Jonathan Sends Soldiers To Aba, Traders Call For Emergency

Aba residents fleeing the city which is under siege by armed robbers and kidnappers. PHOTO: JUDE ORJI.

Passengers at a motor park

President Goodluck Jonathan has deployed soldiers to Aba, the Abia State capital, South  East Nigeria as the state slides into anarchy.

•Aba residents fleeing the city which is under siege by armed robbers and kidnappers. PHOTO: JUDE ORJI.

Reports have it that the soldiers, who have arrived the commercial city, have opened the  Aba- Port Harcourt highway which had been deserted because of the siege on the city by  armed robbers and kidnappers.

Traders have also called for a state of emergency to be declared following the terror  being unleashed on the residents by armed robbers and kidnappers.

The once bubbling commercial nerve centre is being deserted as residents are fleeing the  city in droves.

The traders have begun a week-long strike to protest the increasing state of insecurity  in the wake of the kidnap of 15 school children on Monday and closure of  banks because  of incessant raids by armed robbers.Aba has been  under siege by criminal gangs for  months now. Armed robbery attacks and incessant raping of under-aged and the aged are now  the order of the day.

On Monday kidnappers seized 15 pupils of Abayi International School in Isi-ala Ngwa Local  Government Area of Abia State on their way to school.

All banks are closed following the killing of an Engineer from South-West  working in  Ogbo Hill area of the besieged city on Monday 27 September.

Bank workers in the city dominated by people from the South West have vowed to stay away  from work and asked their kinsmen to leave Aba before 4 October and will not return  unless government brings the situation to normal.

A survey across the city showed that Aba Welfare Organization of Market Association,  AWOMA, comprising 75 trading unions doing business in the streets of Aba, started one  week strike on  Monday 27 September to protest the increasing insecurity in the city.

“After 4 October, if the situation does not improve, the strike will continue. We want  the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in Aba. Everybody is dying,’’  declared a trader who pleaded anonymity.

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Investigations revealed that the criminal gangs have taken over all the entry and points  into the city. The flash points include-Asa\Umunka, Obeyi junction along Port Harcourt  Expressway. Another gang is at Ogbo Hill leading to Akwa Ibom, Isiala Ngwa-Umuahia road  and Ariaria \Tonimas Junction. Their modus operandi include striking in military, police  or Bakassi Boys uniforms or in mufti.

The situation has gone so bad that each street has its own kidnappers’ gang and notices  are served house to house with a special amount each landlord must pay, depending on how  big his house or compound is.

The rates range from N500, 000, N1m, N2m, N3m, N4m and N5m and above. Virtually all the  landlords in the city have been forced to flee to their to villages.

P.M.NEWS gathered that the kingpin of the gangs is known as Osisi ka Nkwu (meaning   a  tree that is bigger than palm tree). He is said to be son of the soil and his second in  command popularly known as  ‘STONE’.

His boss Osisi ka Ngwu, may have been settled by the government to pipe low and has  ceased fire, while STONE refused to lay down his arms because he wants something bigger  from the powers that be. He is said to be from Imo State.

The State Vigilante Services-BAKASSI BOYS are accused of killing innocent people and  allegedly selling their parts for rituals.

There was a reported incident where a boy was asked to rape his mother but was killed  when he refused to do so. Everybody in the city blames the unfortunate situation on the  politics of the state.

Government officials are also accused of having a hand in the ugly situation thereby not  wanting it to stop.

P.M.NEWS further learnt that the Anti-Terrorist Squad is not empowered to rout the gangs  thereby complicating the ugly situation as they watch helplessly at the suffering people.

When P.M.NEWS  went around the city yesterday, security operatives were not seen in major  bus stops. However, with the arrival of soldiers, a measure of security is expected to be  restored to the once thriving commercial city.