Less than a year after the gruesome mob killing of four students of the University of Port Harcourt, which was caught on video, shook the nation to the marrows, a similar incident happened on Sunday in the Badagry area of Lagos State, involving yet another university undergraduate and also caught on video camera.
Ifechukwude Nwainokpor, a 25-year old final-year student of Geology and Mining of the Delta State University, Abraka and his friend simply identified as Kazeem were lynched by an irate mob in Ajara area of Badagry, a community not far from the Nwainokpor’s family home.
In the eight-minute video clip which was seen by this correspondent, the two victims were handcuffed together and covered in their own blood after being beaten to death with sticks. Tyres were also put round their necks.
An irate mob could be seen in the video, shouting, “die, die, burn them, burn them.”
At some points in the video, a policeman was seen interviewing the boys. He asked who sent them (victims) to rob the area, an accusation they denied. One of the hoodlums, holding a sharp object attempted to cut off the private part of one of the victims.
Nwainokpor could be seen pleading with the hoodlums and policemen to spare his life, saying he could identify himself if given a chance. His plea, however, fell on deaf ears.
Our correspondent, who visited the family of Nwainokpor on Tuesday, learnt that the lynching took place around 3pm on July 21, 2013 in Ajara area of Badagry, a community not far from Nwainokpor’s family home.
His father, Samuel, told this correspondent that his son was arrested while passing through a street in the area but a misunderstanding later ensued and the hoodlums pounced on him and Kazeem.
He said, “On that particular day, I was in Ghana when I received a telephone call that I should come immediately. My wife was in Delta State taking care of her mother.
“When I arrived two days later, my relatives and the caretaker of my house told me that my son was killed in the Ajara area along with his friend. I was devastated.
“I got my son a temporary job with a Customs licensed agent since their lecturers were on strike. He worked every day except on Sundays when he visited his friends. On that day, he went to see Kazeem and they were strolling around Ajara.”
Samuel said because there had been a robbery in Ajara four days earlier, some of the residents was on the lookout for strange faces.
He added that when the youth saw two unknown young men, they accosted them and an argument ensued.
He said the youth called the head of the vigilante group in the area, one Asiribo.
He said, “Asiribo came to the scene with a locally-made pistol and handcuffs. He handcuffed my son and his friend before asking them questions.
“Later, it was decided that the boys be taken to the Baale, Agano Oniyon of Agamade Ajara. But as they were going, Asiribo, while trying to return his gun into its pouch, mistakenly shot himself in the stomach and died.”
Samuel said Asiribo’s death infuriated the youth, who blamed the boys for his death.
“The mob picked up sticks and beat them to death. Policemen were there,” he said.
The retired immigration officer who was on the verge of tears added that the police treated the matter as a robbery case, while he declared that there was no way his son would have been involved in armed robbery.
He said, “I have been living in Badagry since 1982. I have only two children and Ifechukwude is the first. Ironically, he was born in that same area where he was killed.
“I have lived in this area without any trouble and the residents can tell you that my sons are good boys.”
Nwainokpor’s boss, Aloysius Onyenibedi, described him as an honest and hardworking person.
“I trusted him to the extent that I used to keep a lot of money with him. He was good to my children and was honest,” he said.
The Nwainokpor family berated the Divisional Police Officer, Badagry Police Station, Dankoli Mohammed, for the manner he treated the case.
Samuel said when he approached the DPO, he was told that his son was killed at midnight for armed robbery.
He said, “When the policemen came to take the corpses, guns were planted on them. Policemen at the station told the DPO that they were robbers. Their corpses were taken along with that Asiribo to Badagry General Hospital’s mortuary.
“The following morning, the DPO released Asiribo’s corpse for burial without investigation. My relatives went to the station and after showing the DPO the video, the matter was transferred to the Area K Command.
“At present, Asiribo’s son has fled, while the DPO has been unable to identify the policemen who were present at the scene when my son and his friend were killed.”
It was however learnt that through the video, some people had arrested one of the perpetrators. The suspect had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Yaba.
Also, the policemen attached to the Badagry Police Division, Lagos State have also been arrested.
The spokesperson for the state police command, Ngozi Braide, said, “The incident is quite pathetic. Even if they were armed robbers, no one has the right to take the life of another. Why then do we have the police and the judiciary? The Nigerian police as well as the law condemn mob action and jungle justice. The commissioner of police has set up a high- powered investigation body to investigate the matter.”