Comfort, said she was relocating her children to Elele in Rivers State and would only return to Omuokiri Aluu whenever normalcy returns.
An artisan, Mr. Wisdom Ajuwon, who repairs home appliances along the Omuokiri Aluu Road, said he lost property worth about N500,000 to the riotous students.
Showing a list of what he lost to the fire ignited by students, Ajuwon also appealed to the state government to come to his aid.

A cleric in the area, Pastor John Paul, described the situation in the community as terrible, adding that people were running out of their homes like refugees.

Source: Punch

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