The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, has directed the Co-ordinator of the Commission’s South-South Zonal Office, Barrister Desmond Nduka Ezenwugo, to hold watching brief in the trial of the 11 suspects charged to court by the Police in connection with the gruesome murder of 4 persons at Umokiri-Aluu village, near the University of Port Harcourt.
Speaking while leading senior officials of the Commission for on-site investigation in Port Harcourt, Prof. Angwe said the Commission is empowered under the NHRC (Amendment) Act 2010, to intervene in matters before the law courts.
He said the speedy and fair trial of the suspects is necessary in order to assuage public outrage and restore confidence in the system. He condemned the gruesome murder as uncivilized, barbaric and said “nobody has the right to take another person’s life, no matter the circumstances”.
Prof. Angwe decried the late involvement of the Police in the matter and said the Commission and the Police authorities were investigating the circumstances for the delay in Police response.
He advised that suspected criminal activities should be promptly reported to law enforcement agencies, who can be held responsible if they fail to provide adequate response.
Speaking while receiving Prof. Angwe, the Acting Commissioner of Police (CP) of the State, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Rivers State, Thomas O. Etomi, disclosed that thirteen (13) suspects were arrested in connection with the incident. Eleven (11) suspects, he said, have been charged to court while the others are assisting the Police in further investigations. He described the incident as unfortunate and said the Police are looking for the alleged cult leader suspected to have instigated the incident.
DCP Etomi said the general public should report criminal activities promptly to the Police if such unfortunate acts of lawlessness are to be averted in the future.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Joseph Ajienka, confirmed that three of the four dead persons are students of the university.