Soldiers, Policemen At War In Aba
Hell was let loose on Monday evening in Aba, Abia state as more than fifty
soldiers invaded the Aba Area Command of the Police threatening to burn
down the station if they did not produce a policeman who allegedly slapped
Trouble started when a policeman in company of his pregnant wife who is
also a police officer, rammed their Mercedes Benz car into another car
driven by a man in mufti later identified as Captain Abubakar who was also
in company of his colleague.
According to eyewitness accounts, the soldiers got out of their car
demanding to know why the policeman hit their car. The situation was said
to have led to an exchange of words between both parties with one of the
soldiers landing a slap on the policemen.
Angered by the action, the policeman returned the slap while the soldier
pulled a gun threatening to shoot but was held back by the wife of the
policeman who insisted that they be shot together.
The exchange which held up traffic at the Jubilee road junction near the
old site of the Abia State University Teaching Hospital(ABSUTH), a
shouting distance from the Aba Area Command, attracted some policemen who
ran back to inform their colleague about the development.
Another group of Policemen converged at the scene pleading with the
soldiers to let go of the incident since both parties should work
together. But unknown to them, one of the soldiers had contacted their
colleagues who stormed with area with an Armoured personnel Carrier
(APC)and five Hilux jeeps.
On arriving at the gate of the Aba Area Command, the angry soldiers
started beating anyone they on sight, including policemen. Even shop
owners and passersby were not spared as they were horse whipped.
The policemen who ran for cover were said to have been embarrassed when
their colleague simply identified as DSP Rotimi was stabbed on his head
and hands. The policemen ran into the Area Command and brought out guns
even as another Hilux jeep filled with soldiers landed at the area.
Rotimi was said to be discussing with an Army captain on how to settle the
matter when a soldier pulled a dagger and stabbed his hand and head.
The situation further enraged policemen who also brought out their own
APC, blocked the gate of their premises and started shooting tear gas.
Some of them went into the premises and returned with guns, threatening to
return fire for fire.
The incident which lasted more than two hours would have degenerated but
for the intervention of the Aba Area Commander, ACP Tunde Mobayo who
rushed back to the Command to douse the situation. Sources hinted that the
erstwhile Area Commander in Aba, ACP Rabiu Dayi who is on transfer to Edo
state Command was contacted to help douse the situation. Dayi was said to
have contacted some of the soldiers he worked with at Aba, some of whom
expressed surprise that he didn't inform them that he has gone on
A policeman who spoke on the condition of anonymity told
Pointblanknews.com that one of the irate soldiers almost attacked the Area
Commander who was on mufti, but was stopped by his colleague who
identified the former.
Sources said a senior police officer also contacted one Major Bello who
serves as the head of the Army Unit at Ngwa road, Aba who also stormed the
scene and pulled out his men who threatened to burn down the offices of
the Aba Area Command unless they produce the officer who slapped their
“We are not happy that soldiers will attack us at every opportunity, even
when their colleague was the wrong party. How can they attack us at our
office every time? We refused to be intimidated, that is why we stood up
to them. It would have been deaths on both sides if they crossed our
gate,” a cross section of MOPOL men told Pointblanknews.com
When the fracas died down, not less than 2 policemen and 5 shop owners and
passersby sustained injuries inflicted on them by soldiers.
According to one of the injured shop owners, a patent medicine dealer, “I
was attending to a customer when soldiers came into my shop, asked me what
I was doing there and used their horse whip on me. I ran away. Even Keke
riders and other people who were going through Hospital road at that time
were beaten mercilessly. They even collected our money, everybody closed
shop and ran away”
As at the time of filing this report, the injured policemen were said to
have been invited to the office of the state Commissioner of Police,
Alhaji Usman Tilli Abubakar at Umuahia, the state capital.
Abia Police spokesman, ASP Ogbonna Geoffrey who described the incident as
unfortunate, added that it has been resolved as the two agencies will
continue to work together to maintain law and order in the state.