Dark October: the true story of the Aluu Four lynching

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Dark October is a Nigerian movie released on Netflix in February 2023. The film tries to shed light on the actual events that became famous in Nigeria as the “Aluu Four lynching”: the true story of a horrible case that occurred in October 2012, where four innocent young guys were killed by an angry mob that tortured them on the street, seeking private justice. The case created a big debate in Nigeria, and the media extensively discussed it. Let’s discover how things went.

You can watch Dark October on Netflix.

Dark October: the true story of the Aluu Four lynching

The Netflix movie Dark October is inspired by the true story of the Aluu Four lynching that occurred on October 5, 2012. The lynching costed the life of four young students of the University of Port Harcourt in Rivers State, Nigeria.

The four boys, Chiadika Biringa, Lloyd Toku Mike, Tekena Elkanah, and Ugonna Obuzor, were all friends. They were very close to each other and even produced some music together, as Chiadika’s mother revealed to CNN in this article from 2012. What happened is that Ugonna needed to collect a debt from Bright, who lived in Aluu, in the Obio-Akpor government area of Rivers State. He asked for help from his three friends, and they all went to Bright’s house, armed with several street weapons to scare the debtor.

During the confrontation, there was a fight, and Bright started screaming, accusing the group of four of being robbers who wanted to steal electronic devices from him. Unfortunately, things escalated quickly after that: a group of vigilantes in the nearby heard the screams and came, immediately judging the four guys guilty. They chased them on the street, caught them, and tortured them in public, beating them until they lost consciousness.

It was a real case of “jungle justice,” where an angry crowd takes over and applies the subjective perspective of justice without involving the authorities. Apparently, even the police weren’t able to stop the crowd, which went on with killing the boys through “necklacing”: a torture practice that consists in wrapping a car tire filled with petrol around someone’s neck, setting it on fire, and causing the death of the condemned.

Unfortunately, Vigilantes are pretty common in regions like Nigeria, where people feel that the police don’t do much to protect the population and apply justice. Knowing that asking the authority has a low chance of getting justice, the controversial practice of making justice privately takes place. Of course, this can lead to obvious cases of lousy judgment like the Aluu Four lynching, where four people were killed, although they hadn’t committed any crime that deserved those consequences.

The true story behind the movie Dark October became viral in 2012 because the death of those students was filmed in a video that became viral on the Internet. The case stimulated a public debate about the horrible consequences of mob justice and the causes that lead a community to develop such a kind of practice. Eric Guttschuss,  Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch., explained to CNN that “generally, in Nigeria, if you are the victim of a crime and you go to the police, you are asked to fund the criminal investigation. If you don’t have the money to fund it and meet the incessant bribe to the police the case is often dropped. On the other hand, the criminal suspect, if he or she has the financial means, can simply pay off the police. This is why these extrajudicial executions are still all too common across Nigeria.”

The investigations afterward resulted in the arrest of more than ten people. As Wikipedia states, three people were sentenced to death in 2017, including a police sergeant who participated, encouraging the lynching.

The story may not be well known to everybody in 2023: that’s why the movie Dark October became a way to refresh the awareness about the true story that occurred day, years before.

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