A vigilante group in Port Harcourt, the Diobu Security Services, said operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the Rivers State Police Command arrested eight of its members illegally on Tuesday.
It claimed that among those arrested were the Chief Security Officer of the Rumu-Elechi Vigilantes, Godstime Ihunwo, along with his pregnant wife, Joy, who was later released around 11pm on Tuesday.
It was gathered that the action of the policemen followed a petition against the outfit headed by one Prince Amatari by a leader of a sister vigilante group over alleged illegal activities.
Acting on the petition, operatives of the Anti-kidnapping Unit of the state police command proceeded to arrest Amatari, but met his absence and fired some gunshots before going after their next target.
On arrival at the office of the vigilante group on Ikom Street, Mile 3, Port Harcourt, the policemen arrested Ihunwo, his pregnant wife and seven other members.
Amatari, who confirmed the arrest of the vigilantes to our correspondent on Wednesday, described the action of the policemen as misleading and unprofessional.
He alleged that the vigilantes were beaten, their base guard and other property destroyed, while unspecified amount of money was carted away by the policemen.
Amatari said the approach employed by the police without proper investigation or warrant of arrest was unfortunate, adding that such could embolden criminals to truncate the existing peace being enjoyed by Diobu residents.
He stated, “The Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the Rivers State Police Command’s invasion, beating, arrest and destruction of properties, buildings and base guard of the Diobu Security Service are misleading, unprofessional and a ploy by some notable criminals and cultists to destabilise the existing peace in Diobu.
“The Diobu Security Services is a profiled outfit duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission with registration number RC-16870971 and genuinely complementing the efforts of the police.”
He appealed to the state Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday, to order a proper investigation and ensure the immediate release of his men in police custody.
Amatari stated, “We are calling on the Commissioner of Police to caution the commander of the anti-kidnapping unit for the unprofessional conduct of his men and order the release of eight members of the Diobu Security Service in their custody. We also want the case transferred to another police unit for unbiased investigation.
“Also, we call for the immediate arrest and trial of every policemen who took part in that unprofessional act with the return of money and valuables taken away, as well as the repair of properties and the base guard destroyed by them.”
When contacted, the spokesman for the command, Nnamdi Omoni, said he had yet to get a report on the incident, but added that the police had the right to arrest anyone based on the receipt of a petition.
Omoni, however, promised to reach the Commander, Anti-Kidnapping Unit, and get back to our correspondent, but he had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.
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