The Commissioner of Police, CP Nwonyi Emeka last Thursday read riot act to vigilante groups in the state.
CP Emeka warned vigilante group members against detention, torture of arrested persons. CP Emeka gave the warning during a stakeholders meeting with people of Rivers East senatorial district.
The CP said: The vigilante in crime fighting in Rivers State has come to stay. While we like their activities, we emphasize on their excess .We will not tolerate jungle justice from vigilantes. We cannot have a group of people to protect life and property, and the same people are the ones killing, beheading. .
“Tyrannical activities of vigilantes must be curtailed. They are not force unit themselves. For instance will have situation where they turn to debt collectors, flogging people. Your duty is to arrest and share information. You don’t have power to detain and investigate.
“If a person is condemned by court for hanging, and the person is shot the person who shot him has commited murder.
“Vigilantes maintain your mandate. Activities of Vigilance group must be monitored by the traditional rulers, Local Government Chairmen, DPOs in their domain. Any arrest made by the Vigilance group must be handed over to the Police”.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, (DCP) Victor Erivwede in/charge of State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) said “There are many human rights abuses by the Vigilance group. Vigilance group or OSPAC started well but started derailing when they began to take contracts from Political leaders. If I have my way I will tell the CP to review the OSPAC and Vigilance group. Some of the OSPAC are criminals”.
I have a case in my table where a vigilante member shot a man dead because the man spoke to his girlfriend.