Delta Police, Vigilante In War Of Words Over Members’ Arrest | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Delta Police, Vigilante In War Of Words Over Members’ Arrest

Posted: Mar 9, 2016 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Felix Igbekoyi

Vigilante in Delta State have drawn a battle line with the police authority for arresting and detaining their members.
They were said to have been arrested by the police at Issele Asagba over three weeks ago after a fight broke out near Iselle Azagba Mixed Secondary School.
Those arrested were Eziafa Nwotokpo, Dikeamaka Okonji, Sampson Uwandulu, and Ndubuisi Odum.

Hundreds of angry women in about 12 buses and tippers on Tuesday blocked the main gate into Delta State Government House for about four hours, demanding the release of the arrested men.

The vigilante group threatened to expose the dirty deals of the police and their negligence.

The women who defied the police and other security outfits at the gate, compelled them to lock the gates, chanting songs and brandishing placards bearing inscriptions like, “Youths are the future of tomorrow, release our youths now; we need our youths, husbands, fathers back, we seek their bail; release Iselle Azagba youths, they are our future, etc.

The women, who came from Iselle Azagba community, went about Asaba, first visiting the Delta State House of Assembly, State Headquarters of the Nigerian Police, before arriving Government House.

Sir Victor Isichei, one of the protesters and a vigilante member stated that three weeks ago, four youths of their community were apprehended by the police and locked away in prison without any offence, stating that they have been assisting the police to prevent crime but that the police came to pay them back with assault.

He threatened to mobilize other vigilante members in the state to pay back policemen in their own coin.
“They show that they won’t appreciate. We know their tricks and we shall make sure they cannot be smart all the time. They are just out to get credit in a wrong way by using our members through cheap popularity,’’ he lamented.

Ikemefuna Margaret, who led the protest, said that they, as women and mothers, would not fold their hands and watch as their sons whom they bore for nine months were held against their will for no crime and stood the risk of getting killed.

She also acknowledged that they were aware of the significance of the International Women’s Day, and chose the day to make their voices heard: “What kind of Women’s Day are they celebrating, when the fruits of our wombs are about to be wasted?” She asked angrily.

According to her: “We are from Iselle Azagba. Iselle Azagba and Utulu were fighting over a piece of farmland. For that land, four people were killed in a fight, while many were injured. The fight took place near Iselle Azagba Mixed Secondary School, and in order to keep security, the school principal invited the vigilante to restore order and security.’’

“Some police officers who were initially invited due to the fight, arrested those vigilante boys and took them to prison. For about three weeks now, they have not been released. What are their crimes? They even arrested the principal, but have released him but won’t release the vigilante.

“We are here because those boys they arrested are our sons, and our husbands. We will not fold our hands and wait until they die in police custody. They are innocent, and they must be released.

Corroborating, Mr Charles Aniagwu, Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, said “demonstrations and protests are the rights of every Nigerian,” but went ahead to explain that the police regulate the actions of vigilantes and that if the police arrested them, then it might mean there was no cordial relationship between the police and the vigilante.

He said the Police should charge the vigilante people arrested to court if they were suspected of committing any crime.
Police authorities were not ready to comment on the matter when contacted.