New Telegraph

Rivers CP Condemns Extrajudicial Killings, Excesses Of Vigilance Groups

The Rivers State Commissioner of Police, CP Nwonyi Emeka has warned vigilante groups in the state to desist from engaging in extra-judicial killings, illegal detention and torture of civilians.

The CP gave the warning at a meeting by stakeholders in council areas where they discussed ways to make vigilance groups more efficient in the communities they operate in line with the tenets of the law, especially the respect of rights of citizens that they interact with.

One of the instances cited at the meeting was the killing of a man by a vigilance group operative, on the grounds that the deceased was talking to his (vigilance group member’s) girlfriend.

The killing prompted the vigilance group member’s arrest by the State Criminal Investigations Intelligence Department, SCIID of Rivers Police Command and a meeting between police and other stakeholders on the excesses of vigilante groups in Rivers East Senatorial district.

The was attended by the CP, top police officers, the chairpersons of Omuma, Ikwerre, Etche, PortHarcourt, Obio-Akpor Local Government Areas, traditional rulers, youth leaders, and vigilance group members.

The CP said: “The role of vigilante in crime fighting in Rivers State has come to stay. While we like their activities, we condemn 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, and beheading people.

“Tyrannical activities of vigilantes must be curtailed. For instance, we have some situations where they turn to debt collectors and flog people. Your duty is to arrest and share information.

“You don’t have the power to detain and investigate people. If a person is not condemned by court for hanging and the person is shot the person who shot him has committed murder.”

He urged vigilance group members to work strictly within their mandates, adding that they must be monitored by the traditional rulers, the police and local government chairmen henceforth.

He said anybody arrested by any vigilante operative must be handed over to the Police.

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