JUST IN: Police arrest Rivers vigilante commander with human skulls

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The Rivers State Police Command said its men have arrested the commander of a local vigilante group identified as Felix Nwaobakata with two human skulls and other parts at his hideout in Omoku, headquarters of Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Area of the state.

Also, the police said its operatives, in a clampdown on the excesses of vigilante groups operating in the state, arrested seven other members of the local security outfit for sundry crimes, including murder.

Spokesperson for the State Police Command, Grace Iringe-Koko, disclosed this in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, the state capital, on Wednesday

Iringe-Koko said Nwaobakata, who is the Commander of the ONELGA Security and Peace Advisory Committee codenamed OSPAC was a principal suspect in the murder of two brothers in Idu in Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni LGA of the state on May 1, 2024, on the allegations that they were kidnappers.

The statement noted the arrest of Nwaobakata and other OSPAC members followed numerous complaints about their operations in different parts of the state, especially in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LG, saying the operatives of the outfit recently attacked a police division in Omoku and clashed with other security agencies.

The statement read, “The Rivers State Police Command has commenced a clampdown on the excesses of vigilante groups operating within the state.

“This follows numerous complaints about the operations of the ONELGA Security and Peace Advisory Committee in different parts of the State, predominantly in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA, as well as clashes with other Security Agencies by this Vigilante Group.

“On May 9, 2024, Alhaji Usman Seleh, the Chairman of the Hausa Indigenous Group in ONELGA, reported that OSPAC had abducted a member of his group. He proceeded to report the matter to the police. Consequently, the police invited the ONELGA OSPAC Commander, Felix Nwaobakata, who refused to honour several invitations.

“Instead, the OSPAC outfit coordinated an attack on the police division in Omoku but the attack was thwarted as the police repelled them.

“Following this development, Tactical Units of the command stormed the ONELGA OSPAC Camp at Omoku and arrested Cheta Benjamin, Joshua Ekwosa, Innocent Ahiakwu, and four others.

“The ONELGA OSPAC Commander, Felix Nwaobakata, was subsequently arrested in his hideout in Omoku on June 17, 2024 where two human skulls and human bones were found in his possession.

“The arrested OSPAC Commander, Felix Nwaobakata, is also a principal suspect in the murder of two brothers, Collins Ugorji (32) and Newman Ugorji (39), of the Idu Community in ONELGA.”

The brothers were said to have been killed on May 1, 2024, by the OSPAC on the allegation that they were kidnappers.

Their motorcycles were reportedly confiscated, and their bodies taken to the OSPAC secretariat in Omoku.

In another related incident, the state police spokesperson said, “On May 3, 2024, the Youths of Egbeda Community in Emuoha LGA staged a peaceful protest to Lubrik Construction Company at Egbeda, and after being addressed by the Police, they dispersed but were ambushed by a group of OSPAC members led by the Egbeda OSPAC Commander, Friday Ogbuji, who shot and killed the Youth Leader, Innocent Didia.

“The Rivers State Police Command has made further arrests and will continue to investigate these cases and other related ones, which will then be charged to a Court of competent Jurisdiction.

“The Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Olatunji Disu has advised that any resident who has complaints of assault, extortion, or illegal detention should make a report at the nearest police station.

“The Rivers State Command is committed to carrying out its duty of protecting lives and property. It will not tolerate any act of illegality, excessive use of force, torture, fraudulent conversion of properties, and other varying forms of criminality by the OSPAC or any other vigilante outfit.”

Disu said that while recognising the relevance and importance of these vigilante groups in the community policing system, the command will keep engaging and synergising with these groups on what is expected of them and their limitations.

Punch

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