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Police Detain Officers Involved In Shooting Of Vigilante Leader, Two Others In Delta Community

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Police Detain Officers Involved In Shooting Of Vigilante Leader, Two Others In Delta Community

The Delta State Police Command has taken action against five members of the Special Anti Cult Unit who have been arrested and detained for their alleged involvement in the shooting of Mr. Freedom Ofeshokwo (also known as CornerStone), the commander of the Vigilante group, along with two others.

The incident occurred on January 30, 2024, in Jesse, Ethiope West Local Government Area of the State.

Confirming the arrests, Bright Edafe, the Delta State Police spokesman, stated that the new Commissioner of Police, Abaniwonda Olufemi, has ordered the detention of the officers and the commencement of an investigation by the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID).

“The CP wishes to reiterate that it is not in the character of the Command to trample on the rights of citizens, assault, or use firearms without adherence to Force Order 237,” Edafe said. He assured the public that the officers involved would be decisively dealt with in accordance with the Police Act and regulations, to serve as a deterrent to others. He emphasized that such conduct by officers of the command would not be tolerated under his watch.

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The altercation leading to the shooting reportedly took place when the SACU squad, conducting raids in the community’s black spots, encountered CornerStone and his group in Jesse, Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State.

According to an anonymous security source, the SACU team attempted to arrest a woman suspected of dealing drugs when the vigilante commander and his group confronted them. In the ensuing confrontation, some of the policemen and vigilantes from Sapele, who were accompanying the SACU team, were injured, while CornerStone and two others were shot.

“It baffles me that those on the ground are pretending not to know what is going on there. I won’t say anything; these policemen are just scapegoats,” the source said.

Fortunately, more crisis and possible fatalities were averted when the SACU team fled upon seeing the gathered crowd. They managed to apprehend one of the individuals alleged to have attacked them.

The people of the Kingdom are now calling on the New Commissioner of Police and the Inspector General of Police to intervene, considering this incident as an attack on one of their own.

During a peaceful protest on the issue, High Chief Obriki Onosia expressed his concerns, “This is a man who has served this kingdom meritoriously for the last 10 years and has not been found wanting in any criminal activity. They came under the pretense of looking for parties at the vigilante commander’s country home, claiming to be searching for drugs.”

Rights Activist Comrade Kingsley Imode has called for a thorough investigation into the matter and urges the police to take appropriate action.

Comrade Imode, a member of the Center for the Vulnerable and Underprivileged, believes that something must have gone wrong for a shooting incident to occur, especially since the police and vigilante groups are expected to collaborate. He also raised concerns about the possibility of political interference, as CornerStone is known to be a loyal supporter of certain politicians.

However, Mr. Omonisa Michael, while condemning the arrest of the police officers without proper investigation, acknowledged the existence of misconduct and criminal activities among some police officers.

He emphasized the need to address the damage caused by hard drugs among the youth.

“It is disheartening to learn that the police officers were ordered to release the arrested individuals,” he added. Instead of resorting to dishonorable actions, he urged the protesters to reflect on their actions and seek transparency.

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