Wednesday, February 3, 2021 2:20 pm
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Controversial OSPAC vigilance groups operating across the communities in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State have been dissolved by Executive chairman of the Council, Tom Aliezi with immediate effect.
The dissolution of the vigilance group was contained in an announcement personally signed by Aliezi last night.
According to him, the action followed, “several reports of the unlawful activities of some bad eggs within the Vigilante groups, which is a complete deviation from the aims and objectives behind the establishment of the community vigilante groups in the area.
“The operations of members of the different vigilante groups across the local government are hereby suspended indefinitely.
“Security agencies have been directed to arrest and prosecute any person or persons operating in the area in the name of OSPAC or any other illegal community vigilante group,” the Council Chairman said while directing traditional rulers in the various communities to report anyone operating in the name of the vigilance group to relevant security agencies.
Activities of the vigilance group have been marred by allegations of abuse of human rights, unjustified killings, illegal detentions, abductions, rape and involvement in illegal oil bunkering among other abuses.
Reacting to the development, the Rivers Police Command Police Public Relations Officer, SP Nnamdi Omoni said the dissolution of OSPAC in Emohua LGA in particular was inevitable owing to series of human rights abuse ranging from extra judicial killings, defilement, rape, operation of illegal detention facility, collection of ‘bail’ money regularly leveled against members of the security out.
Omoni said, “Some of the notable reported atrocities of OSPAC in Emohua LGA in the last three months include: stripping of one Miss Comfort Eze naked, by OSPAC in Ovogo community for alleged stealing of cassava, shooting to death of one Mrs Abraham Victoria, a mother of five children by OSPAC in Rumukpe, defilement of a 13- year old girl by OSPAC in Obudioga, butchering of Gabriel Wisdom by OSPAC in Rumukpe, abduction of Goodluck Ekwe by OSPAC in Rumukpe, killing of Prince Chika Nedd by OSPAC in Obele, etc.”
The Police spokesman however said the Local Government Chairman must work in synergy with the Police and other relevant security agencies to disarm the defunct OSPAC members in order to retrieve the large amount of arms and ammunition in their possession.
He advised the Chairman to re-constitute another vigilance group, which will work within the confines of the law and under the supervision of the Police.
He further advised that the new vigilance group must have a structure that encourage holding leaders of the group accountable in a situation where a member of the group commits a crime and is nowhere to be found.
But he also acknowledged that OSPAC was instrumental in reduction of crimes in communities in Emohua Local Government Area, especially the eradication of hijack of passengers and vehicles and armed robbery.
He said this was because they were locals who understood the terrains very well: “When the first OSPAC in Emohua LGA known as Rundele, Odegu Security Planning and Advisory Committee (ROSPAC) came on board, their first assignment was destruction of 3 camps in Ndele, 2 in Rumukpe, 2 in Rumuodogo, 1 in Rumuakunde all in Emohua LGA which were used as operational base by kidnappers, cultists, armed robbers operating along Emohua section of the East West road.
“Subsequently OSPAC uprooted all the operational base of the kidnappers in communities in Emohua LGA in conjuction with the Police which made gang groups to be in disarray.
“I will advise the vigilante group be re-constituted in record time with well-defined operational guidelines and proper profiling by the Police.
“Reason is that aside ONELGA and Ogoni speaking LGAs, Emohua is one of the LGAs that is notorious for cultism and violent crimes in recent times.”