Commissioner of Police Rivers State, CP Nwonyi Emeka, has warned Vigilante groups against the detention and torture of arrested persons.
CP Emeka issued the warning during a stakeholder meeting with the people of Rivers East senatorial district in Port Harcourt.
He explained that though Vigilante activities in crime fighting in Rivers State have come to stay, their excesses must be checked.
“We will not tolerate jungle justice from Vigilantes. We cannot have a group of people to protect life and property; the same people are killing and beheading.
“Tyrannical activities of vigilantes must be curtailed. They are not force units. For instance, we have situations where they turn to debt collectors, flogging people. Your duty is to arrest and share information. You do not have the power to detain and investigate.
“If the court condemns a person for hanging and the person is shot, the person who shot him has committed murder.
“Vigilantes should maintain their mandate. The traditional rulers, Police, and Local Government Chairmen must monitor the activities of the Vigilance group. 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 the 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 derailed when they began to take contracts from Political leaders. I will tell the CP to review the OSPAC and Vigilance group if I have my way. Many members of OSPAC are criminals”.
“I have a case on my table where a vigilante member shot a man dead because the man spoke to his girlfriend”.
Our correspondent reports that Chairmen of Omuma, Ikwerre, Etche, Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor LGAs, traditional rulers, Youth leaders, and Vigilante group members were all in attendance.