By Ogochukwu Nwaokafor
The Anambra State Vigilante Group (AVG), has made it known to Ndi Anambra and Nigeria that they stake their lives while trying to protect the lives of the citizen sand can never indulge in killing people or destroying property.
Fides reports that one Christian Onah, a native of Ovoko Community, Igbo-Eze South LGA, Enugu State, who was residing at Oba, Idemili South LGA, before he was declared missing on 28th May, 2023, following his failure to return after going out for the day’s business. He was a commercial tricycle operator.
It was learnt that the tricycle owner who loaned it to the deceased on hire purchase, engaged the services of a security tracker that provided vital information which led to the arrest of a man in possession of the missing tricycle used by Onah.
It was further reported that during interrogation, the man allegedly confessed buying the keke from Ojoto Community vigilante operatives.
Some recent media reports had it that the police operatives from Ogidi Division had arrested the Ojoto Community Vigilante Commander and two others over an alleged kidnap and murder of a 25-year-old tricycle operator, Christian Oluchukwu Onah.
AVG at a press conference addressed by its Public Relations Officer, Mr Nweke Nweke, said the alleged killing and dumping of the corpse of a tricycle operator in Ojoto was investigated on and it was discovered that the deceased was neither killed nor dumped in Ojoto as allegedly reported by some media platforms.
In his words,’ Preliminary investigation showed that the deceased might have died by lynching. He was suspected to be a kidnap member killed by a mob in a community outside Ojoto.
‘Besides, why would AVG kill and dump the corpse of a Keke rider in a river in their own community? Don’t they know the security threat and health hazards? If it was a case of dumping a corpse on a river, you would have heard how it was retrieved.
Do you know that all these vigilante operatives stake their lives and property while trying to protect the lives of the citizenry? They have good homes, booming businesses and good reputations to protect. But they left them to serve Anambra State and Nigeria from the hinterlands.
‘Nevertheless, the police investigation is still on. Let no one pre-empt its outcome. All I want to clarify is that the members of AVG operate professionally. Ojoto AVG are professionals. They have been trying relentlessly to secure the community from hoodlums. This is a clear case of crime trying to fight crime. Some are bent on blackmailing them for nothing.
‘We don’t carry out patrol operations without the police. We don’t also arrest and kill suspects. What we do is to arrest and handover suspects to the police. As a baby police, we do not operate beyond our limit. We are always in the interior, grassroots level, to ensure there is security of life and property all over the 179 communities and 21 local government areas in Anambra State.’
Nweke, therefore, pleaded with communities, motorists and others to see the AVG as partners in progress, rather than as enemies.
In the same vein, the traditional ruler of Ojoto Community, Igwe Gerald Mbamalu, Eze Ojoto 111 rated the AVG operatives in the community high, describing them as professional, selfless and humanitarian.
Igwe Mbamalu dismissed the allegations trending in the media against the community vigilante as blackmail aimed at tarnishing their image and a ploy to get them out of the roads so that the hoodlums would have their way.
‘I cannot tell you that I didn’t hear or see what is going on. The truth is that neither the CSO (Chief Security Officer) nor the youth of Ojoto is a kidnapper. They never kidnapped anybody and can never be kidnappers working for Ojoto. When you fight crime, crime has a way of fighting back,’ he said.
He further said what happened was an attempt to blackmail the President General of Ojoto, CSO or the AVG, so as to remove them from the road for the hoodlums to have a free hand to operate.
‘But it cannot work. There is nothing hidden under the sun. The truth must surface,’ the Igwe stated, insisting that the PG and CSO or AVG, Ojoto were fighting crime.
‘They have been on that road fighting crime. They have ensured that normalcy returned to that road. This is a case of crime fighting back. They are being blackmailed so as to give way for the hoodlums to have their ways. But God will not allow it to happen,’ he maintained.