President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday met with members of the reconstituted National Security Council. The development came amid a manhunt for killers of four students of the University of Port Harcourt, which was shut down on Tuesday following violent protests by their colleagues.
The new Service Chiefs who attended the meeting for the first time were Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba and Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh.
Members of the Council include National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim and Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Onyeabo Azubuike Ihejirika. Other members include the Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar and Director General of the State Security Service (SSS), Mr. Ita Ekpeyong.
On his part, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar yesterday disclosed that the outfit has commenced investigation into last week’s gruesome murder of the four students for alleged theft, vowing that the culprits would be brought to justice.
He said already, arrests have been made but declined to reveal the number of people that have been arrested in connection with the murder so far.
Speaking to reporters on arrival from Turkey where he had gone to observe the security arrangement of the country and where he said no fewer than 4,000 Nigerians were in various prisons, Abubakar said: “I’m aware of the situation and I’ve been briefed on this even while in Turkey. We are on it and we have commenced investigation to the incident. The investigation would tell what exactly happened, but I want to assure all Nigerians that we are doing our best to bring out the culprits of that very ugly incident and we shall not under my administration and this government tolerate any barbaric act in this country.
“You will hear from me as soon as I get brief from the commissioner of police in that state and the zonal IG based on their documentations, then we will let you know. But I can assure you that investigation is on and I don’t want to give you the number of people who have been arrested so far.”
On his summon by the House of Representatives, Abubakar said he was yet to see the letter of summon, but explained that he would appear before the House on security issues in the country.
Meanwhile, soldiers have taken over Umuokiri community where the four undergraduates were set ablaze by the villagers.
On Tuesday, aggrieved students of the university went into the community and destroyed over 30 vehicles and set ablaze 10 houses.
A truck load of mobile policemen (MOPOL) were spotted at various locations near the scene of the incident, while over 50 heavily armed operatives of the Joint Task Force, (JTF) Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), State Security Service, SSS and policemen were seen moving round the community.
Some of the military men were seen evacuating the items used on the students before they died, including motor tyres, sticks and stones, at a place called ‘buropit’ in Umuokiri, maybe for forensic analysis
The university authorities had on Tuesday ordered the closure of the institution and immediate vacation of students from the hostels for fear of further attacks and break down of law and order.
A visit to Aluu community revealed that most students have left the campus and the villagers fled from their ancestral homes.
Spokesman of the University, Dr. William Wodi while confirming the closure of the institution, said the school had been closed indefinitely, pointing out that the decision was to forestall further breakdown of law and order, due to the students’ unrest.
Meanwhile, five persons who were seen near the spot where the four students were killed at Umuokiri, were yesterday arrested by the military operatives who had been deployed to the community.
Also, Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and a non-governmental organisation, the Neo-Black Movement (NBM) of Africa, have condemned the gruesome killing of the four students of UNIPORT and about 50 others at Federal Polytechnic, Mubi in Adamawa State recently.
The governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, described the murder of the students as “barbaric, wicked, unacceptable and reprehensible.”
NBM’s Head (Worldwide), Mr. Bemigho Eyeoyibo, spoke in a similar vein at the pan-Africanist group’s regional conference in the U.S.
They deplored the resort to jungle justice, maintaining that nobody has the right to take another person’s life under any guise.
They said the idea of people taking laws into their hands should be discouraged, adding that the laws of the country are enough to deal with any situation.
The duo called on security agencies in the country to do everything possible to fish out perpetrators of the dastardly acts and bring them to justice.