“If things continue like this without immediate intervention by government, Aba will become history. See how they destroyed many banks close to Ahia-Ohuru hoping that they’ll get money from the ATM Machines there.” Mr. Okezie Uche, Aba Zonal Commander of the Abia State Fire Service, told our reporter that the level of damage recorded by the agency is unprecedented.
He stressed that the attackers have finally made Aba, a city without any functional fire truck nor a single firefighting material, as they set everything ablaze, not considering the role Fire Service plays in the society. “So far, so bad! Aba Fire Service as of today has been destroyed.
They’ve vandalized everything, destroyed the fire truck and all our equipment is gone. All the left over materials here were brought out and burnt. “They came with bottles and machetes to hurt our staff, but God in his infinite mercy saved our lives.
This firefighting truck destroyed here today has a capacity of 24,000,000 gallons, and it’s estimate price should be about N350million. “They’ve burnt it and it’s gone. The equipment they destroyed in this office is about N20million. So, when you put that together, you’ll see why we’re all weeping inside because this is a monumental loss. “The repercussions of this terrible act are not going to be easy for anybody to deal with. We’re embarking on a dry season and you know what fire does during that period.
Aba as a city is just hanging. A lot of people use Petroleum products like gas wrongly and you know the consequences. “Few months ago, our functional vehicle was vandalized and destroyed at Ariaria. Now, this one that we’ve been looking for a way to put back into use has been destroyed as well.
What are going to work with? The answer is nothing. “So, as it stands now, Aba as a city does not have a firefighting truck whether functional or non-functional. What I’m telling our people is that now that Harmattan is approaching, only God can save us here.
“They said they want to destroy government facilities but they forgot it’s also theirs, not just government. We’re covering nine Local Government Areas and you can imagine what will happen to these areas should there be any fire outbreak,” he said. Meanwhile, the Abia State Police Command has paraded 21 suspected looters, arsonists and alleged killers of two police officers in Aba, who hijacked the #EndSARS protest to perpetrate crime.
CP Janet Agbede, the state Police Commissioner, while parading the suspects at the Command Headquarters, Umuahia, said: “On Tuesday October 20, 2020, the #EndSARS protesters murdered two police officers, beheaded and burnt one of them to ashes. “They also robbed them of their arms. The hoodlums looted and burnt a building housing a unit of the police at old Zone 6 Annex, Aba.”
She added that the hoodlums also attempted attack on police stations simultaneously and the Umuahia Correctional Centre with the intent to set them ablaze but were repelled by a combined team of the police and military. “However, following a distress call, a combined team of the police and the military repelled them.”
Agbede also said her men had recovered “one FNC rifle with 12 rounds of live ammunition and other weapons of violence in connection with the killings, looting and burnings.” She assured the people that the police will continue to work hard to ensure security of lives and property in Abia State.
Economy of Abia State and individuals Both government and individuals economy have been affected by the ugly situation. With the destruction of Local Government Secretariats, burning of many state agencies, government economic activities have been crippled. A worker at Abia Board of Internal Revenue (BIR) office located at Aba South LGA, who prefers anonymity, said that with the level of vandalism that took place in their Abia office, it may take years for the office to be functional again, as both soft and hardcopy documents were destroyed.
New Telegraph reports that traders are lamenting the absence of customers at various markets in Aba, due to curfew in some neigbouring states, while some residents finds it very difficult to even get cash for normal daily purchases. Banks are shut down, ATMs are locked, POS operators are currently having the best time of their lives, as many of them charge N500 for every N5,000 Abia State Government, through Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi-Kalu, noted with dismay the destruction and looting that took place during the hijacked #EndSARS protest.
The government frowned at how Abia State Dental Centre, Aba, and Primary Health Authority office in Aba South LGA, will looted by hoodlums who hijacked the otherwise peaceful #End- SARS protests and made away with vaccines, X-ray machines, sterilizers, air conditioners, fans and other equipment as well as disposables and consumables. He appealed to those who looted the items to return them within seven days to the relevant offices with information on the location of the items.
“Kindly note that most of the Primary Health Care and Dental equipment are trackable and will certainly be recovered in due course if not voluntarily returned. “Members of the public are hereby warned not to buy or use any of the stolen items or procure such items from unauthorized persons to avoid getting into trouble with the law.”