OSPAC Vigilante Group And Ultimate Human Rights Violation (Jungle Justice)
A Call For Re-Training, Re-Orientation And Prosecution
The Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (IHRHL) received with shock, news of the death of Mr. Darlington Okachukwu of IPO COMMUNITY sometime in May, 2020.
Further information revealed that Mr. Darlington was sleeping in his father’s house at IPO (1) when men of the OSPAC VIGILANTE GROUP jammed his room door, dragged him out of his room and shot him to death.
Sometime early this year the Governor of River State said “I am very careful about Vigilante Groups in all the Local Government Areas because of what OSPAC is doing; they are now going beyond their boundaries”
IHRHL and informed Nigerians are very much aware that the Nigeria Police Force doesn’t have the power to kill any unarmed citizen who doesn’t pose any imminent danger to them. S. 4 of the Police Act states that the Police shall be employed for the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders, the preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property and the due enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are charged.
IHRHL is at a loss on how or where the informal security group (OSPAC) derived its power to kill any citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, without going through the Administration of Criminal Justice System that demands that suspects be arrested and handed over to the Nigeria Police Force in order for the formal security agency to charge the suspect to court in line with the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (As amended) that bestows on every Nigerian the right to be heard and the justification of innocence until proven guilty.
Jungle Justice is a major set-back in our society because innocent victims may suffer such uncivil, barbaric acts that are repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience. We witnessed here in Rivers State the unlawful, extra-judicial killing of the Aluu 4 and 1 of the Ikoku 5, which outraged the conscience of the moral and just people of Rivers State.
Recently, in a radio interview with Dayo of Nigeria Info 92.3, the P.R.O of the Nigeria Police Force (Rivers State Command) ordered the men of the informal security groups to conform to the command of the Inspector General of Police to submit their weapons to the police command. He further explained that such groups may be allowed to carry and use licensable weapons but will not be allowed to use prohibited weapons like Pump-Action, A.K 47 etc.
IHRHL is aware of the gains recorded by the Vigilante Groups especially, OSPAC in reducing the prevalent rate of kidnapping, armed robbery, cult violence etc. in the state. However, IHRHL is determined to promote and ensure the dignity of every human being in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Hence IHRHL calls for the arrest and prosecution of men of the Vigilante groups who have killed or harmed any unarmed citizen of Nigeria that was not an imminent lethal threat to them.
IHRHL calls on the Governor of Rivers State Chief Barr. Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike and the Nigeria Police Force to re-train and re-orient the men of the Vigilante Groups on the policing services they provide for rural-communities, the kinds of weapon they should use, how to engage criminals and unarmed suspects and the limits of their powers and operations.
IHRHL also demands that a memorandum of operation be drafted for such Vigilante Groups by the Nigeria Police Force, stating their relationship with the Police Command, their mode of operation, regulations and sanctions.
IHRHL and the good people of Rivers State shall hold the Government of Rivers State and The Nigeria Police Force responsible for any further dysfunctional attitude of the Vigilante Groups if they fail to properly organize them.
IHRHL, while commending the Vigilante Groups for their hard-work in complementing the efforts of the Nigeria Police Force and reducing insecurity and crime in the state, urges them to conform to the rule of law and regulations guiding their operation in-order to avoid public outcry that may lead to the scrapping off of the groups.