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Rivers vigilante commander ‘caught with human parts’

The Rivers State Police Command says it has arrested the commander of a local vigilante group, Felix Nwaobakata, with two human skulls and other body…

The Rivers State Police Command says it has arrested the commander of a local vigilante group, Felix Nwaobakata, with two human skulls and other body parts at his hideout in Omoku, headquarters of Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Area of the state.

It also said its operatives in a clampdown on the excesses of vigilante groups operating in the state had arrested seven other members of the local security outfit for other crimes including murder.

Spokesperson for the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko, who disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday sent to journalists, said Nwaobakata, who is the Commander of the ‘ONELGA Security and Peace Advisory Committee’ codenamed OSPAC is 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 said 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 LGA, saying the outfit recently attacked a police division in Omoku and had 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 (OSPAC) in different parts of the State, predominantly in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA (ONELGA), as well as clashes with other Security Agencies by this Vigilante Group.

“On May 9th, 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 17th, 2023, 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 killed on May 1st, 2024, by the OSPAC on the allegation that they were kidnappers. Their motorcycles were confiscated, and their bodies were taken to the OSPAC Secretariat in Omoku and received by Felix Nwaobakata after residents lamented their criminal actions. The bodies of the brothers were not seen, and the investigation is ongoing.”

The statement further said on May 31, 2024, the Youths of Egbeda Community in Emuoha LGA staged a peaceful protest to Lubrik Construction Company (LCC) 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 ofillegality, excessive use of force, torture, fraudulent conversion of properties, and other varying forms of criminality by the OSPAC or any other vigilante outfit,” it added.

The CP said while recognizing the relevance and importance of these vigilante groups in the community policing system, with regards to information gathering and visibility, among others, the Command would keep engaging and synergizing with them on what is expected of them and their limitations.

“The rights of all as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended must be respected.  The Rivers State Command wants to reassure the public and all key stakeholders that it will continue to work within the ambit of the law and issue a stern warning to any individual or group who chooses to operate outside the scope of the law,” the statement added.

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