The Rivers State Police Command is investigating OSPAC, a local vigilance group in Rumuolumeni, Obio/Akpor Local Government area of the State over alleged brutality and torture of one Mr Clifford Woko.
Woko claimed he was maltreated over his refusal to pay ‘marching’ or ground levy to OSPAC members on a property he is developing in a complaint filed at the human rights desk of the Police command
He said he was brutalized by OSPAC with machete on Saturday 23, January, 2021 during which he was inflicted with serious injuries.
Narrating his ordeal to journalists, Woko said,
“They arrested me, tied me to a stake from 11 am to 4 pm. They beat me up with cutlass, shovel and big sticks. And they’re threatening to kill me because they have killed many like me and nothing happened to them.
“They called names of those they have killed. Kenneth Olumeni said his boys are angry with me. And I asked him why should his boys be angry with me? Did anybody report any criminal offence against me or did I steal from you?”
Woko further alleged that the OSPAC boys who brutalized him in Rumuolumeni are members of the gang who go around the community seizing people’s property, demanding for all sorts of levies, including “Marching” Ground from property Developers.
Woko told journalists that he got a call on Saturday from the Engineer of a building site in his care that some persons are in the site are demanding for ‘marching’ or ground levy, which is illegal fee.
He added that he went to the site and met some OSPAC members reportedly led by their leader, Comrade Kenneth Olumeni.
But he alleged that OSPAC members started beating him when he told them that the Rivers State Government has abolished ‘marching’ ground fee or levy.
Mr Woko disclosed that he was forced into the OSPAC vehicle and taken to the OSPAC office where he was tied, detained and tortured for hours with machete before his release.
He said the site engineer out of fear paid N50,000 on Wednesday 27, January, 2021 for the release of some materials used on the site seized by OSPAC.
He called on the public to assist him get justice on the matter while alleging that his life is still danger due to threat from OSPAC.
But in his reaction to the allegations, Kenneth Olumeni, the OSPAC leader in Rumuolumeni who is also the Chief Security Officer of Rumuolomeni denied collecting ‘marching’ ground fee. But he said his group collects security levy from inhabitants of the community.
Olumeni alleged that OSPAC members got information that Woko and his ‘gang of notorious cultists’ forcefully collected N120,000 from a land developer in the area.
He said on getting there, Woko and his members allegedly attacked OSPAC members who reinforced and mobilized back to the site and apprehended Woko and took him to OSPAC office.
The vigilance group leader revealed that he was not at the site as claimed by Clifford, that he came back to the office when he heard that Clifford has been apprehended. He said he subsequently directed that Woko should be released.
The Spokesman of the Rivers State Police Command, SP Nnamdi Omoni said the matter has been reported to the Command yesterday and it already under investigation.