By. Ferdinand Ekeoma
Many families in Aba have in the last few weeks been served very bitter pills of sorrow, sadness and anguish arising from the gruesome murder of their children, wards and loved ones by callous criminals who have fearlessly carried out unprecedented reign of terror on innocent Aba residents. As at the last count, report had it that seven armed robbery attacks targeted at POS operators alone have occurred in the last three weeks, leaving two dead and three injured persons in the hospitals.
In what looks like a daring audacity, these criminals most times do not just storm very busy parts of the city to carry out their attacks, they do so in broad day light, with senseless swag and bestial braggadocio, unfortunately they have found innocent men and women, especially vulnerable POS operators and petty traders as their most vulnerable preys.
Their usual easy escape in tricycles in spite of bad roads and gridlocks associatede with Aba, exposes the poor security situation in the city.
Their latest victim is Miss Ezinne Grace Iroh whose picture appears here, and who until her death was said to be a POS operator around the Ogbor Hill axis. Her death is coming less than two weeks after another female POS operator was killed at Market road Aba by armed robbers as well.
No citizen deserves to have his or her life gruesomely cut short, much more innocent residents carrying out their legitimate businesses for economic survival, hence the need for the necessary authorities to swiftly swing into action and ensure that the rampaging barbarians shading innocent blood of citizens are brought to justice.
Since these criminals most times use tricycles as means of movement, there should be strong and more coordinated collaboration amongst security agents and key state government institutions with the aim of liaising with Aba residents to identify the modus operandi of these criminals, their hideouts and their common escape routes, as that implies that their temporary hideouts could be a few kilometres away from the spots of attack.
As big as Aba is ,and in spite of the challenges posed by bad roads, yet the city doesn’t have slums that are too isolated from residential areas that may serve as an impenetrable safe havens for the criminals if security agents and Abia state government agencies decide to confront them with sincerity and seriousness, therefore the aforementioned authorities should sit down and critically and carefully craft a strategy and come up with measures that could enable them identify the hideouts of these criminals with a view to storming such hideouts and apprehending them.
Another crime induced “virus” in the city which must be tackled is the activities of touts and illegal residents. Lured by illegal motor parks and illegal revenue collections which have become synonymous with Aba, many homeless and jobless individuals devoid of real identities and good intentions now see Aba as a destination point for them to migrate to, dwell and commit all kinds of heinous crimes without being questioned. The atmosphere of chaos and insanity seen at Aba main park, Osisioma junction, Ngwa Road New market axis, Ogbor Hill Water Side axis and other strategic parts of the city, says a lot about what is being done wrongly and what needs to be done right in Aba to get rid of most of these criminals.
The present security challenges confronting the city of Aba and some other parts of the state like the Isuikwuato axis should be confronted with utmost sincerity and seriousness so that the criminals behind these orgy of violence would not succeed in crippling the economy of the state.
Government should learn to be proactive enough and not wait for our cities and citizens to be overrun by rampaging criminals before responding to its responsibilities.
With what has happened in Aba in the last few weeks one had expected the state government to have been comprehensively briefed by the relevant authorities to the extent that it would have issued a strong worded statement and followed it up with inspiring practical measures that could bring some hope and relief to the citizens, and frighten the criminals, instead of always waiting for citizens to go on social media to express their frustration and hopelessness before commencing action with the usual snail speed.
While we condemn the recent killings and send our condolences to the families of the victims, we should know that the best message of Rest In Peace that can be acceptable to the dead and their families is to ensure that their killers don’t enjoy peace until they are arrested and made to pay for their crimes.
By Ferdinand Ekeoma