Rivers LG chairman disbands local vigilante, worries over arms proliferation

Umahi legacy


Mr Erastus Awortu, the Chairman, Andoni Local Government Area, Rivers,  has expressed concern over proliferation of light weapons by local vigilante groups.

Subsequently, Awortu has disbanded OSPAC, a vigilante group operating in the area.

The chairman made this known on Wednesday in Ngo, the headquarters of the council while inaugurating the new councillors, Vice Chairman, and other key officers in his cabinet.

According to Awortu, a more organised vigilante service will be deployed to the area in accordance with due process and community cooperation.

“In respect of vigilante services, we are currently working with the peace committee set up by the chiefs.

“I advise all persons threatening the peace as a result of one grievance or another to channel their complaints to the chiefs.

“In my discussion with the chiefs, I have been advised that we will need the vigilante services but this is going to be a properly organised group.

“The formation will have the inputs of the chiefs, Community Development Chairmen, the women, and all the communities, to enable us maintain a safe Andoni,’’ he said.

Awortu commended the security agencies for timely response to an alleged attempt by an armed man to foment trouble during a Thanksgiving session held on Tuesday in Ngo.

“The suspect was allegedly seen to be approaching my direction armed with a pistol while I was in the church to dedicate our council to God.

“I do not know why the law allows everybody to bear arms.

“I want the security agencies to investigate the matter and ensure nobody in Andoni who is not a security personnel bears arms. If such persons are caught, let the full weight of the law visit them,” he said.

Awortu said apart from the Federal Government recognised security agencies and state government security formation (The Neighborhood Watch), the local government area presently had not recognised any vigilante group.

The chairman, who was practising as a lawyer until his new appointment, expressed dismay over the circumstances that led to shutting down of courts in the area.

Awortu however, promised to strengthen operations of the judiciary and ensure that court activities resumed as soon as possible.

“I’m so excited that the Magistrate is here today, I have been informed that he has not been sitting due to security challenges, logistics and also the court premises that is in a bad shape.

“I have given directives to the Director of Works, we are going to ensure the court resumes business just like other courts,” he added. (NAN)