Okon Effiong, the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, has ordered the arrest of vigilante groups carrying firearms in any part of the state.
This came after several vigilantes were seen brandishing weaponry, including pump action rifles, and wearing various terrifying costumes, particularly in the Diobu area of Port Harcourt.
The scenario had sparked anxiety in the city, with several locals reporting that they had not seen the local security team dressed in such clothes during the day.
Grace Iringe-Koko, a spokesperson for the state police command, said the vigilantes were not permitted to carry weapons.
In a short message conveyed to newsmen, Superintendent of Police Iringe-Koko stated that the CP has issued a severe warning to local security companies not to carry weapons.
According to her, the CP also said vigilantes had no power to arrest people and keep them in detention.
To this effect, she said the CP has directed all Divisional Police Officers to arrest any vigilante seen with arms within their jurisdiction.
The statement read, “They (vigilantes) are not licensed to bear arms. The CP has directed DPOs to arrest anyone seen with arms within their jurisdiction.
“Also, they do not have powers to detain or keep anyone in custody.”
Effiong had in December issued a seven-day window for unauthorised persons, especially cultists, to submit weapons in their possession or risk arrest.
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