Ogbonnaya Ndukwe, Aba
October 21 and 22, 2020, would go down in history as days of madness in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State also called Enyimba City.
By the time the #EndSARS protest, ostensibly hijacked by hoodlums had ended in Aba, some strategic buildings and institutions were badly damaged including the historic Aba Town Hall, which also served as secretariat of Aba South Local Government.
Miscreants had reduced the famous building to rubbles while the Chief Magistrate’s Court on Pound Road Extension, Aba Dental Hospital and the Aba South Primary Healthcare Centre were not spared as they also set them ablaze. The attackers carted away office furniture, electric fans and refrigerators, drugs, diagnostic testing kits and x-ray machines, among others.
Commissioner of Police, Mrs Janet Agbede, said the hoodlums killed two policemen and burnt their bodies to ashes; vandalised and set fire on the former Police Zone 6 office annex as well as destroyed 102 vehicles.
Also torched were branches of First Bank Nigeria Plc along Faulks Road and another at Ehi Road, Access Bank and Union Bank on Ngwa Road. Hoodlums also destroyed the Traffic and Indiscipline Management Agency of Abia State (TIMAAS), Aba Area office on Ogbor Hill.
A supposed warehouse where bags of rice and other palliatives for COVID-19 were allegedly stored within the Aba Town Hall Complex was also vandalised.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu after assessment tour of the affected areas, expressed shock at the level of destruction and doubted if his administration would be able to replace all that were destroyed within its tenure. He set up a committee to ascertain the level of havoc in the state. The committee headed by Chief Chimaobi Ebisike and made up of 13 other members was given 12 weeks to turn in its report.
Traditional rulers of Aba na Ohazu, the indigenous people of Aba South Local Government, who toured the destruction sites with stakeholders, women leaders and youth leaders poured invectives on those behind the mayhem. Chairman, Aba South Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Ibe Enyeazu, (Ogele-Ukwu) of Umuogele Kingdom, said he could not hold his tears when he saw how the revered Aba Town Hall was vandalised and burnt:
“Our people are crying. I am also crying because the disaster that took place in this our local government headquarters is painful. They looted the Chamber of Aba South Council of Traditional Rulers and set everything ablaze. Since we were born, we have never seen such evil. All the places where protest took place, none witnessed what we are seeing here.
“This is the handwork of evil people we welcomed in our land. How can people destroy a land that welcomed them in this manner? Any youth involved in this destruction doesn’t want to grow old.”
Eze Monday Ugbor (Eze-Ukwu Omereoha II of Aba) said: “Out of the entire country, aside Lagos, no place suffered what Aba South recorded. We express our deep concern and we curse those who did this evil. If we did this kind of thing in their own areas, God will bless them, but if we didn’t do anything like this in their own areas, God will never forgive them.
“Our forefathers accommodated everybody notwithstanding your tribe or religion. We see no reason we should be visited with such a calamity by people we embraced.”