The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed that they are investigating a case in which a vigilante in the OSPAC group fatally shot a man for making advances on his girlfriend.
Nwonyi Emeka, the state’s commissioner of police, warned against the excesses of vigilantes in the state while briefing reporters in Port Harcourt, noting that the police had classified the majority of members of the well-known vigilante group, the Onelga Security Peace Advisory Committee, or OSPAC, as criminals.
The State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department’s (SCIID) deputy commissioner, Victor Erivwede, claimed that the vigilante group frequently violates human rights.
In a statement, he said, “OSPAC started well but derailed when they began taking contracts from political leaders. If I have my way, I will tell the CP to review OSPAC as a vigilante group.
“Many of the OSPAC members are criminals. I have a case on my table where a vigilante member shot a man dead because the man spoke to his girlfriend.”
In the riot act he read to vigilantes across the state, CP Emeka acknowledged that “vigilante crime fighting in Rivers has come to stay. While we like their activities, we are concerned about their excesses.
“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 by beheading. Tyranny among vigilantes must be curtailed.
“They are not a force unit themselves. For instance, we have situations where they turn to debt collectors, flogging people. Your duty is to arrest and share information.
“You don’t have the power to detain and investigate. If a person is condemned by the court for hanging, and the person is shot, the person who shot him has committed murder.”
Chairmen of Omuma, Ikwerre, Etche, Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor local governments, traditional rulers, youth leaders, and vigilance groups were present on the occasion.