Following the recent attacks on police formations in Aba, and a curfew placed by the state government, residents of Aba, the commercial hub of Eastern Nigeria, have cried out over what they termed incessant arrests and intimidation by police in Aba Area Command.
Three police officers were killed in Aba recently, which led to the imposition of the curfew.
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Bustle, hustle inside the famous Wukari Yam Market
The residents expressed fear that the killing of the three officers may have turned the police against innocent citizens.
“Attacking of police stations and killing of law enforcement agents is dangerous for our society, but should that now make police to see the residents as enemies? What have our people done to them?
“Abia State government said tricycle and motorcycle riders should stop work by 7pm, the police twisted it as if there is curfew in Aba. They arrest people anyhow and extort them. Something must be done because I don’t see why men who are paid every month should convert innocent residents to their ATM. With this kind of behaviour, how can they gain public confidence,” said a resident who craved anonymity.
Another resident, Mr. Clement Nwafor, said he narrowly escaped being arrested by the police from the command.
Nwafor said the officers, who operated in an unmarked vehicle along MCC road and Old-Express road always took residents by surprise, as many usually thought the minibus was a commercial vehicle only for them to end up getting arrested.
“The streets of Aba may soon become deserted in the evenings. The extortion is too much. The indiscriminate arrests at MCC, World Bank Estate, Umuojima road and Old-Express road since the attack on Abayi Police Station, is the worst I have ever seen. It is like the police here have been waiting for such opportunity to pour out their anger on Aba residents,” he said.
The police spokesman in Abia State, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, has dismissed the allegations as untrue.
“That can’t be true, our men are well trained and highly professional in the discharge of their duties.
“As you know, in the state there is a curfew and everyone is expected to obey the directive of the governor. The allegations are untrue and I urge Abians to disregard them,” he said.