By Alfred Agudiebube
Residents of Aba, the commercial hub of Eastern Nigeria have vented their anger and displeasure over the unabated criminal activities in the city.
The residents lamented that they can neither sleep anymore with both eyes closed nor walk freely on the roads following incessant terror from the dreaded Aro Cult in some areas in Aba.
They alleged that most army and the police officers are collusion with the criminals which have made it very easy for them to always escape with their Keke whenever they rob people.
They pleaded with the headquarters of the Nigerian Army to make changes in the leadership and personnel deployed to Aba as criminals seem to have outsmarted the present people in charge either by collusion or by negligence to duty.
Speaking to our reporter, the residents who hailed from different axis of the city lamented specifically that the Ogbor-Hill axis Aba has been taken over by the feared and dreaded “Aro Cult” with Eziama, Azuka and Ohuru Isimiri Police Stations coupled with several army checkpoints looking helpless.
A resident who spoke anonymously for security reasons, alleged that most of the boys who are terrorising Aba and its environs know both the army and police very well and having seen how lackadaisical they are, decided took advantage of it perfectly.
“Just go through any military checkpoint in Aba, you’ll see why criminals have turned Aba into their safe haven. Their whole interest is focused on collecting money and giving change.
“Formerly it was only police we know for bribery, but these current military officers in Aba are worst I’ve ever encountered in terms of bribery and intimidation.
“Go and see what they do at Obikabia. They recruit some boys who look like criminals to be extorting money from motorists and bring to them while they play supervisory role.
“Anyone who fails to give the boys money they’ll quickly signal the soldiers who will come and play their intimidating role and money will appear.
“Can you tell me sincerely that those boys that work with them will not take advantage of such connection to terrorise the city?
“I don’t know why you press people are not telling government what’s happening in Aba as concerning some soldier boys who have turned Aba to their oil well by getting involved in trivial matters that don’t concerned them leaving security to suffer.”
Expressing his anger, another resident said, “I wonder how criminals operate freely in Aba while we have places like School Road by Ndoki Street, Park Road by Mosque Street, Ngwa Road by Ohanku, Ovom Road, Obikabia Junction, Udeagbala Road, Ariaria Junction, Brass Junction, Owerri-Aba Primary School, Ngwa High School and other army base and checkpoints?
“I’m not saying that army presence don’t matter at all, but my problem is that they have forgotten why they were placed there and now go after trivial issues.
“When will their superiors in Enugu and Abuja realise that Abia Poly girls can now call army for anybody and have someone intimidated for just a minor quarrel?
“These things are happening here and nobody is saying anything. Go to Saint Michael’s Road at the phone market there, you will see soldiers always coming to settle dispute in business transactions. They even settle relationship disputes.
“I remember last year when one of them was even beaten up by some boys who never knew he was a soldier because he was not on uniform. He later went and brought his colleagues and they came took the boys away.
“They need to transfer this set of soldiers from top to bottom to places like Borno and Yobe and bring in fresh ones who will not watch criminals use ordinary Keke to rob and escape even when there is a standby Hilux Van to pursue and catch them.”
A resident who simply gave his name as Etim said army and police can stop criminals if they want to. According to him, it will not take the two security agencies more than two weeks to arrest the real criminals terrorising the city because they know them.
“Who are these Aro Boys? Of course they leave in Aba. Do they know army or police officers? The answer is yes. A very big yes. It is the same Aro Boys that are using Keke to rob people and kill whoever recognised them with imprudence.
“Until the army and police take bold steps and arrest some of these venturesome Aro Boys and put them where they belong, nobody will trust them again.
“Today in Aba, if you have a soldier friend, you can slap anybody you like and still go ahead to invite them to beat the same person up for no reason.
“Some rich people in the city have many young soldiers in their payroll who they can unleash on you at any slightest provocation. Yes, police is corrupt, but what we are seeing among the soldiers in Aba is 100 times worst than police will ever do.
“On daily basis you see soldiers interfering in issues that even a Man’O war person will find insulting to be part of.
“People now know ladies that date soldiers and dread them like hungry lions. Our houses are on fire, but soldiers and police officers sent to quench the fire are busy chasing rats.”
FROM THE TOWER OF TRUTH