A cross section of Aba residents in Abia State have decried the continuous and unhindered raids of different parts of the town by armed robbers who terrorise the people.
Some of the residents who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria in Aba on Tuesday said that within one month, robbers had hit Abayi, Ogbor Hill and other parts of the city unfettered.
The complaint was a reaction to a robbery attack that took place in a betting office at number 18, Asa Road by St Michael’s Road, which is a few metres from a military checkpoint on Monday.
A source who spoke to NAN in anonymity said that the robbery, which took place about 6pm on Monday, inflicted severe bullet injuries on a betting house staff as well as several passersby.
The source said the robbers made away with a huge sum of money from the betting office and escaped without hindrance.
He said the armed robbers, who were four in number, came in a tricycle and shot sporadically to scare people away before robbing the betting shop without any response from a nearby military checkpoint.
He also said the robbers, who were not challenged, seized the opportunity to attack most of the mobile phone shops at Saint Michael’s Road and took away many phones using polyethylene bags.
He said: “It is high time our government looked into what is really happening in this Aba.
“What is the work of these soldiers who mount checkpoints everywhere?
“Just look at their checkpoint at Park Road and tell me if an ordinary whistle from here would not be heard at that checkpoint?
“These armed robbers attacked and shot severally into the air without any response from them.
“All they know is to use motorcycle to go into the city to settle relationship matters and business disputes, leaving the city unsecured.”
Another resident, Adindu Amarachukwu, described the incident as unfortunate, saying it happened in a place that should ordinarily be considered secured.
Amarachukwu said the robbery scene was close to a military base and the Aba Central Police Station, yet they did not come out during the robbery.
He said: “They claim they were carrying out Operation Puff Adder and yet armed robbers are terrorising us here.
“Yesterday, a young man who grabbed one of the robbers while calling for help was shot by one of the robbers because he could not get help from anybody until one of the robbers came to rescue his colleague by shooting him on the leg.
“It was later when the robbery was over that the young man was taken to the police clinic at Aba Area Command.”
Amarachukwu urged the Abia State Government to consider re-establishing a vigilante group similar to what the city had around 1999.
He said the state of insecurity in Aba was about what it was in the early 1990s, which led the then government to establish the Abia State Vigilante Group called Bakassi that reduced security threat.
He said: “From what I am seeing now, nobody in this Aba is safe.
“Neither can we trust these military men and police here in Aba because they are no longer interested in security jobs.”
When contacted, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, Abia State Police Public Relations Officer, confirmed the incident.
Ogbonna added that there was no life lost as injured persons were responding to treatments.