The Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has resurrected the dreaded Bakassi Boys to all rural communities of the State. 10 youths from each community will be nominated by chiefs and their names forwarded to the commissioner in charge of Local Government Affairs. From there, Bakassi boys will train these youths before sending them back to their host communities as local vigilante.
According to Dr. Okezie, “My dear brothers and sisters, I have been informed of the very unfortunate incident that happened in Aba, the commercial town of our dear state today, where a soldier killed a meat-seller at the popular abattoir located at the Ogbohill area of Aba.
“I condemn the act that led to the untimely death of this brother. I associate myself with his family in this moment of pains and loss, even as I commiserate with traders in the market. The solider who perpetrated this act has been arrested and taken into custody.
“I call on the people of Abia, especially those of us in Aba, to remain calm. I reassure all citizens of the state that the government is doing everything to protect lives and property of citizens from any attack.
“I have instructed and equipped security agencies in the state to ensure watertight security around our boarders and towns against any form of attack.
“I have directed that the men of the Abia State Vigilante Services (AVS), popularly known as Bakassi, to commence, with immediate effect, a two week intensive training, for onward deployment to our communities to assist in community policing under the supervision of the Commissioner of Police.
Bakassi Boys arose as a vigilante group simultaneous with sharp increases in the crime rate of Abia State. They originally enjoined the support of the governor, Orji Uzor Kalu. He sensed the effectiveness of the group in combating the merciless crimes in Aba and environs.
However, political opponents of some governors accused the group of extra-judicial killings, and accused governors of using the “Boys” as weapons of intimidation. As a result of heightened opposition, the group disbanded.