Rivers vigilante arrested for allegedly killing NAF officer

An officer of the Nigerian Air Force was allegedly shot and killed by a member of the OSPAC vigilante group during an argument in the Omuanwa community, Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.

According to Punch, the police said the vigilante member, Progress Amecheta, suspected to have killed the Air Force man identified as Eugene Ikasike, had been arrested and investigation had commenced to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the incident.

A source privy to punch in the community said trouble started on Monday when members of the vigilante group were harassing some youths suspected to be cultists and forcing them to renounce cultism by taking a traditional oath.

It was gathered that the situation escalated on Tuesday as a NAF man’s brother was apprehended, beaten and kept in OSPAC cell, but Eugene, accompanied by his colleagues, went to the vigilantes’ office to find out what offence his brother committed.

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But he was allegedly rebuffed and pushed back by the vigilantes, who said they did not recognise any Federal Government operative.

An argument later ensued at a different location and the NAF man allegedly mobilised his friend, Eugene, and went to the residence of the OSPAC member, who pushed him, and Amecheta reached for his gun and was said to have shot the NAF man dead.

The incident caused confusion in the community as some youths apprehended the trigger-happy vigilante member on Wednesday and handed him over to the police.

A source said, “The OSPAC men were forcing people, especially youths, and dragging them to come for oath-taking to denounce cultism.

“They went to the home of an Air Force man, who came for the Yuletide holiday, and started beating his brother to renounce cultism. When the officer asked what the problem was, the vigilantes smashed his phone and took his brother to their cell.

“So, the Air Force man contacted one of his colleagues and both of them stormed the OSPAC office, but they were pushed out of the gate by the OSPAC men, who said they did not recognise any government person.

“The OSPAC men resumed the following day (Tuesday) and encountered the Air Force officer, Eugene Ikasike, who accompanied his colleague, and an argument ensued over the previous incident.

“The argument got heated and one of the OSPAC guys brought out his pump action gun and shot the officer.”

Speaking on the incident, the Chairman, Community Development Committee of Omuanwa, Ugho Chiang, confirmed the incident and condemned the killing.

He stated, “We have handed over the OSPAC guy to the police area command in Isiokpo. That is what we achieved early this morning (Wednesday). Since yesterday (Tuesday), we had been networking to ensure that something was done in the interest of peace. So far, the community is calm.

“Yes, we lost a hardworking young man, an agent of the Federal Government. It is despicable. It is unfortunate that he is dead; otherwise we would have had his own side of the story.

“It is as if we are hearing from one side now. This thing is a case of carryover of aggression.”

Chiang advised youths of the community to be civil, saying, “If you conduct yourselves in a civil manner, you will not attract the wrath of the government or OSPAC.

“All the eight villages in the community all contributed to fund OSPAC.

“In as much as we have brought OSPAC, we have to let it work. So, the issue of denouncing cultism is the problem here.

“If you are a cultist and as a youth, you should denounce cultism. That is my advice. There are other youths who were not arrested and forced to denounce cultism.

“So the youth should cooperate to ensure enduring peace. But that does not justify the killing of the Air Force man. Nothing should warrant anybody to take anyone’s life, because there is sanctity of life guaranteed in the constitution of Nigeria.

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