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Friday, October 23, 2020

How the murder of a Yoruba trader birthed the dreaded Bakassi Boys in Aba


 How the murder of a Yoruba trader birthed the dreaded Bakassi Boys in Aba

Bakassi Boys

Did you know the incident that led to the formation of the brutal Aba Vigilante Group aka "Aba Bakkassi" was because some Criminals robbed and killed a Yoruba woman who came to Aba on a night bus to buy shoes from her customer in the Ariaria Shoe Factory?

Ariaria International market, Aba
Cross section picture of Ariaria International market, Aba

The incident made the Shoemakers Association in Ariaria to rally up amongst themselves to hunt down and kill close to a dozen Criminals.

First, the arm robbers or thugs were all Igbo, and the shoemakers were all Igbo. The victim was a Yoruba contractor who got job to make NYSC boots and she subcontracted it to her customer/s in the Ariaria shoemaker village. 

Those days there were no mobile phones, no ATM, or mobile banking, so people travelled those days with large sums of cash. The mode of transportation over long distances was usually through Luxurious buses on night journeys. 

She got into Aba very early, it was still dark. She took a Taxi from Main Park to a hotel very close to Ariaria Market, she agreed with the Taxi man to come pick her up at daylight. 

At daylight, people saw her corpse at one of the various heaps of rubbish along the road. Fortunately, the Taxi man came back to the hotel and they denied the woman lodged there. He saw people gathered along the road, on enquiry he saw the corpse and recognised his passenger, luckily she already told him she came to see her shoemaker at Ariaria. 

The Taxi man went to the Market and told them, her customer was also expecting her. They put 1 and 2 together. They went to the hotel, it was the hotel attendant that gave information to the Criminals, they immediately mobbed the hotel attendant to death after he confessed and called names. The Criminals were notorious and most people knew them. 

In the next couple of days, all of the culprits were apprehended and mobbed to death by the Ariaria people. This was how the Abia Vigilante Group aka "Aba Bakkassi" started. 

Bakassi boys in action
Bakassi boys in action

I don't want to say much, but I doubt if an Igbo trader would have gotten justice elsewhere.

By Ngozi Ojukwu

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