Pro-Government Militias

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Abia State Vigilante Group aka Bakassi Boys (Nigeria)

Name assigned by coder: no
PGM ID Number: 410
Country: Nigeria
Date formed: July 1, 1999
Details of Formation: The Bakassi Boys vigilante group initially emerged as a spontaneous popular initiative to protect property rights and fill the gap in state security provision. It was captured by politics in 2000 and after some violent incidents, the Bakassi Boys were introduced as the states' security outfit Abia State Vigilanta Group aka Bakassi Boys.
Date dissolved: Aug. 1, 2002
Details of Termination: The attempt to ban the group in 2000 by the President was opposed and immediately withdrawn. It was only in August 2002 that the federal government passed a bill that outlawed Bakassi. Bakassi vigilantes were arrested and their bases closed down in police raids carried out in early August 2002.
Successor group(s): Anambra State Vigilante Group aka Onitsha Vigilante Group aka Bakassi Boys
Private Military Company? no
Government Relation: type2
Government Link(s): person/minister; sub-national government
Training and Equipment yes
Shared Information and Joint Operations yes
Shared personnel no
Types of Material Support: domestic government; merchant's guild
State Sponsor(s): none
Other Connection(s):
Membership: no information
Location: Abia state, Aba, Anambra State
Force Strength: [unknown, unknown]
Target(s): criminals
Purpose(s): protect property and investment; self-defense and security; anti crime
Other Information: -before 2000, Bakassi was strictly non-political. Also, there is no statement that it endorses or opposes the government. In this respect, the pre-type-2 PGAG Bakassi group cannot be attributed the status of a type-1 PGAG. -The area where they originated was nick-named Bakassi because it used to be a subject of bitter dispute between Osisioma Local Government Area, Ugwunagbo Local Government Area and the Ariaria International Market, all in Abia State. The two governments and the market all laid claims to the ownership of the area. The name stuck and all the shoemakers whose shops are situated in the area have come to be called Bakassi Boys, so that Bakassi Boys are almost synonymous with shoemakers. Abia Bakassi boys later on also active in Anambra State, linked to Anambra State Vigilante Group, who was separate, but also called Bakassi Boys.