Published On: Tue, Feb 23rd, 2021

Police Accused Of Fueling Cult War In Sapele By Collecting Bribes From Culprits

LAGOS FEBRUARY 23RD (URHOBOTODAY)-Vigilante groups and members of the Anti-Cult Volunteer Corps have accused the police authority in Sapele, Delta State of collecting bribes as bail from arrested cultists caught with guns thereby compromising the war against cultism in the once peaceful town.
The two security outfits speaking exclusively to at the scene of the murder of Efe, a butcher at Sapele Main Market disclosed that the cult war and killings in Sapele will continue unless the police authority in Sapele stops trading with criminals.
Speaking separately to, but pleaded for anonymity, a member of Anti-Cult Volunteer Corps wilding pump-action gun, said until the politicians in Sapele and community leaders put pressure on the police authority to prosecute arrested cultists, the killing will continue.
According to him, “No one is safe in Sapele again, and the killing will continue because the police failed to support the efforts of other security agencies in dealing decisively with known and arrested cultists.
“How do you explain the fact that Vigilante group and Anti-Cult Volunteer Corps will arrest cultists, sometimes with guns and when we hand them over to the police for further investigation and prosecution, they are granted bail after collecting between N200,000 to N.5m from them.
And to make matter worse, some of these freed cultists know our faces, some know where we leave, and because some of them are also “Yahoo boys” they are friends of the police and that is why when arrested they easily buy their way out.
Collaborating this allegation, a vigilante leader who simply gave his name as Ovie, said that with the way the police authority in Sapele has compromised the fight against cultism, they may be forced to mete out justice to arrested cultists who are caught with guns, since the police will not bring them to justice.
According to him, “We cannot continue to arrest cultists with guns and when they are handed over to the police for prosecution because we lack the power to prosecute them, they are set free after huge sums of money have exchanged hands.
“We will have to serve them justice in our own way, and may not bring them to the police again since they will buy their way through; we can’t continue to risk our lives in arresting cultists while police will set them free and they will come back and hunt us.
“As things are now if the political leaders will support us since the police have failed, we will waste any cultist caught with a gun, that is the only way to stop this madness, by the time 3 or 4 of them are wasted, the rest of them will relocate from Sapele, outside that, forget it, people will start relocating from Sapele”, he added.
It would be recalled that barely 24 hours after the Special Adviser to Governor of Delta State on Youth Development, Comrade Okiemute was murdered, two persons were reported to have been shot dead in a suspected cult-related killing.
At the Shell road end of the town, close to a private school, an unidentified man was shot yesterday night, with his body still lying at the front of a shop in the area as at the time of putting up this report. Sources hinted further that the victim was shot at about 8 pm by gunmen who came in a black Sienna bus, while at the New road end of the town with another identified as Efe gun down.
The first victim of the cult war on Sunday was Mr. Efe, a butcher at Sapele Main Market who had boarded a motorcycle, heading to the Ogorode area of the town when gunmen shot at him at New road by Poultry road junction, before speeding away.
Also, another shooting took place 30 minutes after at Major Bowen road, but the targets escaped with bullet wounds according to a source at the scene.
There was pandemonium at the Okpe road and Oleh road area of the town on Monday as gunshots also rained with residents taking cover as gang shots were fired into the air unchallenged, and there is an unconfirmed report that a woman was shot when they couldn’t locate her husband.
When contacted the Delta Police Public Relations Officer, Edafe Bright, said that he is only aware of the shooting of Mr. Efe, and has not been informed of others; “I will reach back to you once it is confirmed, let me call the DPO,” however, repeated calls to him were not answered as at the time of filing this report and he didn’t call back as he promised.
…Resident carpets Politicians, Community leaders for not speaking out
Meanwhile, residents of the town have called out to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to come to their rescue from cultism, insisting the community is under siege.
A middle-Aged woman who gave her name Mrs. Alice Onovwughe berated the political and community leaders in Sapele for staying aloof while the once peaceful town burns.
According to her, “Sapele political leaders are very wicked, they are not saying or doing anything over the mindless killings in the town, they are the once that armed during the election, today they have turned to gun against each other and because is not the sons that are being killed, they stayed off.”
She added that the leadership of Sapele Okpe-Community that are supposed to coordinate activities of the vigilantes to ensure that the crisis is nipped in the bud are only concern about sales of land and ‘Deve collection,” she, therefore, appealed to the Orodje of Okpe and the State government to intervene as save the drifting situation.

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