HUMAN rights lawyers and some residents in Rivers State have decried the killing of three University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) students by Aluu villagers, a community near the campus in Obio/Akpor local government area of the state.
It was gathered that the villagers, yesterday, burnt alive the three students for allegedly stealing Blackberry mobile phones and laptops in an off-campus hostel of the institution.
A rights lawyer, Mr. Ikenna Durueke, decried the action of the villagers, saying it is wrong for them to have taken the laws into their hands.
He noted that the villagers should have reported the matter to the school’s authority, security agents or go to court instead of acting unlawfully.
The Guardian learnt that the villagers decided to take the laws into their hands to forestall repeat of such incident.
An eyewitness, Mr. Micheal Okon, who lives in Aluu, said the villagers brutalised the victims severely before putting tires on their necks and setting them ablaze.
Some students who spoke with The Guardian described the action as unconstitutional and wicked. They said theft of Blackberry phones and laptops was not reason enough to justify killing of the young men who may have perpetrated the act due to economic hardship.
They questioned why some key players who steal the country’s funds have not been brought to book.
The students urged President Jonathan not to sweep the matter under the carpet but ensure the villagers are taught a lesson.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ben Ugwuegbulam, has confirmed the incident. He, however, expressed doubt whether the young men were students of UNIPORT.
When contacted, spokesman for the university, William Wordi, said: “Right now, I am not in a position to confirm to you that the alleged victims were bona fide students of UNIPORT as is widely speculated.”
He added: “ The Dean of Student Affairs is working round the clock to establish their identities. The university will issue a statement once preliminary facts are laid on the table.”