Bakassi Boys are popularly known in the Igbo land as a group of vigilantes which is aimed at curbing corruption, evil and violence in the society. This group of people uses dark magic in operation which guides them during operation. Through the use of their magic popularly known as juju, many evil people like criminals, ritualist and even occultic chief priest are being caught and executed predominately based on their crime.
These vigilante boys are usually armed with guns, matchet and charms for protection. They are aimed at fetching out evil people that are aimed at retarding the development of the society and tackling and curbing these vices portrayed by the evil ones.
A practice of placing a matchet on a victim’s chest to known if he is guilty or not was done by the Bakassi Boys. If the matchet turns red, it clearly means the person has committed a serious crime and he will be executed.
This vigilante group was created in1998 by traders in Nigeria in order to reduce crime and foster peace and harmony in society. Due to its success, it became of high demand in the eastern part of Nigeria according to the 2004-2005 reports and they are officially known as Imo Vigilante services, The Abia Vigilante services and the Anambra Vigilante Services.
One of the powers- “odeshi” is seen as a very mystical power in which blocks shots of bullets when being shot. Let us take a look at their history, operation and reformation in Nigeria.
History Of Bakassi Boys In Nigeria
Bakassi boys vigilante group was formed in 1998 by some group of traders in reducing crime in the community. They fought, combated and executed criminals and their activities.
They received support even from the governor then which was governor Orji uzor because he saw the way in which the Bakassi boys operated and fish out criminals and tackle them. Crime rates in other cities were still rising so the Bakassi boys were needed in these areas which include Onitsha.
It is seen that the Bakassi vigilante group got their name from the Bakassi peninsula which was an oil-rich peninsula in the Annong-Efik-Ibibio region of south-eastern Nigeria. Political opponents of the governors accused the vigilante group of extrajudicial killing and using them as weapons of intimidation.
The vigilante group has made a decision to rebrand to the Anambra state Vigilantee services.
Operation of The Vigilante group
Bakassi Boys who were initially set up with the purpose of combating crime without an explicit political agenda does its operation in a just manner.
Having set up this vigilante group, success was achieved and the rate of criminal activities was reduced and that made the traders turn their vigilante group to a permanent one. They provided them with a building to use as their headquarters and began paying them regular services.
People of this group abandoned their normal occupation and became full-time group members. They carry out different ritual activities and they make use of their various charms. This vigilante group was seen as unbeatable and its restrained effort to curb criminal activities was highly worth it. their operation also extended to other cities including Umuahia, the capital of Abia State, Owerri the capital of Imo State, and Onitsha, the large market town in Anambra State.
The Onitsha market was the second major city in which the Bakassiboys made their move. The O.M.A.T.A(Onitsha Amalgamated Traders Association) which became the precursor of the Bakassi boys operation in the city.
Reformation of The Bakassi Boys
Bakassi boys are now seen to have limited its operation due to civilization.
Their tremendous success in curbing crime was worth appreciating. The O.T.A was officially set up on September 25, 1999 with the support of the Anambra State governor. The O.T.A used brutal methods in accomplishing its mission and as a result, claimed a lot of lives even the innocent ones.
On July 2000, the traders protested against their activities and called the Anambra governor to disband O.T.A. Report has it that when the Bakassi took over from O.T.A and came to onitsha, everyone was seen celebrating as if a king arrived. There were several conflicts between the two groups and it has claimed several lives.