Posted by Webby on
Friday 27th September, 2002
By Vincent Ujumadu
ABA, ABIA—TRADERS in the commercial city of Aba have called for the reinstatement of the embattled Abia State Vigilante Service, alias Bakassi Boys, in the state to reduce the increasing rate of armed robbery since the outfit was dislodged by the police two months ago.The call came on the heels of the presentation of a bill on the legislation of the existence of Bakassi Boys in the state by the executive arm of government to the state House of Assembly. President of Abia state Market Traders Association (ASMATA), Elder Uwakwe Okoronkwo said after a meeting in Aba that the entire traders in the city have unanimously agreed that Bakassi Boys should be reintroduced to assist the police in fighting crime.
According to the ASMATA chairman, police alone cannot address the problem of crime and called on the Inspector-General of Police to take another look into the situation with a view to using the state vigilante service in flushing out hoodlums who have turned the city into robbers' den. Okoronkwo recalled that the problem of Bakassi Boys began when it dabbled into domestic matters which, he added, earned it a bad image and hoped that members of the outfit would be properly screened before being employed in future.
Meanwhile, the state government has proposed a bill to legalise the existence of Bakassi Boys in the state. The bill which has already passed the second reading in the House of Assembly, would fine-tune the operations of the vigilante group to avoid the problems which trailed its activities in the past. Most of the lawmakers who spoke on the bill supported its existence, but warned that members should be properly trained in the act of providing security for lives and property. Speaker of the House, Chief Stanley Ohajuruka later referred the bill to the committee of the whole house to expedite action on it.
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