Residents Protest Alleged Shooting of Vigilance Group Commander, Others in Delta

Sylvester Idowu in Warri

 Leaders and residents of Idjerhe community in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State yesterday staged a peaceful protests against alleged shooting of the community’s commander of the vigilante and two of his operatives.

The protesters, comprising women, youths, community leaders and chiefs of Idjerhe kingdom, carried placards with different inscriptions, which read: ‘Police Stop Killing Our People’; ‘We Demand Justice For The Shooting Of Our Vigilante Commander and Others By Police’; ‘IG, Call Your Men To Order, Arrest Police Men Involved In Shooting Our Vigilante Commander and Two Others’, among others.

Addressing journalists and the protesters, Otota (spokesman) of Great Idjerhe kingdom, Chief Onosia James Obriki, alleged that some policemen arrived in Idjerhe on January 30 this year to terrorise the peaceful people of the community.

According to him, “On this fateful day, the police officers intimidated and harassed the Commander of the Idjerhe Kingdom’s vigilante outfit, Mr. Freeborn Ofeshohwo; Mr. Friday Johnson and Enor Young and other members. 

This is a man who has served this kingdom meritoriously for the last 10 years and not found wanting in any way of criminality or otherwise.”

According to him, “The policemen arrived in the town under the pretense of looking for drugs at the country home of the vigilante commander whereas there were no elements of drugs dealings as they alleged. If there were, they should have found some of these drugs after properly investigating the allegations before going ahead to engage in their extra-judicial shooting and maiming of our law-abiding sons of Idjerhe Kingdom.”

Chief Obriki revealed that the said policemen from the Delta State Police Command and reported at Jesse Town Police Station to book their arrival, claimed that they were in search of cultists, noting that they entered the kingdom in the middle of the night.

“However, their claim turned to be false and with a mission to harass and intimidate the vigilante commander on issues of drug dealings, as the primary aim of extorting money from him. If they had not come with the mission to extort money from our people, they should have opened up at the Jesse Town Police Station and inform the leadership of the police station that they have come for drugs related matters.

“It is very shameful that police officers on approved mission by their superior will come to make arrest and eventually abort the mission, by running away leaving behind their identity cards and cell phones after engaging in unwarranted behaviour,” he said.

The kingdom spokesman, therefore, urged the Inspector General of Police (IG) to properly investigate and arrest all the police officers involved in “this unprofessional misconduct.”

He noted that Idjerhe Kingdom’s leadership had consistently assisted the police to fight crimes, and that it was un-charitable for the police to pay them back in such manner, by shooting one of the arrow-heads of the kingdom’s fight against criminals.

Also, the Unuevworo of Idjerhe Central, Chief Solomon Ojariafe condemned the shooting of the vigilante commander and his operatives, noting that the community always cooperates with the security agencies in tackling criminalities in the area, and wondered why the police would resort to intimidation and shooting innocent citizens in the town.

Meanwhile, the President-General of Idjerhe Clan Development Union, Lucky Edomidaghan, yesterday disclosed that he community has spent a fortune treating the victims of the alleged shootings in a government health facility.

He said the community had petitioned the Delta State Police Command, but was yet to receive any response hence the protest to draw the attention of the IG and the police hierarchy to investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to book.

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