By Ugochukwu Alaribe
Residents of Aba, Abia State, have decried the increasing spate of insecurity in the city and are accusing soldiers and policemen of not putting enough to stem the tide.
They alleged that most soldiers and policemen posted to provide security in the city have abandoned their duties to extort money from motorists, as the criminals mostly operate freely using tricycles.
In an interview with Vanguard, residents lamented that they can no longer sleep with both eyes closed, following the criminal activities of the dreaded Aro Cult boys in some parts of Aba.
They called on authorities of the Nigerian Army to make changes in the personnel deployed to Aba, as criminals seem to have outsmarted them while the soldiers are now engaged in settling civilian matters, such as a collection of debts.
A resident of Ogbor Hill, Mr. Austine Igwe, lamented that the Aro cult boys have taken over the area, dispossessing residents of their handsets, cash and other valuables in broad daylight.
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 demanded anonymity for security reasons said the boys, who are terrorising Aba and its environs know both the Army and Police very well and having seen how nonchalant they are, took advantage of it perfectly.
“Just go through any military checkpoint in Aba, you will see why criminals have turned Aba into their safe haven,” the resident said
Their interest is no longer to fight criminals but to position small boys to collect money from motorists. Soldiers are now engaged in collecting debts and settling disputes. These soldiers in Aba are worst we have ever encountered in terms of bribery and intimidation of residents.
“Go to areas like Opobo road, Obikabia road; you will see these soldiers supervising the small boys collecting money for them. Anyone who fails to give the boys will be molested. You journalists are not reporting accurately on the increasing insecurity in Aba. Any security agent posted to Aba is only interested in extorting motorists. This is why they find their way back when they are transferred out of the city.”
Another resident who preferred anonymity said, ”I wonder how criminals can operate freely in Aba even in the area military checkpoints 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. It is shocking that the Aro cult boys freely rob with tricycles and the security agents are not able to arrest them.
The residents insisted the soldiers and policemen posted to the city have the capacity to check the Aro cult boys terrorizing the city if they only they could take their jobs serious.
“Who are these Aro Boys? Of course, they live in Aba. It is the same Aro Boys that are using Keke to rob people and kill. Until the soldiers and police take bold steps to arrest these Aro Boys, there would be no peace in Aba. ”