Onitsha Traders Association Vigilante Group (Nigeria)

Country: Nigeria
Details of Formation: It is the security arm of the Onitsha Traders Association. It was founded in November 1999 to reduce crime in Onitsha.
Details of Termination: The governor had banned the vigilante group of the Onitsha Traders Association in July 2000 following mass protest by traders in the town against their activities, and empowered the "Bakassi Boys" to take charge of the security of lives and property in the state. The governor did not disband OTA as a body, but its vigilante outfit.
Purpose: The state government aligned with the militia so that it can support police operations against criminals. When there were clashes between the Onitsha Traders and the regular police, the state government supported the militia, which led to tensions between the two parties.
Organisation: The militant wing of the association was created in 1999 by Paulinus Ubanozie to improve the security situation for the traders in Onitsha. However, its command structures and its links to the state government are unknown.
Weapons and Training: No information.
Size: No information.
Reason for Membership: Young men were recruited by the association to join the armed wing of the trading organization.
Treatment of Civilians: The militia used excessive violence to curb crime and to attack alleged criminals.
Other Information: Police and OTA vigilante group fougt each other in January 2000. However, state government never withdraw its support.
References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD.