Residents of Aba Metropolis on Thursday morning witnessed what many described as unprovoked attack from men and officers of Aba Area Command of the Nigeria Police Force.
Witness Magazine learnt that police officers from the Aba Area Command went on rampage, beating, harassing, destroying vehicles and tricycles in what appeared to be retaliation for the alleged beating of their colleague by some unidentified people.
The incident which started as early as 8am, led to total blockade on all the roads linking the Aba Police Area Command, Aba Prisons, Aba Central Police Station as well as the Aba General Hospital.
Shops in the vicinity, especially super markets and pharmaceutical shops where many residents patronise daily quickly shutdown, as sporadic shooting continued to rent the air for many hours.
At Asa Road by Mosque Street, Milverton Avenue and Park Road, soldiers took control of them. Many people, who were caught up in the melee, were forced to raise their hands while moving.
A victim of the police brutality, Longinus Ibeh said he was only taking his breakfast at Azikiwe Road when suddenly; a team of police officers attacked and damaged his tricycle, adding that they took the tricycle to the Aba Area Command.
“I was where I went to eat, all of a sudden; a team of policemen arrived, shooting guns all over the air, harassing people, spraying teargas! People ran for their dear lives. We thought it was over not knowing that they’re going to come with something that looks like reinforcement.
“They destroyed my brand new tricycle and took it away without any offence. What did I do to police to warrant this treatment? No provocation at all”, he informed.
Some residents of the city who were on the road when the incident occurred were regrettably stranded.
Many found it difficult to get to their destinations or return home as heavily armed policemen took over the streets.
According to a witness, “Rumours of Aba being the next target after Owerri episode were rife, and it is only a tree that will hear that it’ll be cut down and it remain. Everybody knows what this place represents in Aba and no Aba man will want this place to fall because here is the security base of Aba.
“The Correctional Centre is here, Police Area Command Aba is here, Police Divisional Headquarters Aba is here, DSS office is here, Aba High Court and Aba South Magistrate Court are all close here. Virtually everything that has to do with security and safety in Aba is here and even police clinic is also here”.
A source disclosed that the cause of the police harassment is as a result of a fight between a police officer and a driver at Ama-Ogbonna axis of Aba, adding that the officer noticing he has been overpowered called his colleagues for help.
Efforts made to get to the police image maker in the state, Geoffrey Ogbonna react to the incident failed as he phone was busy as at time of filing the report.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.