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Criminals a.k.a. Shila Boys in Adamawa

Apart from kidnapping and some attacks by Boko Haram insurgents, Adamawa State faces a security threat from the Shila Boys.

Shila Boys started their operations in the year 2017.

Shila Boys are boys between the ages of 12 and 27, who snatch phones, bags, money, etc. from people, especially young girls and ladies.

Initially, when the Shila Boys started, they used to hang around the main entrance gate of the famous phone market known as Shopping Complex, Yola, around Bank road, (Galadima Aminu Way), Atiku Abubakar way, Police round-about Park along Yola town road, near Jimeta Modern Market and Yola Main market with sharp knives, cutlasses and machetes before they graduated to using Keke-NAPEP.

Before now, Shila Boys had their dress code that most people and security operatives could identify them.

They used to wear punk or old school hair cut style, with rubber t-shirts, jeans or very tight trousers and high-heeled male shoes.

Unfortunately, the government did not take drastic measures on them and people used to fear those boys a lot.

These bad boys started increasing during festive periods, where they capitalise on the historic misunderstanding between Yola North and Yola South and whenever they meet at centres like Zoo, Duragi Hotel and Wetsland Park.

In the year 2018, during Eid-el Fitri, the Shila Boys became intermediaries that ignited a fight, which led to many injured and causing security personnel to take charge of the area.

From that time, the government started setting eyes on the boys especially in crowded places and security agencies began arresting many of them.

But it was alleged that whenever these boys were arrested some well-to-do individuals used to secure bail for them.

In fact, many youths have confessed that the criminal activities of the Shila Boys were part of the the reasons they voted out the past administration.

On 29th May 2019, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, the newly sworn in governor of Adamawa state, during his inaugural speech gave the Shila Boys maximum of two weeks to repent or face the wrath of the law.

Two days later, immediately after the first security meeting, the governor led security agencies to “Sambisa” the famous hide out of the criminals.

The new administration came up with strong anti-criminal outfit known as “Operation Farauta.”

With the advent of “Operation Farauta”, criminality and crime was reduced drastically, where the boys changed style by using Keke-NAPEP on major roads of both Yola North and Yola South including Yola southern bypass, Yola North bypass, Wuro Chekke round-about and Abuja road.

During the lockdown, their activities reduced a little, but also they changed methods by using streets between towns and wards of the state.

Karewa and Bekaji of Bachure Ward became the main spots.

Recently, the boys became stronger and resumed spending time at the main entrance gate of Jimeta Modern Market, Bekaji, Shagari ward and Wuro Chekke of Yola South.

As a result, youths of both Yola South and North started attacking and embarked on burning those boys and their Keke NAPEPs, in wards like Jambutu, Demsawo, Nasarawo and Wuro Chekke.

That action taken by the aggrieved youths became the topic of discussion and spotlight by the media.

Unfortunately, these Shila Boys have now transformed to the level of blocking roads and attacking commuters on the major roads of Bekkaji, Wuro Chekke and Shagari ward of Yola South.

However, before the last administration, there was nothing like that in the state.

Some stakeholders have alleged that the main reason for such criminals and their evil acts was the absence of recreational centres like TTS and LASS programmes designed by the Admiral Nyako Administration.

Usman Ahmad Mohammed, is of the Adamawa Broadcasting Corporation ABC, Yola    usmanahmadmohammed26@gmail.com

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