‘’IT IS SOMETIMES, QUITE TRAGIC FOR AFRICA THAT WHEN EVERYBODY IN THE CIVILIZED WORLD IS TRYING TO DEMOCRATISE THEIR ENVIRONMENT EVEN MORE, WE SEEM TO HAVE TURNED OUR BACK ON CIVILIZATION AND GOING STRAIGHT BACK TO THE CAVES’’. - Emeka Odimegwu Ojukwu
Aba was once rated as the commercial nerve centre of the east and alongside Lagos, Onitsha, Port Harcourt and Abuja as the five commercial nerve centre of the nation by the TIME INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE. Aba used to make up 90% of the $8.69billion Abia G.D.P, not any more.
Today, the story has changed. Shops that used to flourish are now serving as branch offices. All the major players in the society have left town, houses are padlocked, offices closed, banking activities scaled down, hospitals closed. As we write no single new building is being developed in the entire city. All prominent doctors are gone, all major lawyers are gone, all prominent importers are gone, all prominent industrialists are gone, all major entrepreneurs are gone, and all foreign technical factory experts are gone. No sane person allows any of his or her family members to be posted to Aba any more. Non indigenes are leaving in drove.
As we write, the banks in Aba are contemplating closing most of their branches; most of them as a matter of fact have trimmed down drastically their operations as 80% of Aba account holders now do their transactions outside Aba. Bank of Industries at No.1 Asa Rd has relocated to Asaba, ECO Bank has permanently closed their Osissioma branch while 7 other banks along Osissioma has temporally closed shop. 90% of the bank workers in Aba have applied for transfer. Center for Management (CMD) has relocated to Owerri. The whole white missionaries at Church of Later Day Saints left Aba by 3 A.M under heavy military escort abandoning one of their most beautiful temples in Africa and their West African Headquarters. Work at the Osissioma end of the Eungu Port Harcourt Express Way was stopped because one of the white engineers was kidnapped. The Eungu-Aba-Port Harcourt and the Aba-Ikot Ikpene Express Ways are now dead zones and no go areas.
From intelligence information’s we gathered their next target is going to be Club side coming into Aba for the Globalcom National Professional League. Parents should warn their children not to follow any team to Aba and the NPL is now warned that Aba is not safe, CAF should also take note. Who ever encourages anybody to ignore this warning should be hold responsible for any lost of life. Victims of kidnappers overheard them discussing this things opening. If you watched Enyimba match last season you will discover that the crowd has dropped by 80%. As at the last count 67 hotels have closed their shops in Aba. All because kidnappers and gangsters have taken over the city while the state and federal government decided to watch and do nothing..
Sicily – Italy sounds like a child’s play compared to what has been happening in Aba. Landlords are abandoning their houses looking for accommodations elsewhere. Human beings are being slaughtered in such a manner that will make the lion to envy us. Young girls and old women are being raped. No Hollywood script writer can ever have the imagination to pen down what Aba has turned into. Somali and Sudan combined are far better than the Aba, because the people are at war and they knew it and do not kill their own. That is why the Aba story is different.
You must have heard about what is going on in Aba, but the truth of the matter is that the number of kidnapping, killing and impunity going on in the city is not beeing fully reported. What goes out to the public is just about 5% of actual activities going on in Aba. This is because the state Chief executive of the State out of fear of State of Emergency being declared in Abia State has been seriously suppressing the Aba ugly tale.
On a minimum average, over 40 people are being kidnapped daily at Aba, so if you want to start the story of Aba, you start from the most recent in order not to bore your audience.
On Thursday Sept. 9, kidnappers who have colonized the Aba-Port Harcourt Express Way started shooting indiscriminately with their machine guns to vehicles on the highway. As a result, they were able to demobilize 8 vehicles and the few who refuse to stop were gunned down and killed instantly. Some of the passengers ran inside the bush, the other 20 who were unlucky were marched into the bush. The annoying aspect of it all was that few meters away there was a police road block and as usual they were busy collecting N20 from motorists and felt totally less concerned of the kidnapping activities.
After marching a few meters into the bush, the kidnappers said they want to show their victims that they mean business and to demonstrate that they ordered one innocent looking man to march out as he obeyed and stepped forward, four of them emptied their machine bullets on him. They ordered their victims to dig a grave as they brought out four shovels and after digging they dumped the man inside and ordered them to close it. Now that was when their main ordeal started, as they walked about 45 minutes inside the bush, one of their victims told us that he counted three major villages and that all of them have been completely deserted as animals now roam freely.
On getting to a point they separated the males from the females and started raping the women and these are women in their late fifties and some above sixty and young ladies about 9 of them. They were raped turn by turn without any protection. After that, the kidnappers marched their victims to another spot where a burnt vehicle belonging to the Bakassi boys was packed. They once more singled out another victim and asked him “how much will you give us?’ The man said that between his two accounts that he can immediately mobilize N200, 000. They were so outraged with the man that they brought out a knife and started slicing the man’s head with it. And the man’s screams attracted another round of beating until the blood that was gushing out become uncontrollably, they now dumped the man after they had forced him to double his offer.
The next unfortunate victim was a Reverend gentleman; they ordered him to march out and requested to know how much he will give them. The man who was clothed with his religious attire explained to them that he has no money. They inquired from him who owned the vehicle he was riding on; he responded that it belongs to the ministry he was working for. He was ordered to inform his ministry people to come and bail him out. As he was about to respond, they pumped several bullets at close range to his head. These evil minds starting making a show of it as they were laughing and joking about how the man screamed and died, making mockery that his God did not save him.
Once more, they ordered their remaining victims to dig a grave at a spot and without digging dip, they were shocked to realize that several other corpses were buried there. Sensing the fear of their victims, they proudly announced that the place is where they buried their so called Bakassi boys. One of their victims who narrated this story to us was able to count around 20 other makeshift graves around. To cut a long story short, they ended up killing five of their victims who did not make them reasonable offer. As they were boasting that they have sacked over 50 villages around Ukwa East and Ukwa West L.Gs. On average, over 30 people are kidnapped along the Ukwa axis of Abia State daily.
On Thursday 23rd of September, the kidnappers were flagging down a bus coming from Port Harcourt at Obiehia and the driver refused to stop and as usual, they started shooting at the bus and 18 passengers died on the spot, others sustained fatal wounds.
From Ukwa we move down to Osissioma L.G. All the areas along the Aba-Enugu express way have been totally taken over by kidnappers. They have over powered the policemen and as we write the lowest estimate of policemen killed by the kidnappers within the last one month should be around 20. This figure is just within the Osissioma axis alone. In terms of human population killed in Osissioma, they are far above 2,700 persons.
A lawyer who was kidnapped and kept for four days narrated his experience of how he was tied on a tree for good two days. And in those two days they poured cocoyam water on him, and look for harmful creeping insects which they equally use on him. And it was after these two days that they opened their demand. He noticed that there were about 13 different camps and new groups springing up and their overall leader was a young lady in her early thirties. Apart from those who normally move out and come back, he counted about 100 other boys and girls who are operating in the camp. In most cases, out of force and threat to their life they try to convert their victims into informants. After collecting money from you, they will subject you to such a level of inhuman act and in most cases they end up killing those who could not give the accurate information about whom else to kidnap.
To say that kidnappers have taken over Aba is an understatement; they started by targeting helpless individuals at the highway, but today they move around town boldly in the day light.
In Aba North, in just the past few weeks they have kidnapped over 500 people among their victims were Ifeme, Ijeoma bread, Dr. Ihekweaba, an old woman close to 80 years called mama Chidi, another one close to 70 years who they detained for 4 months and ordered his son in oversea to be paying monthly. For the past two years the car dealers stationed around Aba North have not sold one single car. All they do now is to take their vehicle to the neighbouring towns to sell.
The remaining parts of Aba North from Okigwe Rd to Ariaria have been completely overtaken by kidnappers; most of the traders who live there have all run away.
When you talk of Aba as a mega city that brims with creative and industrial activities, attracting reputation as a hub of small and medium scale industries that tag belongs to the past, especially if you visit Aba South. All the areas known as Aba South is completely decimated, fear has taken over the entire community as most of the homes are padlocked because the inhabitants and visitors have sustained a dead casualty of over 3,000 to 3,500 people. All the neighbouring bushes in Aba South have turned to burial grounds of innocent people killed by the kidnappers. Most of the people declared wanted in Aba are dead, killed by these heartless evil minds and buried in shallow graves in groups.
Now the worst part and the saddest part of the whole thing is Obingwa, Obingwa is the capital of kidnapping activities going on in Aba taoday. And this evil activity is fully sponsored by the Novae Rich inclusive of the traditional rulers. As we write today, Ntigha Uzo, Ibeme and Abala communities have far more than 100 camps and the kidnappers proudly march around with their guns in the daylight. They normally move around in different groups and each group is normally made up of 20 boys all well armed. Occasionally they just step out to rain bullets here and there to show that they are totally in control and dare any man born of a woman to step out and confront them. When the people from that area appeared to have varnished, they zero in to Akpaa Mbato community and virtually converted all the able bodied young men who remained into their evil cult. Their first target was Okezie Orji, the 2007 gubernatorial aspirant who narrowly lost the ticket to Onyema Ugochukwu, when the traditional ruler wanted to make an effort and organize vigilante group they stormed his palace and attacked him, he ran into the bush and from there went into exile till date. All prominent people in those areas have gone into exile among them are Chief Etufu a wealthy old man who was in to a lot of philanthropic activities to empower his people. He was forced into exile in United States after being kidnapped.
Their firing power was too much for the Akpaa Police station to handle as a result the police took to their hills. As we write, no single police presence can be seen in the whole area. When the police ran and the people now evacuated, the kidnappers now started putting constant blockade at the Aba Ikot Ekpene Express Way against unsuspecting travelers from Akwa Ibom and Cross River States who were on their way to Lagos, Port Harcourt or even Aba for business trips. Not a few of these innocent travelers were killed and dumped inside the bush. Raping their girls and turning the Aba-Ikot Ekpene express that used to be a major busy way for commercial activities into a dead zone. No single vehicle uses that road anymore and all the business and filling stations along that axis have folded up.
Having conquered Akpaa, Abala, Ntigha, Uzo and Ibeme they now moved into Ovom area where most people were building their retirement homes. But as we write today, over 5,000 houses have been totally abandoned. That axis is now the den of kidnappers to the extent that they have now erected toll gates and started collecting money from commercial tricycle (keke Napep) operators which is the only means of transport there, since no sane person dare go near there with car.
When most handy people, landlords and the majority of the population relocated, they now devised a new method of moving with buses to school premises and picking up the poor teachers and pupils and calling on their school management or parents to pay up.
It doesn’t matter your age, young and old, even the sick ones, you are captured you are subjected to the worst level of inhuman act. Johnson Umelu and his two children were kidnapped while coming back from church in August, Smarth Ukah, Chief Ibe Irem and Eme Uche a Medical Lab Scientist and owner of Excellence Lab at No. 1 Okigwe Rd were all kidnapped. So also were Mike Chima, Mrs Chinwe Iwuoha wife of Barristter Iwuoha, C.E.O Tonnimas and Dandollars. Not to mention Patrick Onwuka former Chairman Isiala Ngwa South, Kelechi Nwankpa former Chairman Obingwa L.G, Chief Nwojo Omokorie Chairman Ezera Grouip of Companies, almost 100years old mother of Lord Dike Udensi-Dubic- she was killed along side 3 other members of her family after his son might have paid N50million ransom
Others are, Ebere Nwachukwu former transition Committee Chairman Isiala Ngwa South, Chief B. L. C. Okoro former Nigerian Breweries manager, the Managing Director of Sky Petroleum, Prince Bobby Dick son of HRH Eze Eberechi MD. Bobby Investments. Three attempts has been made on the Rector of Abia State Polytechnics and on the second one two people were killed one of them being his a policeman.
Chief Odionyenfe Uzu a.k.a Full Current from Umuokenyi village in Ndi Olumbe in Isiala Ngwa South was killed while trying to escape from the kidnappers with his bicycle. His younger brother Mr. Obidike Uzu who leaves in Port Harcourt came with about five truck load of solider for his brother’s burial. You don’t need soldiers to do wedding, burial, child dedications in Somali, Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq, that is why those war torn societies are better than us.
The present deputy governor of Abia State was almost kidnapped and as we write information just filttered in that his orderly has been killed while on errand for his boss. Bid Uzoechi also has just been kidnapped in Ohanze, while Sonny King a trader in Araria was brutally murdered along Enugu-Port Harcourt Express all happened between 24th & 25th September. This is in case any deceives you that the situation is under control, these are most recent ones.
Perhaps the most pathetic story of all these family (names withheld), the Kidnappers ordered the first son to have carnal knowledge of the mother, he refused and they shoot him on the leg and ordered the second son to do same. Before the will finish the mother senescing danger tore her dress immediately and grabbed the her son, after the event the young man left home and up till date nobody knows his where about.
The caliber of arms and ammunition in Aba today is frightening and more and more is coming, arms and ammunition in Aba today is enough to declare a Civil War in Nigeria.
The present Abia State deputy Chief of Staff Charles Ogbonna had been kidnapped and Nigerians will remember the celebrated attempt on the convoy of the state governor some time ago, luckily he was not inside the vichcle. Dr. Bright Chubgbu, Dr. E. O. Ezirim, Dr. Enyinnaya, Dr. Aluka, Dr. Eke Ujuba, Dr. Nwachukwu, Dr. Umezurike, Dr. J. U. Ehiemere and another Dr. Uche had all been kidnapped. Dr. Witika an American was kidnapped at Ukpakiri and hje ran away from Nigeria. Dr. Ozuzu has left, so also are Dr. Prosper Igboeli, Dr.Oliver, Dr. Usuegbu and several others.
As we write, all the schools in Ovom, Ogbor Hill areas are closed. As we write teachers are being owed salaries in arrears. As we write the Chief Security Adviser to Gov. T. A. Orji, Col Kalu (Rtr) has resigned out of frustration. As we write people have stopped going to church because they have started going to the churches to kidnap people. On Sunday 19th September, the went to Sevenday Adventist Church at Asa Umunka in Ugwunagbo L.G and brought out the Pastor Nwakoch Mmeja and shoot him for no just cause and left without touching anything. As we write they have sent a letter to traders in Ariaria International Market that every store should keep N50, 000 for them that they are coming. The traders said that there rather be a Civil War than for them to pay and they are getting set for them. As we write, burial are no longer taking place in most part of Ngwa land especially in Obingwa the local government of Senator Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe who attempt was also made to his life that led to the dead of policemen, were also the Journalist were kidnapped.
The State governor, T.A. Orji and his entire executive, the Police commissioner and his entire D.P.O’s and the Area commander appear to be collectively colluding with these activities as they feel unconcerned about these activities. Especially, the state governor who goes to a reasonable length to make sure that events going on in Aba are totally suppressed, so that a state of emergency which is long overdue would not be declared in Abia State. Any attempt to say the truth will be followed with death threats and his attack dogs will descend on the papers raining abuses on your father’s grave. Such wickedness in governance is unheard of anywhere in the world in this 21st century.
In the last few weeks alone 49 lawyers have been kidnapped among whom are Kizito Ibegbulam, O.O. Ugwuenyi, and L.O. Nwaogugu (still in detention), A.S. Duru (Still in the kidnappers custody), Uche Anyiam, O.O. Nkumeh, Ifeanyi Iboko and Julius Emelike who was kidnapped and shot on the leg. Sorry that we have to call names, but are forced to go to this extent to prove that these are verifiable facts.
Among those who have been kidnapped are Mr. Felix Anyansi Agwu the Chairman of Enyimba Football Club, Chief Iboko Imo Iboko member Board of Trutee PPA, he was also a former Chairman of Aba North L.G and State commissioner for Works. Engr Okafor of the Federal Ministry of Works alongside his colleague Engr. Onu, Ndubuisi Nwakirie a business consultant, Chief Kalu Ndiafia who has been kidnapped twice and his wife, who was kidnapped few weeks after releasing the wife, Chief Ogbuwa C.E.O of BYC, Chief Moghalu a major Nigerian Breweries distributor, Elder Godwin Nna current T.C chairman of Obingwa and his wife, before he was kidnapped he had already paid N500, 000 as a result of a constant treat calls he was receiving.
Few others are HRH Eze Eberechi Dick, HRH Eze Chidi Nwaigwe who was killed the same week he was about to bury his wife and mother In-law because he refused to follow the kidnappers. Mrs Abara Ijeoma wife of the Permanent Secretary of Abia Civil Service, Chief Lambert Mecha who die out of heart attack when about 16 kidnappers storm at a church in Ukwa while the Sunday service was going on to kidnap the pastor. Prof. Emejiwe former V.C Abia State University and current Chairman Abia State Electorial Commssion, HRH Eze Chivolefu. Naval Commander (Rtr) Obike Ogbonna’s 9 years old daughter who was on her first visit to her father land from U.S.A. Chief Isienyi leader of Road Transport Workers and his manager who was later kidnapped on another bloody day that the kidnappers killed 5 other innocent citizens of Abia as the just started firing indiscriminately to frighten people and announce their arrival. Dr. Mrs Ahiaiwe, Dr. Mrs. Anuguruegbe who was kidnapped immediately her husband was appointed commissioner of NNDC representing Abia State and several other foreign technical engineers of Zerock Construction Company. To go on with the list of the names of people who have fallen victim to kidnappers in a State where over 5, 000 people have been kidnapped is to bore.
We just mention this insignificant numbers because the state governor’s propaganda machinery made up of heartless people who lack shame, with no sense of human sympathy and moral up-bringing would soon start using the very funds that should be deployed in fighting this crime to pay for full newspaper adverts to rain abuses on the grave of the fore fathers of those behind this write up. All they are after is to protect their work even if the whole of Abia State citizens are dying and the little per cent age the will get from every advert the placed on the papers. Well, the fact remains that we have taken time to gather facts and no amount of abuse and intimidation will stop us. Like Chinua Achebe wrote, ‘’ No matter how badly a country may be run, there will always be some people whose personal, selfish interest are, in the short term at least, well served by the mismanagement and social inequities… Naturally, they will be extremely loud in their adulation of the country and its system and will be anxious to pass themselves off as patriots and to vilify those who disagree with them as trouble makers or even traitors’’.
With the level of atrocity going on challenged in Abia State, there is insinuations from several quarters that they are government sponsored in order to scare away opponents from coming out to run for election in 2011. The truth is that we have not established any link to the state government so far exception their undue silence which off course is an indictment on their part. Be that as it may be, a very respectful legal practitioner in Abia State revealed to us that they are working with a group of highly respected international human right activist and legal advisers to document facts so that if there is any way the state governor is linked directly or indirectly to these crime against the governed, his name will be send to the International Court to face justice after his tenure and serve as an example to other leaders in Nigeria to understand the immunity is not a ticket to live above the law. To face justice also will be any member of the state executive who try to hide the fact and deceive the world since he or she would be held liable as a result of any one whose life was endangered or lost because of wrong information’s he or she intentionally dishes out to the unsuspecting citizen.
As we write, over 40 medical doctors have been kidnapped and 47 hospitals have closed shop in Aba. As we write over 109 filling stations are now shut in Aba. Today, to describe Aba as Sicily is an understatement, something more animalistic than what goes on in the jungle is going on in Aba. Everybody is a target and everyone is afraid of his neighbors.
Aba, that commercial city in the East of Niger that is known for commerce and industry in the past is today the only city in the world where less than 100 modern cars apply the road as people have gone to old jalopy cars in order not to attract attention of kidnappers. The highest means of transportation in Aba today is Keke Napep that is now being used by every body that remains. Even that has created its own dangers, what they now do is to stop the keke and look at the faces of people and their dressing. Once you look healthy and nice, you are in trouble as they will drag you down and take you along with them.
Just two weeks ago the last remaining Indian in Aba sneaked out to pick few things and rush back to his hiding place. His vehicle was stopped along Nwogu Street in Umungasi, Aba he was ordered to step out. As he tried to resist, these evil men pointed the gun on his head and blasted off his brains.
The latest story is that of Dr. Stanley Uche from Mbano in Imo state, the MD of Victory hospital along Obohia Rd, off Ngwa Rd, Aba. He was kidnapped alongside his wife who is a Yoruba from Ogun State on Thursday 16th September on their way to his home town. It was at the Osissioma junction that he was double crossed by the boys and he was dumped inside his car boot alongside his wife. The kidnappers took them to their den and after pleading severally for his wife to be set free to go and get the money they demanded, they saw reasons and let go of the wife who immediately rallied round and on Saturday 18th Sept. she came up with the N3 million naira which they demanded and dropped it at the designated place. Making it a total of N3.5million, adding the N500, 000 the couple carried with them which the kidnappers took immediately.
On laying their dirty hands on the N3million naira, they demanded for another N2 million which was also given to them by Sunday 19th September. As is usually the case once you settle you are released immediately. After having not heard from them and their mobile switched off, Dr. Uche’ wife was now forced to report the case to the police and the same Monday she was invited to come and identify a dead body thrown out of a speeding vehicle and lo and behold it was Dr. Uche .
Again on Monday 20th Sept. Dr. Jeremiah Ugochukwu Iroeke of the General Out-Patient Department (GOPD) of Abia State Teaching Hospital was kidnapped while on a school run leaving his shocked and confused kid, as we write he is still in their custody. The entire ABSUTH has been deserted and the neigbourghood are taking to their hills. Today, as we write, the doctors and staff are been owned 5 months salary if you include September and there is no efforts from the government to pay. As a result of all these, on Wednesday 22nd September, in an emergency meeting called by the Aba branch of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), they resolved that that all clinics/hospital including Government and private should be closed from Thursday 23rd September till Friday 24th September, an order that was carried out. All the doctors assembled at their Secretariat by 9 A.M clad in their Lab. Coat Stethoscope. Those that failed to make it as a result of excuse or the other were fined N5, 000.
On Saturday 25th September, some MTN staffs were on the receiving end, six members of the MTN workgroup who rented an accommodation around Abiriba quarters of Immaculate Road who had gone to carry out routine engineering and maintenance work at a Base Transceiver Station at Isiala Ngwa were killed. And these young technicians 4 of them are Yoruba’s who came to do some technical work on the site; two of the men killed were their police security men. Four of them were busy servicing their equipments on ground and after shooting them, they shot the two others who had climbed the mast and they fell down and their brains burst into pieces.
There is no single infrastructural development going on in Aba and for the past 3years the State government has voted over N9.5billion Naira just to fill up the holes alongside Asa-Port Harcourt/Umungasi-Abayi Roads that is not up to 20 kilometers N4.5billion the first year and N5billion the next year. The only visible work done there so far is the demarcation of the Umungasi-Abayi end of the road, which is being done half-hazard and on the last count over 100 people-especially school children have lost their life there. Initially they said that Zerock was sabotaging their efforts in delivering dividend of democracy to Abians by intentionally delaying the road. But work has grounded to a standstill since the contract was revoked and handed over to a construction company which one of the governor’s sons is said to have an interest.
Yet immediately the state governor made a show of the fact that he has liberated himself and the state from the bondage of Chief Mrs Eunice Uzor Kalu and her son Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu the immediate past governor of the state, Abia State received a Net Federal Allocation of close to N10billion. This was made up of N2.050, 500 232.08billion Gross Statuary Allocation, N692, 380, 880.86million 13% Share of Oil Derivation, N17, 066, 645.80million was used to service her External Debt-putting a lie to the claim that the immediate past regime incurred a debt that was taking over N500million to service was that only N191, 248, 762.07million deduction was made from that April allocation which was shared in, against commitments entered into by the present regime. Even at that, the distribution from foreign Excess Crude Savings Account for August, was N2, 534, 565, 705.07billion, while the VAT Allocation was N489, 366, 585.14million, bringing the total Net Allocation to N5, 620, 004, 669.37billion. That same month, the 17 L.G’s in Abia State received a total N2, 928, 700, 665.97billion. When you add all these to the N300million internally generated revenue you will get close to N10billion Naira. Yet, there is no security, workers salaries are not paid for months, schools are closed and no meaningful infrastructural development going on in the entire state. The fact must be made that we are not here to defend Orji Uzor Kalu or the Mother because they contributed 50% to what is killing the state today by supporting T. A. Orji to emerge as the governor.
The so called Bakassi Vigilante boys are not helping matters either as they are now mostly engaged in pursuing innocent Aba citizens around, which is an indirect admission of surrender to the kidnappers. Their main work now is the collection of fees for government contractors. They are involved in the collection of security, infrastructural levy, environmental, store licenses, business premises, bill boards, signpost fees and illegal parking etc. in fact, today in Aba, virtually all the agents that are contracted to handle these activities move around with Bakassi boys, thugs and the Police to harass innocent people into forceful payment.
All the lock-up stores in Aba pay the Bakassi boys N500 security fees. The sad thing is that the said Bakassi boys will just appear from nowhere early in the morning with cutlass, guns, axe to demand for this security fee and at the same time ready to break down your store and make away with valuable goods if you fail to pay or lock and ran away. And there is no way you would be able to trace your goods even if you pay later, and what they normally do if you want to pay is to issue you a receipt written without a duplicate. Weeks later, another group will appear requesting for the same security fees. If you show them evidence of payment they will tell you it is not in their records and order you to pay up and go and look for the fake Bakkasi people you paid to for a refund. And failure to comply will earn you maltreatment, arrest and they will also carry your valuable items.
The worst is that of infrastructural levy and environmental agents, as both groups move with thugs, Bakassi boys and mobile policemen. Their instruction is to arrest anybody they see in a compound be you sick, old, young or a visitor. There are several cases where they have arrested pregnant women and old women and ordered their people to come and bail them. Failure to come urgently come with N15, 000 in the case of the environmental agents will earn you an automatic sentence of six months in prison through the undemocratic mobile court which they set up to hunt innocent citizens without the benefit of having a legal representative.
The case of infrastructural levy is another sad story because what they normally do is to arrest tenants to come and pay infrastructural levy on properties that does not belong to them. This is quite unheard of anywhere in the world. And just like the environmental agents even if you have paid in your residences and happen to visit a friend in another place, when they arrive, you will be arrested and no amount of pleading and explanation will help you. Once arrested, innocent or not you must bail yourself.
The worst part of the whole, uncivilized, unconstitutional and undemocratic act is that they normally take their innocent victims to the various police stations that they are working with to detain them. How the Nigerian Police will reduce herself to such a pity level of being used to intimidate and harass innocent citizens is beyond human understanding.
The harassment of these so called government agents got out of hand on Monday 20th Sept. along the Abia State Teaching Hospital Road when residents had to invite the kidnappers themselves to come and confront the Bakassi boys who were moving from house to house forcing people to pay N6,000 security levy. The Bakassi boys who could not stand the firing power of the kidnappers took to their heels.
In all, Aba has now become a town with a forgotten population and as the rest of the Nigerian people have decided to keep quiet and watch us die, nobody knows the dimension it would go if every member of the citizenry would decide to pick up arm and defend themselves as being contemplated in the city. Moreover, as Aba citizens are now emptying themselves into Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, etc it is a question of time before the kidnappers will extend their tentacles if not nipped in the bud now.
The question now is, “is Aba no longer part of the Nigerian State and Project’’? ‘’Why the silence from the presidency’’?
The undue and unnecessary friendship between the Nigerian leadership with the state governor all in an attempt to win elections has made them to overlook their statutory duties to the dying people of Aba that has far gone beyond genocidal level. Dalai Lama said, ‘’If a leader is very concerned about his or her re-election, then sometimes they seem shortsighted’’ We hope this is not true of President Jonathan, Senators, Abaribe, Nwogu and Chukwumerije. They should remember the words of Chinua Achebe, ‘’ A good leader must put the people and the country first before his own Interest’’. If not, like Olusegun Adeniyi said, ‘’ Leaders who, out of inordinate desire for power, help in bringing their country to ruin would ultimately pay the prize. No matter how long it takes’’
It is time for a State of emergency or at least let Aba be declared a disaster area to enable the federal Government to move in an save the population of Aba or else the Federal government should be ready for a protest vote and any attempt to overrule the people’s Will would lead to a civil uproar which dimensions no one can predict and which vibrations would be felt across the nation.
The constant treats through phone calls for people to come and settle have forced many people to either change their lines periodically or permanently off their phones.
Today, in Aba, Abia State there is no single evidence of governance. The government spokes persons as usual can use the tax payers’ money to bark, call names, lie and insult people who are older than their fathers and send treat calls. The fact remains, these are verifiable facts and the truth must be told if not today, some day. Like Naguib Mahfouz wrote, ‘’ One day the Great Pyramid will disappear, but truth and justice will remain for as long as mankind has a ruminative mind and a living conscience’’
Our women are being raped, our young men murdered, lawlessness and impunity has over taken our land yet our elders are keeping quite. Evil has over day the our society in broad day light, yet our religious leaders are inviting T.A. Orji for occasions none have step forth to say the truth.
Where is Com. Ebitu Ukiwe, Prof Anya Oko Anya, Prof. Herbart Orji, Com. Ndubuisi Kanu, Gen. Ike Nwachukwu, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa oh! My heart bleeds tears have tried out of our eyes, we are going to take our destiny in our hand and …
Where is Vincent Ogbulafor, Ojo Maduekwe, Empire Kanu, Ammb. Aguiyi Ironsi, Uzodinma Okpara, Orji Uzor Kalu, Ikechi Emenike, Tony Ewereuzo, Gen. Ihejirika, AIG Azubike Udah, Senatore Bob Nwanunnu, Senator Adolphus Wabara, Prof. Joe Irukwu, Emmanuel Adielu, Eze Ukandu, Eze Ikonne, Eze Eweremadu, Eze Onuigbo, Paul Ogwuma, Senator Onyekachi Okorafor, Rtr. Col Paul Omerua Rtr. Naval Com. Osoundu, Prof. S.O.Igwe, Prof. Ogwo Ogwo, Bob Ogbuagu, Prof. Ogbuagu, Justice Ikechi Ogbuagu and Lord Dike Udensi to mention but few. They should note that like Prof. Wole Soyinka wrote, ‘’In action becomes eloquent when it involves a deliberate avoidance of duty, a failure, in the case of any citizen in a responsible position, to take preventive action to head off anarchy and disaster’’
Save Abia Now group
(this article is unedited and is an account by residents of Aba with verifiable victims)