Saturday, April 24, 2021 2:26 pm
By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Nwanyanwu Promise, a staff of Rivers Ministry of Commerce of Rivers State has accused members of OSPAC Vigilance group operating in Mba community in Etche Local Government Area of torturing and illegally detaining him and his three colleagues for two days.
He said members of the vigilance group arrested and detained them over their refusal to pay an illegal fee otherwise known as ‘marching’ ground fees to them.
Speaking in an interview, Mr Promise disclosed that he and his colleagues were at the beat they were assigned to work in the community by Rivers State Ministry of Commerce and industry when some members of OSPAC came and demanded that they should pay ‘marching’ ground levy.
“Marching Ground” levy is an illegal levies extorted from people as a form of gratification before they are allowed to carry out any social or economic activity in the community by the vigilance group.
Mr Promise revealed that he and his colleagues refused to pay on the ground that the state Government had abolished the illegal levies.
He said on the day he was assaulted, he was informed that OSPAC had ‘arrested’ his colleagues and took them to their detention centre.
Promise said he went there to enquire what the issue was, but was also detained by the OSPAC members alongside his colleagues
He alleged that they were tortured for two days by members of the vigilance group.
He also alleged that they were released by the OSPAC members after paying 50,000 naira.
In the meantime, Mr Promise regretted the failure of the Okehi Police Division to either invite or arrest the OSPAC members over their illegal arrest and torture.
According to him, officers of Okehi Police Division have refused act on their complaints officially lodged with them.
Members of OSPAC in Mba community had not reacted to the allegation and neither has the State Police Command issued an official statement on the incident at the time of filing this report.
However, some local vigilance groups operating in various communities in state are always in the news over allegations of gross violations of human rights and maltreatment of local folks.
But Promise and his colleagues have appealed to Rivers Commissioner of Police, CP Friday Eboka, to ensure justice on the matter.