The Oliver Twist hitmaker paid tribute to Ugonna, Ilyod, Tekana and Chidiaka, who were stripped naked, severely beaten and burnt alive.

Afrobeats superstar D'banj has condemned the brutal killings of four Uniport (University of Port Harcourt) students in the Nigerian state of Omuokere Aluu.

The 32-year-old singer released a heartfelt message branding the murders of Ugonna, Ilyod, Tekana and Chidiaka, who were stripped naked, severely beaten and burnt alive after being accused of being thieves, as an "unspeakable tragedy".

"They were my brothers...and yours," he said.

"Four young men, all undergraduates, brimming with great dreams, unfulfilled aspirations and a promising future were killed. To express the depth of my pain and shock at their murder is impossible. And understanding how events could have degenerated to this level is truthfully beyond me."

The Oliver Twist hitmaker, who is also a UN Youth Ambassador for Peace, went on to say that the murders are "OUR collective loss" and describing the victims as "our colleagues, our classmates, our neighbours, our brothers... our friends."

He added: "We are NOT a nation of barbarians. We CAN follow due processes and procedures. We MUST fight together as ONE NATION to ensure that Justice as a whole is served, and as a PROCESS, is duly followed-ALWAYS.

"We can only try to make meaning of this senseless tragedy by ensuring that this WILL not happen again, by affirming that the pursuit of justice does not in any way entitle any of us to the willful elimination of other people's lives and by ensuring that we, as youths, do not destroy the honorable mantle placed on us as the future of our nation, by eliminating our present."

According to local reports, the students were accused of being members of a gang of armed robbers. Their lives were cut short on 5 October after they were hunted down by vigilantes for allegedly stealing BlackBerry phones and laptops.

A video of the incident, published on the internet, shows the lynch mob attacking the victims, before putting tyres on their necks and setting them ablaze.

As tensions continue to mount in the Rivers State capital, students of the University of Port Harcourt have also taken to the street in protests over the killings.

They have barricaded the busy East-West Road, carrying placards blaming the Federal Government for not putting adequate policing facilities in the institution.

Officials have confirmed that thirteen people have been arrested in connection with the murders, including an Aluu community chief.

Rivers State police spokesman Ben Ugwuegbulam said: "The Rivers State police command is strongly opposed to such barbaric conduct.

"The command sympathises with the families of the slain students and also appeals to them not to take the laws into their hands. Students of the university are urged not to engage in any reprisal attack as such could lead to chaos and anarchy."