Says group being impersonated in Anambra
Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
The Anambra State Vigilante Group (AVG) has denied reports that its Ojoto community vigilante commander was responsible for the abduction and killing of Christian Oluchukwu Onah, a commercial motorcyclist in Ojoto, Idemili South, Anambra State.
Onah is a 25-year-old tricycle rider from Ovoko community, Igbo-Eze South LGA, Enugu State but resident in Oba, Idemili South LGA of the State.
The said commander alongside two others it was reported were recently apprehended for their alleged involvement in the murder of Onah and throwing his corpse into Mmili John Ojoto, a popular river on that side of the community.
Briefing journalists in Awka, the Anambra State capital on Saturday, the spokesperson of the group, Nweke Nweke, said AVG in the State can never involve itself in such a heinous act and even to the extent of dumping the body in a river.
“Anambra Vigilante Group can never and will never kill somebody and dump his body in a river. No AVG member has the right to fire at any person. We arrest and hand over to the police for prosecution,” he said.
Nweke said the commander has been the one who has over time assisted the Ojoto police in making Ojoto a peaceful area, noting that there can never be a way the same commander could engage in actions that will truncate the peace of the town.
According to him, the acts may have been perpetrated by criminals wielding guns and masquerading to be AVG in the state.
Nweke said the AVG in the state had previously cried out over-proliferation of armed groups parading themselves as vigilante groups.
He stated that various communities have been infiltrated by some people who carry pump action rifles but are not their members, and some of whom he said use them nefariously.
He said the group will henceforth arrest and prosecute those who impersonate them, warning those impersonating the local security outfit in all nooks and crannies of the state to make an urgent turnaround or face dire consequences.
He said: “It has become imperative to warn those who armpit pump action guns under the umbrella of AVG, but are not known to the state government to refrain from such activities with immediate effect.
“We call for urgent identification-cum-authentication of all vigilante men working across the state.
“It has become imperative, owing to the danger the operations of the non-recognised Pump Action Gun bearer(s) pose in tackling the insecurity in Anambra State.”
Speaking further, Nweke said the AVG has for a long time been a partner to secular security agencies in the fight against insecurity in the state. He also said they are mostly licensed to carry pump action rifles, as against the automatic rifles, wielded by conventional security agents.
He said the AVG has been very helpful in arresting criminals in various communities, but is always mandated to hand them over to police, upon arrest.
He called on authorities at Nigerian Civil Defense Corps to come in and identify those under their supervision and who are licensed to bear arms in the state.
He said a task force will soon be rolled out to go around and arrest any unidentified person carrying arms, but not affiliated with the Ministry of Homeland Security. According to him, such a person upon arrest will be handed over to the police for immediate prosecution.
Corroborating in a voice note that has gone viral on different social media platforms, the traditional ruler of Ojoto kingdom, HRM Igwe Gerald Mbamalu, urged the public to disregard information spreading that the AVG in Ojoto are kidnappers. He said the AVG in the area never kidnapped or killed any keke operator in his community.
He said the act may have been to blackmail the vigilante members so that the hoodlums will have their way in the community.