Port Harcourt - A Port Harcourt Magistrate court has transferred the murder case, involving a paramount ruler Hassan Welewa, police sergeant and nine others, to a High court for lack of jurisdiction.
The 11 suspects out of 18 were arrested for their alleged complicity in the murder of four University of Port Harcourt students in Oct. 18, 2012 in Aluu, Rivers.
The murdered students are Tekena Elkanah, Lloyd Toku Mike, Chiadika Biringa and Ugonna Obuzor.
The presiding Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Woke, on Thursday, said the transfer of the 11 suspects was based on the report of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
The report said that the offence of Hassan Welewa, Okoghiroh Endurance Ozioma Abajuo and Chigozie Evans Samuel was "neglect to prevent a felony", contrary to Section 515 of the Criminal Code, Cap. 37, Vol. 2, Laws of Rivers State (1999), and not murder.
"Your original case file will be retained to enable us file information with proof of evidence for the avoidance of doubt, against Lawal Segun, Ex-Sergeant Lucky Orji, Ikechukwu Louis Amadi, aka Kapoon, David Chinasa Ogbada, Abiodun Yusuf, Joshua Ekpe, Abang Cyril, Alhaji Hassan Welewa, Okoghiroh Endurance, Ozioma Abajuo and Chigozie Evans Samuel in the Port Harcourt High Court," Woke said.
The court discharged the seven other suspects, including a woman, based on the DPP’s report which described the suspects as "victims of circumstance, arrested on mere suspicion by the police".
The DPP’s report said that no prima facie case of murder contrary to Section 319 (1) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 37 Vol. 2, Laws of Rivers State, 1999, was disclosed against them.
"It is a trite law that suspicion no matter how strong cannot take place of legal proof without concrete evidence to substantiate it, and as such, they were victims of circumstance and, therefore, charging and prosecuting them will be an exercise in futility," the report said.
The discharged persons included, Cynthia Chinwo, George Nwadei, Ekpe Daniel, Gabriel Ochie and Endurance Edet (in the first charge), Lucky Agwurum (in the second charge) and Finebone Jeffrey, aka Soso (in the third charge).
The DPP report, however, charged the police to intensify efforts to arrest the five suspects still at large.