24th September, 2023
By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
One Mr. Okechukwu Onunwa has narrated how some operatives of the Campus Base unit of the Diobu vigilante group at Ikom Street, Port Harcourt, Rivers State tortured, Illegally detained him before freeing him after collecting money for bail.
Mr Onunwa, in an interview, said he was arrested on Thursday, September 21st, 2023, by operatives of Diobu Vigilante Campus Base at Ikom Street, Mile 3 Diobu, Port Harcourt over the allegation of stealing of motor battery.
He said he was taken to the office of the vigilante group to their base where he was chained and tortured with a hammer to accept that he stole the battery even when he never stole anything.
Mr Onunwa disclosed that he was detained for a day in the vigilante office while a Tecno phone and three thousand naira were collected from him.
The victim also alleged that the vigilante personnel told him to bring 10,000 naira as the cost of bailing himself and his seized phone after he was released.
He claimed that he met other people who had been chained and detained at the vigilante office for days when he was arrested.
He claimed he was arrested for telling a commercial sex worker that he had no connection to take her to Ghana in order for her to go and engage in the commercial sex business.
The victim called on the Commissioner of Police in Rivers and the State Government to look into the illegal activities of some vigilante groups in Port Harcourt.
It was gathered that Onunwa had reported the matter to the Nkpolu Police Division in Mile 3 Diobu.
Meanwhile, the civil society group, the Civil-Military Police and Para-Military Relations (CIMPARR) has condemned in the strongest terms the illegal detention, abuse of and extortion of Onunwa.
Green Isaac, the Coordinator of the group in Nigeria in a statement on Saturday 23rd, September, 2023 said such actions by any law enforcement or vigilante group are completely unacceptable and go against the principles of justice, rule of law, and respect for human rights.
He said the primary duty of any security agency is to protect the citizens without infringing on their fundamental rights.
Mr Isaac called on the appropriate authorities to launch a thorough investigation into this incident and ensure that those involved in the illegal detention, abuse, extortion, bail collection, and assault are held accountable for their actions.
The Rivers Police Command has not reacted to the incident.