1152 views | Kenechukwu Ofomah | June 17, 2021
Awka – The dreaded Bakassi Boys known for their practice of trial by ordeal and jungle justice are not back in Anambra State.
Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C-Don Adinuba disclosed this on Wednesday, in an exclusive chat with TNC correspondent in Awka.
The Bakassi Boys regime which lasted and was widely celebrated during the administration of former Anambra Governor, Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju between the year 2000 and 2002, witnessed public execution of suspected criminals across major cities of Anambra State.
Although the end days of the outfit were alleged to have been characterized by crime and political killings, the Bakassi Boys were acclaimed to have wiped out some of the most dreaded criminals in the commercial city of Onitsha and other cities in the state.
On Monday, a video surfaced online showing security men dressed in Bakassi-like uniform arresting some notorious cultists and criminals in Awka, Anambra State Capital.
About five of them were later killed and burned with tyres on their necks, at various spots, in a manner typical of the Bakassi Boys.
But the Anambra Information Commissioner has denied that the Bakassi Boys security outfit is not in Anambra State, and will not be used again in the state, as their methods defy common sense and due process.
Adinuba explained that what happened was that a number of youths in collaboration with the Vigilante Outfit rose against the spate of killings and cult activities in the state capital.
“An unidentified amateur video photographer has made a video claiming that the controversial security outfit known as Bakassi Boys, which was two decades ago used in Abia and Anambra states when the two neighbouring states were almost overrun by violent criminals, is back, this time in Awka, the Anambra State capital. The video quickly went viral because of its sensational appeal. A section of even the mainstream media has publicized the video, thus giving it a veneer of credibility.
“Anambra State Government would like to state that the Bakassi Boys security outfit is not in Anambra State, and will not be used again in the state. Anambra State remains the safest state in the country, despite the eight security breaches of the past few months which received enormous publicity. The people and Government of Anambra State are proud of the record of security agencies in the state which have substantially overcome the challenges of the last few months.
“What the journalists and some members of the public innocently confused with Bakassi Boys’ return to the state is a noble effort of some Awka indigenes to fish out cultists in the community who have attempted to capitalize on the inadequate number of policemen on patrol in the town in the last few months to fight themselves with dangerous weapons. The fights among cultists resulted in some casualties. Awka youth, appalled by the sad development in their peaceful hometown, decided to fish out the cultists from their residences and hideouts,” he explained.
The Anambra Information Commissioner said any person who watches the video to the end will certainly see two vans which belong to the Anambra Vigilante Group right in the scene and therefore, cannot mistake the AVG for the unorthodox security outfit which was outlawed several years ago.
According to him, “whereas Bakassi Boys used to arrest suspects, tried them within minutes and executed them in broad daylight in a most savage manner, the AVG is a modern security outfit created by law. It neither tries nor sentences suspects. A stickler for due process, the AVG cannot tolerate lawlessness. It works in close collaboration with the traditional ruler and president general of each of the 179 communities in the state but also the Nigeria Police Force. In fact, the AVG chairman is Mr Ikechukwu Aduba, a fantastic gentleman, author and historian who used to be an excellent police commissioner.”
Adinuba advised people of the state to go about their normal business, maintaining that the state remains peaceful and calm.