Correcting the Misrepresentation of Eleme Counting

Correcting the Misrepresentation of Eleme Counting

It is important that I, Chief Osaro Ollorwi, Chairman of Eleme Language Center, formerly Eleme Language Study Group founded in 1970 to promote the learning and teaching of Eleme Language, correct the misrepresentation of Eleme Counting postulated by Fred Oyor as published on his facebook page.

First, Oyor tried to discredit and perhaps ridicule those who took the pains, spent their time and resources to translate the New Testament Bible (M’I’A OSŨNA bãrã NNYIMԐ ESÕ) into Eleme Language. He wrote, “Let us consider, as an example the work of the Eleme Bible translators, and went further to quote Mark 6:44 a’o-rē-ͻbεrε-obo-rē-a’o-achu and tabulated thus to prove the translators wrong.

10 + 2 x40 + 10 x 20

= 12x 40 +200

=480+ 200 = 680

He emphasized, “While the English Bible says Jesus fed 5000, Eleme Bible says Jesus fed 680”. Where did Oyor get these figures from for crying out loud?

Except typographical errors are claimed by Oyor, which is pardonable otherwise, it is an unfortunate display of ignorance. What Mark 6:44 said is this: “Onu obui oku rē ke ederĩ enu bεε a’o-rē-ͻbεrε-obo-rē-a’o-achu oku okundo”.

The tabulation is based on well-defined Eleme counting formula:

For example:

  1. Ten (10)                               = a’o
  2. Twenty (20)                        = achu
  3. Forty (40)                            = mbuma
  4. Hundred (100)                   = εbεrε
  5. Four Hundred (400)        = obo
  6. When you add “a’o-rē-ͻbεrε-obo” (12 x 400) 4800 to “a’o-achu” (10 x 20) 200 = 5000

This agrees with the English Bible which says Jesus fed 5000 people.

 

It is wrong to assume “that the translators were difficult at mathematics (sic) or that they were right at the level of 100 and 50 because that is about the maximum the old Eleme counting system can accommodate” (sic). There is no counting system that the Eleme Language cannot accommodate, including fractions, halves, tens, zeros, hundreds, thousands, millions, billions, trillions and quadrillions.

 

If in doubt or enquiring about Eleme Numerical or Counting for science, mathematics, technology, commerce, engineering, etc. please contact ELEME LANGUAGE CENTER Room #3 Women Development Center, Opposite General Hospital, Ogale; email: ollorwiosaro@gmail.com; or call: 08036694027 for details. Let us stop speculating because Eleme Language has developed beyond the levels of arm-chair research.

TASK BEFORE NPDC IN OGONI

THE TASK BEFORE NPDC IN OGONI

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) has blood on its hands. SPDC has spilled blood all over Ogoniland through its activities and actions. The company has also caused massive environmental destruction in the Ogniland where over 60 million gallons of oil is said to have been spilled onto farmlands and community water supplies. The destroyed land and water formerly provided sustenance for the indigenous people of Ogoni.

SPDC crimes in Ogoniland also include its roles in providing financial assistance, logistics support, guns and moral support to the Nigerian military dictatorship for the execution of the Ogoni 9 environmental activists including Ken Saro-Wiwa when they demanded that SPDC cleanup spilled oil in Ogoniland and share the profits more equitable with oil bearing communities.

This campaign of terror embarked upon by Shell which led to the murder of nearly 2,000 Ogoni people with some tortured to death is well known among the Ogonis and will remain indelible in the minds of the Ogonis for several generations to come.

For decades, the people of Ogoni have complained about the usurpation of their land and resources, the destruction of their culture, and the eventual decimation of the people. It is on record that since 1958, $30 billion worth of oil has been taken from beneath the land of the Ogoni, yet essentially zero benefits have accrued to the Ogoni people themselves, reported World Council of Churches. When the group sent observers to Ogoniland in 1995, they found no piped water supplies, no good roads, no electricity, and no proper health care facilities.

Shell, a Dutch Company is the 10th largest corporation in the world and the first in profitability. The company has 96 oil production wells in Ogoniland, 5 flow stations and numerous gas flares which have operated continuously since 1958. By the end of 1992, Ogoni oil production was some 28,000 barrels per day, about 3% of SPDC’s total oil production. Shell also maintains many high-pressure oil pipelines that crisscross Ogoniland, carrying oil from other parts of Nigeria to the shipping terminal at Bonny.

As a result of growing pressure for reform in Ogoniland in 1993, SPDC ceased oil production in the area, but retained its network of pipelines carrying oil produced elsewhere in Nigeria. Although the World Council of Churches finds evidence that SPDC has not ceased oil production in Ogoniland, the company insists its production wells are idle.

Whether SPDC oil wells in Ogoniland are producing oil or not, between 1976 and 1980, Shell operations caused 784 separate oil spills in Nigeria. From 1982 to 1992 additional spills were recorded. Since SPDC “ceased oil production” in Ogoniland in 1993, Shell admits further 24 oil spills have occurred in the area.

Apart from the World Council of Churches’ findings which linked SPDC to continued oil drilling in Ogoniland, in one of the documents I stumbled on in my study during the course of gathering facts for this article captioned, “COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE MOSOP GLOBAL LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE IN ACCRA, GHANA, MARCH 28 – 30, 2002 and singed by Meshach Karanwi, General Secretary – MOSOP International, accused Shell of adopting “nascent lateral oil drilling techniques to drill oil from Ogoniland from remote locations”. The same document stated in Article 10 “That MOSOP reasserts its stand on Shell as persona non-grata in Ogoni”.

The Ogoni people see SPDC and the Federal Government of Nigeria as partners in crime against oil bearing communities and the people of Ogoni. Their conspiracy to destroy Ogoni communities and kill the people has not abated, only opportunities are yet to present themselves.

It is true that the spirit of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni leaders and that of other Ogoni martyrs will continually hunt the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) or any other company that comes to Ogoniland for oil production through SPDC and the Federal Government of Nigeria. Besides, it is impossible for NPDC to severe relationship with SPDC and the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The fears of the people concerning NPDC are numerous.

  1. If SPDC, a Dutch company that operates in 100 countries has 40% of its oil spills in Nigeria, what will happen when NPDC, a company owned and managed by the Federal Government of Nigeria with its poor managerial cultures and oppressive tendencies fully become operational in Ogoniland?
  2. It is on record that Shell only provided the needed finance, logistics, guns and moral support yet nearly 2,000 Ogonis and their leaders were murdered. What will be the fate of the entire Ogonis when NPDC, an Hausa/Fulani owned company fully becomes operational in Ogoniland?
  3. There is wide spread fears among the Ogonis that the so-called NPDC is SPDC in disguise. They are watching perhaps to unveil the actual group behind the new masquerade in town.
  4. In the ongoing consultation and sensitization by NPDC the Ogonis are already seeing SPDC dance steps and are watching carefully. The words of Dr. Owens Wiwa, Ken Saro-Wiwa’s brother now forms topic of discussion across Ogoniland. Hear him, “Our people are dying in the hands of our government and Shell”. Will NPDC not mobilize Nigeria soldiers to kill the remaining Ogoni people when they eventually dare to ask for their rights to share in oil profits?                                          NPDC activities in Ogoniland are already pitching communities against each other. Groups are already at loggerheads with each other. Interests are now colliding daily. In Eleme, war is breeding between SPDC GMOU Cluster Development Board based in Ebubu and “Council of Traditional Rulers of Oil Bearing Communities”, a private company (Trustee?) based in Ogale on who is the rightful representative. The community leaders on the other hand are also agitating for recognition and direct participation in the oil money. Towards this end, groups are already petitioning NPDC Management disclaiming and dissociating from other groups and their activities. The story is the same in Korokoro, Bunu-Botem, Yorla, K-Dere and other Ogoni communities. Only God will save Ogoniland from the hands of the Nigerian government and Shell Oil.
  5. For the Ogonis, Shell and its activities have brought poverty, environmental devastation, and widespread severe human rights abuses. The Nigeria government who is primarily responsible for environmental tragedy in Ogoniland cannot be a good business partner when it comes to oil production in Ogoniland. The Ogonis are convinced that irrespective of the damning UNEP Ogoniland report that it would take 30 years to cleanup Ogoniland, the federal government is only concern with commencing oil production in Ogoniland. And is bent on forcing the Ogonis to allow for oil production or be hanged to death. This fear is further reinforced by the fact that the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company is a subsidiary of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the most senior partner in the petroleum industry in Nigeria and it is owned 100% by the federal government of Nigeria.
  6.  Ogonis fear that their interests will not be guaranteed and protected. NPDC have concluded negotiation with SPDC to take over its facilities in Ogoniland without resorting to the Ogonis the rightful owners of the oil. The question here is, without oil can NPDC buy SPDC facilities in Ogoniland? NO. And if the answer is no, why was the Ogonis not involved in the negotiation from the beginning bearing in mind that oil drilling has caused devastating impacts on Ogoni environment? That the effects of oil spills, gas flaring and deforestation have stripped Ogoniland of its environmental resources, destroying the subsistence farming and fishing based economy of the Ogonis is enough to allow the Ogonis to negotiate who to do oil business with in its own terms. The Ogonis, as usual, will resist any attempt by the government to impose any firm of condition or force any marriage of inconvenience on the Ogonis. To the Ogonis, any company seeking to carry out oil production in Ogoniland must directly negotiate with the Ogonis and such company must comply fully with environmental best international practices, including UNEP and UNCTAD basic standards.                    Again, the way and manner the Ogoni 9 were framed up, convicted and executed by hanging on November10, 1995 and the treatment melted out to the family members of Ken-Saro Wiwa, John Kpuinen, Dr. Barinem Kiobel, Saturday Doobee, Daniel Gbokoo and Felix Nuate is enough to make the Ogonis yet unborn wary of the federal government of Nigeria and her oil companies.
  7. The fears of the Ogoni people is also compounded by the activities of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Program (HYPREP), a federal government body responsible for the implementation of the UNEP report for the cleanup of Ogoniland which has been moribund due to government insincerity towards the Ogoni cleanup. The sudden reawakening of HYPREP and the way it is going about its “sensitization” is both suspicious and worrisome.
  8.  The Ogoni people still hold the Federal Government of Nigeria and SPDC responsible for the militarization and criminalization of Ogoniland. The World Council of Churches report corroborated this perception. According to the World Council of Churches, “There are more guns and ammunition in the public domain and hunger is pushing more people into crime. It is not surprising that there is no security of persons and property. The crime rate has skyrocketed”. Perhaps, the Federal Government of Nigeria has forgotten the last words of Ken Saro-Wiwa, “Lord take my soul, but the struggle continues”. Some ethnic nationalities in Nigeria can mortgage their conscience or betray their leader for the sake of fear or for fame, cheap popularity, money, but not the Ogoni people.

And true to the nature of the Nigerian government and its agencies, HYPREP came into Ogoniland with a fixed mindset and preconceived project for the Ogonis not seeking the people’s input or bothering about their needs. Analysis of the discussions between the visiting HYPREP officials and natives in all the Ogoni communities revealed masters and servants’ relationship and not partners in business. It is “Take water or leave it”. “Only contractors with high technology will be allowed into Ogoni to demonstrate and test their new technology before engagement”. “Only youths with at least a Master Degree in Environmental Management will be trained and engaged for the cleanup”. These were some of the HYPREP edicts to the oil bearing communities.

That is, in the characteristics of all federal government agencies the promises are so vague that leaves more to be desired. HYPREP Coordinator, Dr. Marvin Dekil, said that HYPREP will provide clean drinking water to impacted communities; update baseline data of UNEP report; conduct health impact assessment study; demonstrate remediation technology; construct an Integrated Containment Soil Management Centre and Centre of Excellence all in New Bori City and training. The Ogoni people have heard all these over and over again.

The Ogoni people are aware that the UNEP Report upon which the cleanup is hinged recommends some emergency measures to be taken to intervene in the lives of the Ogoni people before the cleanup. The provision of potable water is welcomed, since their sources of water are contaminated by oil spill, but shouldn’t be the only intervention programme. Apart from water sources the economy mainstay of the people has been destroyed and their sources of livelihood ruined by oil production activities.

The deprivation clauses in HYPREP arrangements are also worrisome. The training, perhaps, is conceived for only those with “Master Degree in Environmental Management”, while the empowerment programme is expected to be preserve for the “poor of poor widows”. Education, health, roads, electricity and other infrastructures which are equally on the people’s priority list and which has continue to keep the people at disadvantage position and hold them down beyond poverty level are to wait.

Between HYPREP and NPDC who is now forerunner to who? That is, is HYPREP forerunner to NPDC or vice versa? Can the Federal Government of Nigeria answer this question since both bodies are government agencies on an errand of maneuvering for the federal government to commence oil production in Ogoniland with its soldiers on standby to invade Ogoniland in case of any resistance?

The timing for the NPDC consultation and HYPREP sensitization in Ogoniland speaks volume and leaves the people wondering the rationale behind the rush.

The Ogoni people as oil producing area expect greater stake in the control and management of oil business in its territory. They anticipate equity in the allocation of revenue so that oil revenue can be used for the development of their environment.

They also believe that they own the resources above, beneath, and within their territory and therefore reason that all laws that impinge on their independence and natural rights to property or resources that is found in their territory, such as the Petroleum Act, Mineral Acts, Oil Pipelines Act, the Land Use Act and other laws instituted by the Federal Government of Nigeria be abrogated. While Section 315 (5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which entrenches the Land Use Act and Section 215 (1) of the same Constitution which gives Federal High Court exclusive jurisdiction to determine cases involving mines and minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas be expunged from the Constitution.

The tasks before the NPDC in Ogoniland therefore are enormous. Can NPDC convince the Ogonis that it can deliver on its own expectations? What are these expectations? How will it go about them? The Ogonis will want to know.

To do this the company must come closer to the people, sit with the people and discuss with the people publicly and not the present arrangements of talking to selected few (who are bent on hijacking or cornering the people’s benefits) in hotels and in their private houses.

 

The Ogoni people are well-educated, including in things of oil and are very much aware of SPDC and Nigeria Government divide and rule tactics and are ready to play along with NPDC. But, will NOT allow the NPDC to embark on oil production activities in Ogoniland when the time comes, except the company approach them openly, genuinely agree business terms with the Ogonis, and enter into a well-defined and valid memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Ogonis where their interests will be defined, guaranteed and protected based on international standards. To marshal the people’s trust, gain their support and cooperation NPDC must express real sincerity of purpose in Ogoniland.

Conclusion

  1. The Federal Government of Nigeria must as a matter of importance involve the Ogoni people in its resolve to providing necessary infrastructures and conducive environment for oil production activities in Ogoniland.
  2. The Federal Government of Nigeria must put a structure in place to provide for the licensing of Oil Bearing Communities to participate in the business of oil production.
  3. The government must demonstrate beyond all reasonable doubt its commitment to cleanup all oil spills in Ogoniland and allow independent international body of experts to periodically assess cleanup activities.
  4. The federal government must cease its attempts to disguisedly force the Ogonis to sign statements which invite Shell or any other company to come to Ogoniland for oil production activities.

References

  1. Hutchful E. (1985) “Oil Companies and Environmental Pollution in Nigeria”, London, Longman Press
  2. Saro-Wiwa, Ken (1994) As quoted from Rowell, Andrew (1994), Shell-shocked, the environmental and social costs of living with Shell in Nigeria, Amsterdam: Greenpeace International.
  3. SPDC (1995) Nigeria brief: The Environment.
  4. The London Observer, January, 28, 1996, “Shell Admits Importing Guns for Nigeria Police”.
  5. Claude Ake (ed) Political Economy of Nigeria, London, Longman Press.
  6. World Council of Churches (1996), Ogoni The Struggle Continues, Geneva, Switzerland.
  7. “Communiqué Issued At The MOSOP Global Leadership Conference In Accra, Ghana, March 28 – 30, 2002.
  8. http://www.greenpeace.org
  9. http://www.shellnigeria.com

IMPACTS OF CULTISM IN ELEME

Impacts of Cultism in Eleme

Chief Osaro Ollorwi

Introduction

What are the marked effects or influences of cultism on Eleme and Eleme people? Are there any physical and nonphysical consequences of cultism in Eleme? How are Eleme people and residents coping with cult activities in the area? This article will attempt to examine the results, repercussions, or aftermath of cult activities in Eleme.

 

The ongoing cult activities have strong effects on every aspects of life of the average Eleme indigene and resident. These include impacts on Economic life; Education life; Religious life; Social life; Death, Burial and Other Ceremonies; Political life; Psychology of the people; and Development in Eleme.

Economic Life

The economic life of Eleme has been driven to a halt. Almost all businesses have been grounded as criminals waylay businesses on daily basis at gunpoint in broad daylight. Businessmen and their family members are made object of regular kidnap for ransom, armed robbery, rape and other violent crimes . These situations have forced many businesses to close shop or relocate.

 

Another worrisome aspect of this development is that the few people who choose to remain in Eleme have to spend more money by traveling to neighbouring communities to shop for their daily needs.

 

National and multinational companies in Eleme now spend more resources on security, compare to other cost units, to keep their operation going. With increasing cost of security and associated risks, many companies are now retrenching. Intels Services have sacked over 1,000 staffers. Daewoo Nigeria Limited has sent packing over 200 employees. Eleme-INDORAMA Petrochemicals Company Limited is not left out.

 

This situation is already having negative impacts on the already congested labour market in the area. It is also contributing to the already existing army of unemployed youths which are ready source of supply of personnel for cult groups.

 

Many other companies that have acquired landed properties and indicated interest to come to Eleme for their operations are now skeptical of coming down due to rising insecurity perpetrated by organized cult groups.

Education Life

The Rivers State University of Science and Technology Onne Campus has been relocated to Port Harcourt. Several private primary and secondary schools have followed the trend.

 

As parents relocate, they also carry their children and wards along and the population of Schools in Eleme continues to nose-dive.

 

It is equally disappointing to note that insecurity made JAMB to cancel its entire centers in Eleme during the recent 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in the country. Parents have to spend huge amount of money to transport their children and wards to write JAMB in other towns. Some of these candidates arrived late and have to write their examinations under stress, limited time and tight condition. The outcome was poor performance or outright failure as revealed by the results released by JAMB.

Religious Life

The impacts of cult activities on religion in Eleme are more worrisome. Our young men and women now see nothing wrong in patronizing native doctors, medicine men, shrines and secret societies. These people who have charms given to them tie around their waists or have them cut into their chest and back also take front seats in the churches and lead processions in their various places of worship.

 

The ongoing cult activities in Eleme have lured many people to abandon God for worship of Satan in search for protection from gunshots and knife cut. As pastors testify, the number of worshippers who attend church services in Eleme today is daily on the decrease and the commitment of those who managed to attend is also doubtful. Eleme is visibly being drifted back into the prehistory era by cultism. This is not only disturbing but equally disheartening.

Social Life

The social life in Eleme has collapsed. Night activities are now things of the past. Hoteliers in Eleme are already counting their losses. Many operators of Night Clubs and Recreational Centers have been forced out of business by the activities of cultists. People now prefer to stay at home after work than go out for leisure and meet death.

 

While married women are happy because their husbands now spend more time at home, the unmarried ones, especially sex workers are complaining of poor patronage, loneliness and abandonment.

 

HRH Chief I. O. Agbara observed that hospitality business in Eleme is passing through hard times. In his words, “Night life in Eleme has deteriorated; people rarely go out for relaxation and leisure for fear of being attacked by hoodlums. Nothing is happening in hotels nowadays. Business has gone down. The night club section is no longer functioning. Our rooms that before now usually record fully booked capacity is today empty. The hospitality industry is suffering more than any other in Eleme. Few customers that managed to come to the hotel normally leave as early as 7pm, and this affects sale and return on investment. Cultism is killing the hospitality industry in Eleme.”

 

Ms. Nneka (not real name), a sex worker in one of the hotels have this to say, “We are feeling the pains of cultism more than any other group of people in Eleme. Customers are no longer forthcoming. When they show face, they hurriedly take one or two bottles of beer and rush back home immediately and we are left alone stranded. When we call, they neither answer our calls nor return them. Our business is at its lowest ebb now in Eleme. We are already finding it difficult to pay our house rent. Except something is done and urgently too many of us will soon be thrown out of business.”

 

Also speaking, an expert in the hospitality industry Chief A. A. Yanwi said, “Hotels rely on rooms to finance salary bills and operating costs. Where rooms are not subscribed or grossly undersubscribed as in the case in Eleme now, hotels find it very difficult to breakeven. Every hotel needs to operate optimally to be in business. Unfortunately, cultism, violence and other crimes have made the situation in Eleme unwise and very dangerous for people to lodge in hotels. And if people don’t lodge in hotel rooms, foods will not be sold, drinks will not be bought; there will be no service charge because no service is provided. Worse still the hotel is expected to maintain its staff, pay salary, settle electric bills, run generators, service vehicles and pay relevant local authority revenue bills and other charges.

 

This scenario was vividly captured by Chief Engr. Paul Obele, the former Managing Director of Warri Petrochemical and Refining Company Limited when he delivered a lecture titled, “Roadmap to Achieving the Eleme of Our Dreams” at the Eleme People’s Congress at Rivers State Golden Jubilee. He said, “Night life in Eleme is dead. People no longer go out after the day’s work for relaxation and leisure due to the activities of cultists”. He recollected when he used to walk alone from Ogale to Alesa by 2am without fear of molestation or attack of any kind. “These are good old days when cultism was unknown to Eleme. But, today, as early as 7pm you are not safe on the streets in Eleme. It is pathetic!” To him, cultism is not only destroying businesses in Eleme but also damaging the people’s once cherished culture.

 

The CTC Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area Chief Hon. Obarilomate Ollor was not left out as he added his voice to the condemnation of the negative impacts of cultism in Eleme stressing that cultism is dismantling the very pillars of Eleme society and advised parents to warn their children and wards as government is out to deal with the situation squarely.

Death, Burial and Other Ceremonies

Other worrisome aspects of these negative impacts of cult activity in Eleme are its influences on death, burial ceremonies, marriage ceremonies, naming ceremonies, birthday parties and so on. Cult-related dead in Eleme are buried within minutes or hours thereafter without any fanfare to evade law enforcement query.

 

Burial of non-cult related dead in Eleme today attracts extra costs as security agents have to be informed and engaged to provide security and maintain law and order during burial.

 

Marriage ceremonies are not left out. Marriage ceremonies require the presence of armed soldiers, police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps officers for people to attend thus adding extra cost to the overall expenses; a burden on both the groom and bridegroom.

 

Naming ceremonies, birthday parties and other ceremonies also attract expensive security bills except done at the family level and/or in an exclusive area.

Increased Stress-Related Sickness and Death

There is no doubt that the number of stress-related sicknesses and deaths in Eleme are on the rise. Stress occurs when the human body experiences a lack of equilibrium that is perceived as threatening by that individual. There is widespread fear in Eleme. Fear of the known and unknown. Fear of being robbed, fear of being raped, fear of being kidnapped, fear of being assaulted, fear of being murdered or killed, fear of being victimized. Fear! Fear all over the place. Parents of cultists have loss control over their children and wards. Their fates are unpredictable; a very serious threat to their ego; the situation remains ambiguous with increasing anticipation of negative consequences. The entire environment is perceived by the parents as threatening. And these have given rise to such illnesses like tension-related headaches and backaches, weakened immune system, missed period, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, increased depression, heartburn, fertility problem, heart attack. No week passes with Eleme recording one or more stress-related death; apart from deaths caused by inhalation of toxic and other deadly chemicals wickedly emitted by companies around Eleme.

The activities of cultists in Eleme are stressful not only to the parents of these cultists and their relations but also to every indigene and resident. Over 30% of women in their early 40s in Eleme are already suffering from missed period. Many parents have also died of heart attack and other stress-related illnesses.

Political Life

The political life of Eleme can be described as nonexistence. Democracy was murdered in Eleme on arrival. Politicians of Eleme extraction have succeeded in truncating the political life of Eleme. They have divided Eleme youths into groups of cultists for their selfish political gains. They armed these young men and women and use them to:

  1. Assassinate political opponents and their strong supporters.
  2. Kidnap political rivals, their close associates or members of their immediate families.
  3. Disenfranchise the electorate by intimidating and terrorizing them with guns, knives and axes.
  4. Snatch ballot boxes.
  5. Snatch result sheets and other sensitive electoral materials.
  6. Adopt electoral officials and force them at gunpoint to allocate votes to candidates and announce concocted results.

 

The result of this is continues mismanagement, directionless, corruption and waste of Council resources. The impact of cultism on the political life of Eleme can be described as total disaster.

Psychological Life

Psychologically, the average Eleme man or woman lives in fear of being murdered, kidnapped, robbed, assaulted, etc. These conditions have forced many indigenes and residents alike to relocate to Elelenwo, Port Harcourt, Ogoni, Okrika, Oyigbo and other neighbouring communities. Others seek the help of armed soldiers, NSCDC officers and policemen to move around Eleme. Both ways money is leaving Eleme, development is also truncated.

 

The atmosphere into which one enters as you approach Eleme from outside is that of darkness and panic even in broad daylight. The ether of Eleme has been saturated with blood and cry of innocent people cut down in their prime.

In the spiritual realm, it is like Eleme is being driven by the demand for more bloodbath, crime and violence. Worse still, those who are supposed to harness resources and pull their efforts together to address the ugly situation have fled from Eleme leaving the area porous and more vulnerable.

 

On the other hand, the prevailing insecurity in Eleme has helped the people to abandon luxurious life for simple living. Wealth is no longer indiscriminately displayed. So many car owners now prefer using public vehicles and mtorcycles popularly known as “Okada” to move about; and expensive dressings are now giving way to simple wears. Flamboyant life is gradually becoming history in Eleme.

Development

One area that the impact of cultism has been felt greatly in Eleme is on development. Security propels development while insecurity retards it. As the former Permanent Secretary, F. N. Oguru rightly said, “Cultism has taken Ebubu over ten years back”. In other words, cult activities have taken Eleme ten years back. There cannot be development in an environment of insecurity and violence.

 

Cultism is decimating the population of Eleme and this has negatively affected Schools intake, tenants’ population, and small businesses. Many houses which hitherto provide sources of regular income to landlords/landladies are now vacant as residents’ pullout by the day. Those who still have one or two tenants in their houses do not have the will to demand for house-rents as tenants’ income continue to dwindle.

 

All public and private ongoing projects in the area have been halted due to cult activities. Movement of people is also restricted between the hours of 7pm and 6am without official curfew. It is worse in places like Ebubu, Eteo, and Alode where as early as 7pm no vehicle will agree to go in for fear of being victimized.

 

The worse is that Eleme is gradually becoming synonymous with senseless killing, kidnapping, armed robbery, rape, extortion, gun running, cultism, etc. The Eleme society is worst for it due to dwindling revenue, rising crime wave and fear of crime. This should border every well-meaning Eleme son and daughter irrespective of where you stay or reside. It is no gainsaying that indigenes and residents of Eleme are living in perpetual fear and many are being imprisoned in their own home or sent on exile by the ongoing cult activities in the area.

Conclusion

There must be concerted efforts and proper will on the part of indigenes and residents of Eleme to reverse the trend and put Eleme on the course of progress and development. This can only be achieved through value reorientation, equal rights and justice.

DO ELEME PEOPLE CELEBRATE CRIMINALS

Do Eleme People Celebrate Criminals?

 

Introduction

The general opinion among the various security agencies in Eleme is that Eleme People Celebrate Criminals. Is this perception true? What is/are the rationale behind such conclusion? Are the people culpable in the on-going criminalities in the area? I have written, lectured and consulted severally on the Eleme people’s apathy towards on-going crime and fear of crime in the area. Some of the factors militating against the masses direct participation in fighting crimes include:

  1. Fear of retribution,
  2. Fear of invasion by adversary,
  3. Culture of loyalty,
  4. Respect for cultists’ commitment,
  5. Focus on personal needs,
  6. Inadequate laws,
  7. Police attitude,
  8. Politicians’ roles,
  9. Government commitment to cultists and their course, and.
  10. Gender Cold War.

The Eleme social system is interposed with lots of roadblocks and checkpoints to regulate behaviours, control crimes and punish criminals. Among the various controls system are such institutions that everyone would want to belong in the society. They include:

  1. Marriage Institution
  2. Leadership Institution
  3. Institutions of Crime Control
  4. Traditional Courts

 

Every Eleme person, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, young or old, religious or non-religious is a member of one of these institutions in the society. How do these institutions ensure that Eleme people do not celebrate criminals?

 

Marriage

In his book, The People of Eleme (1988), Chief O. O. Ngofa observed that “Marriage is a natural sequence of growth and progress. So long as a man is not married, he continues in a second class status in the society. He never ties the full fathom of cloth, irrespective of his stature. He is not allowed to join other men during consultation”. In this statement are the strict limitations imposed on those yet to be admitted into the Marriage Institution.

 

In Eleme, marriage is regarded not only as a liberator and a status, but also confirms that the person concerned has acceptable character and background. He can be trusted in any affair and is regarded as a responsible person.

 

Eleme culture cherished marriage between Eleme and Eleme. The rationale behind this is to ensure that thorough background check and investigation are conducted at least to determine that the marriage is not contracted with someone with criminal history, health challenges, fertility problems, among other important issues.

 

Abraham was quite aware of the forgoing when he told his trusted servant not to take a wife for his son Isaac from the daughters of the Canaanite among whom he resides, “but to go to my country and to my kindred to take a wife for my son Isaac”. Like the Israelites, the Elemes do not just jump into marriage. They carryout extensive background checks and screening before considering contracting marriage. The Elemes know that marriage creates families; and the family is the basic unit of society. The Elemes believe that if the family decays the society smells, therefore are very mindful of whom they tie the nuptial knot with.

 

There are many Eleme people today, who no matter how rich or popular they are cannot marry in Eleme when full background check/screening is conducted as is tradition, so they hide under the cover of “one people” or “one Nigeria” or “one world”.

Leadership

The Eleme culture frowns at crimes and condemn criminals, it rejects them and refuses them admission into leadership positions in the society. For someone to be appointed or elected into any traditional leadership position in Eleme, the person must be free from any accusation of stealing, murder, and witchcraft. He must be married and be adjudged to be good and has contributed to the defence, projection and development of the community.

 

Another prove that the people of Eleme do not celebrate criminals is the existence of well-defined traditional institutions of crime control and punishment. These institutions are explained in the table below.

 

Institutions of Community Policing and Crime Control

All towns and villages in Eleme have the same basic social structure that encourages the existence of agreeable human groups with specific social functions. These groups are responsible for policing the communities, maintaining peace and stability. Every Eleme man and woman, boy and girl belongs to one or more of these groups. The groups are:

S/N INSTITUTION DESCRIPTION FUNCTION
1. Oku O’tor Family group made up of smaller units agreeing with kindred lines. Settles minor disputes between members of the same family.
2. Oku O’e Extended family which owns a hall and maintains one shrine, known as Nsi Eji Settles disputes between members of the same family in matters of assault, stealing, boundaries, inheritance, adultery, witchcraft, invocation of juju, and other forms of misdemeanour.
3. Oku Omu Age grade to which all males belong Settles disputes between people of the same age group resulting to assault, slander, issue of threat, invocation of juju, and other matrimonial cases.
4. Egbara Eta Uninitiated adult men below Oku Ekpo They promote communal work, security, control social decay, and perform traditional entertainment such as: wrestling, dancing, and singing.
5. Mba Eta Organization of Women selected on age and representative basis Regulates the activities of women; ensures high morality and discipline among women.
6. Eji These are Ancestral Spirits – that is, spirits of all who have lived and died. They are known as Oku Eji and dwell in a separate spiritual kingdom known as Eta Eji. They exercise spiritual power and authority and are believed to be ever watchful, powerful and able to help or punish any person. They communicate through dreams and their feelings merely conjectured. They administer divine justice by blessing the good and punishing the bad. And since they cannot be seen or heard, there is always no appeal against the decisions of Oku Eji.
7. Ejor These are deities or gods such as Ejilee, Onura, Ebaajor, Mbie, Ejamaaejor Ogbenwata, Ndorwa, Osarobinmkpa and others. They are known as Oku Ejor and dwell in a separate spiritual kingdom known as Eta Ejor. They are believed to be somehow senior and superior to Oku Eji. They act as agents to Obari (God). They communicate directly through the human consciousness of the Priest or Medium. In this way they reveal secrets, prescribe remedies or answer questions put to them, and administer divine justice.

 

8. Oku Eta The Traditional Ruler (Oneh Eh Eta) and his elders (Oku Ekpo) They constitute Owe Ebo Ete and adjudicate in disputes between two or more persons or between two families concerning land tenure, divorce, custody of children, stealing, boundaries, inheritance, adultery, witchcraft, invocation of juju, defamation of character, rape, elopement, and so on.
9. Oku Nkporon Group of Initiated men with the Highest Judicial Powers and Authority. They constitute Owe Nkporon and adjudicate in more serious matters requiring urgent or detailed investigation such as murder, witchcraft, inheritance, land tenure, divorce, custody of children, stealing, boundaries, adultery, right of burial, invocation of juju, rape, and so on at the appropriate levels of the society.
10. Oku Nyoa Oku Nyoa are group of initiated elders led by One Nkiken (Land Priest/Traditional Prime Minister). Nkiken (Earth-Spirit) is the only Deity that directly relates to the foundation of a community or village and its protection. It is the mother that sustains all living things and receives all of them back to its stomach. The position is hereditary and it is confined to the lineage or family of the original founder of the community. One Nkiken (Land Priest and Leader of Oku Nyoa) exercises spiritual and administrative powers. He performs Ajija ritual for cleansing of Pregnant but unmarried girls and Owaraekpaa Osila (first daughter ritual). He appoints and installs Oneh Eh Eta on the active advice of Oku Nkporon; receives and performs the duties of Oneh Eh Eta if One Eh Eta is found guilty of gross misconduct or upon demise of an incumbent, until a successor is appointed and installed. He ensures that things are done in accordance with custom and tradition. He commands the respect of the gods in the community.

 

The existence of these groups helps to solve the problems of crime and criminality in the society. They help maintain law and order. They control behavior in society. They are the pivots upon which the community revolves. They solve social decay and render communal services. These institutions maintain the center of gravity in all aspects of human relations and dealings. But, are these institutions still relevant in the modern Eleme? Why are they not as active as they used to be? How comes the modern legal system is bent on reducing their powers and rendering them moribund? Will the society be better for it, if these institutions are revitalized, empowered and encouraged to participate actively in community policing? Your answers, comments, observations, suggestions and updates are very necessary.

Traditional Court

There are three authoritative government functions in Eleme – rulemaking, rule application, and rule adjudication. These are the three old functions of separation of power in Eleme except that an effort has been made to free them from their overtures – rulemaking rather than ‘legislation’, rule application rather than ‘executive’ and rule adjudication rather than the ‘judiciary’.

 

The traditional political system of Eleme has been stressed by no differential and diffused character of political and social structure. It would be noticed that the Chieftaincy in Eleme fulfil at one and the same time the rulemaking, rule application and rule adjudication functions and specialization is not consciously related to the idea of fulfilling roles at all.

 

The process of rulemaking is direct and democratic. At the clan level, representatives are sent from the sub-clans to take part in a clan meeting. The sub-clan is divided into communities and villages, and the communities are further divided in lineages and sub-lineages. The lineage is again divided into what is called “Oku Otor” i.e. people of the same family. Each Oku Otor has “Ekpone” (head of the Oku Otor), who is the source of authority for all others. No member of the Oku Otor can take decision or perform any act without consulting Ekpone.

 

The Ekpone posse law, he executes the law and passes judgment on those who disobey his order. He offers sacrifices to the gods and liaisons the family with the ancestors. Any matrimonial disputes or quarrels are mediated by him. In return, he is accorded respect, obedience and honour by members of the family and others outside the family depending, of course, on the charisma and will power of the Ekpone to hold together his subjects.

 

Above the Oku Otor level we have the next kin group – the lineage or extended family called Oku Oɂe. The head of the Oku Oɂe is known as “Ekpone Oɂe” – a very important figure in the community who holds the title of “One Nsi Oɂe”, a symbol of authority of the ancestors, which is very important and mystical in Eleme traditional political system. The One Nsi Oɂe who must be an initiated member of “Oku Nyoa” is seen as the intermediary between the Oku Oɂe and the ancestors. He is the fountain of authority in the community. He serves the “Oɂe” shrine (“Nsi Eji Oɂe), assisted by the next older person who is being prepared to succeed him at the appropriate time.

 

In Eleme, wisdom is associated with age and it is commonly believed that the oldest man is wiser, is closer to the ancestors, and is respected by them. And so, the oldest man is usually the One Nsi Oɂe. He is usually the priest of “Nsi Eji Oɂe”. He makes laws, he also adjudicates.

 

Rulemaking function is also performed by adult male members of the clan in a general assembly called “O’elabo of the Clan”. The O’elabo is made up of the Oneh Eh Eta (the chief), and the elders (Oku Ekpo) collectively referred to as Oku Nkporon, the Egbaraeta, leaders of thought and representatives from each village and community.

 

The procedure for rulemaking at the caln level is democratic, but the final decisions taken depend on the elders when they retire to a “tete-a-tete” meeting known as “Ola”. The “Ola” group finalizes all discussions made in the meeting and decides on decisions to be adopted. The Ola group consists of Oku Nkporon (group of initiated men with the highest power and authority and made up of representatives from each community). Matters often discussed in such assemblies ranges from land disputes, imposition of levies, to war, peace or defense.

 

The Oku Nkporon also performs the functions of executing and adjudicating the laws they have helped to enact. The output structures are also multi-functional. Other structures such as Oku Omu (age grades), Egbara Eta (uninitiated men), Mba Eta (organization of women selected on age and representative basis), also perform rulemaking, rule application and rule adjudication functions.

 

All these structures and functional roles of the political system condition have influenced the political thought of the Eleme people. It should be seen clearly therefore, that the traditional court referred to is not a particular permanent building but interplay of several forces – political, social, cultural and otherwise for the highest good of the people.

 

There had been the belief in the mystical powers of the chiefs. People respected the chief (Oneh Eh Eta) because of his power to make libation and sacrifices to ancestors and as a result, they have better harvest. It was through myths that the chief was able to hold his people together. It was only the chief who can call on the gods to punish or not to punish evildoer in the clan; apart from him, no other person can do it. The importance of the myth was that it helped in the effectiveness of rulemaking and rule adjudication.

 

The chief was an essential element in the system. The community was held together not only by economic and social links – such as living and farming together – but by spiritual and religious links, as already discussed. There was a strong religious element in the Chieftaincy; the chief was the link between the living people and the spirit of their ancestors; and he performs many duties such as making sacrifices and libations which were essentially those of a priest.

 

Similar conceptions are found in other parts of the world. The Kings of England, for instance were thought to have magical or miraculous powers of healing a certain disease by touch, and as late as the reign of Queen Anne (1702 – 1714), people were regularly brought to be cured by the touch of the royal hand.

 

Since the chief in Eleme and his people were linked in this spiritual way, it was difficult to fit strangers into the system. This may be one reason why strangers tended to live in settlements of their own outside the town or village. This personal link between the chief and the people was distorted by the new legal system introduced by the European invaders on one hand and the lopsided Nigerian Constitution on the other hand.

 

The system developed among the people different idea and thought about wealth, power and authority. Wealth to them was not accumulation of wealth in the form of commercial or industrial capitals. If wealth was accumulated, it took the form of consumption of goods and amenities. Wealth to them was meant to be used for the benefit of all and the support of additional development; hence the people of Eleme believed strongly in extended family system and African socialism.

 

The growth of the Eleme traditional legal system has been slow and steady. All towns and villages in Eleme have the same basic structure that encourages the existence of agreeable human groups with specific socio-political functions. We have seen that these groups helped in maintaining peace, order, and stability in pre-literate Eleme. There were age grades to which all males belong called Oku Omu. The family group made up of smaller units agreeing with kindred lines called Oku Otor; and the extended family, which owned a hall and maintained a shrine known as Oku Oɂe.

 

The hierarchy of the community was made up of the chief (Oneh Eh Eta) and the elders (Oku Ekpo) called Oku Eta, and another group of initiated men who have the highest rulemaking, rule application and rule adjudication status called Oku Nkporon. By this arrangement, all imaginable situations were speedily dealt with by the appropriate group, thereby sustaining peace and order in the whole clan.

 

Disputes between people of the same age group (Oku Omu) relating to assault, defamation of character, issue of threat, invocation of juju and minor matrimonial cases were dealt with by Oku Omu. Disputes between members of the same family in matters of stealing, assault, defamation of character, issue of threat, invocation of juju, adultery, boundaries, inheritance, witchcraft, and other forms of misdemeanour were settled by Oku Oɂe. The aggrieved member may sue the other party or the elders may in the circumstances intervene directly.

 

Disputes between two or more persons or between two families concerning divorce, land tenure, custody of children, rape, stealing, assault, defamation of character, issue of threat, invocation of juju, adultery, boundaries, inheritance, witchcraft, elopement and so on were settled by Oku Eta.

 

Owe Ebo Ete (Oweboete) Court

Apart from the above arrangements for settling of cases and disputes, the system also recognized two traditional courts which sit in the chief’s palace or in the disputants’ community town hall. These are “Owe Ebo Ete” and “Owe Nkporon”. Both courts operate at the community level, sub-clan level, and at the clan level. Whenever Oku Eta sits as a court it is called Owe Ebo Ete (Owe Ebo Etate). Owe Ebo Ete is presided over by the chief (Oneh Eh Eta) while the elders constitute its membership. Its decisions on matters brought before it is final and binding, but an unsatisfied party reserves the right to appeal to a higher level Owe Ebo Ete or to the highest court called Owe Nkporon.

 

Since the traditional legal system in Eleme does not differentiate between criminal and civil cases, each matter is taken on its merit and as it affects the co-existence of the parties concerned as well as the larger community. The remedies sought are generally declaration of title, compensation or restoration. That is, to establish ones right, to be cleared of accusation, to recover property or to obtain a public declaration.

 

Suing before the Owe Ebo Ete court involved the aggrieved person going to the Oneh Eh Eta (chief) and complaining. He would state his claims and relief sought as well as the possibility of calling witnesses. He has to pay the prescribed fees and he would be advised on the materials for other related processes. The chief would try to dissuade the complainant from suing with money but if he refused, he would be asked to sue with the prescribed fees and ordered to appear on a date convenient to the chief depending on the nature of the case. He may however, agree with the date or meet the chief to adjust the date after explaining his reasons.

 

On the appointed date, the chief, One Nkporon (spokesman of the community), and elders would constitute the Owe Ebo Ete court. Both parties would state their cases and call witnesses. Members of the court might ask questions to elucidate the points in dispute. The disputants would be allowed to cross examine each other and the witnesses would also be questioned to clarify issues. Thereafter, the court would rise for consultation and on their return, the verdict would be given. The party at fault would be seriously reprimanded and asked to pay appropriate fine. The guilty party may choose to obey the judgment of Owe Ebo Ete court or to appeal against the judgment.

 

Owe Nkporon Court

Owe Nkporon is the highest court in Eleme. The clan head (Oneh Eh Eta) presides over its sitting and members are drawn from the rank of Oku Nkporon who have completed all the processes of “Oba Nkporon”, and are therefore entitled to join in the court’s routine consultation called “Ola”. The processes of getting the Owe Ebo Ete and Owe Nkporon courts to sit are the same but Owe Nkporon is more expensive than Owe Ebo Ete and its decisions are final.

 

Owe Nkporon can hear a fresh case brought before it as well as appeals coming from Owe Ebo Ete or lower levels; however, Owe Nkporon cannot be delayed unduly by any of the parties in a dispute. Once proper information has been communicated to the parties regarding the date of hearing, venue, and time, the court would proceed to hear the disputants, collect evidence, cross examine the parties and witnesses, visit to locus (where applicable), and give its verdict, even though the other party failed to put in appearance.

 

Where a case is taken on appeal from the community level to the clan level or to a higher level court, it is the practice of the court to request for evidence that related the ruling of the lower court. This is the simplest and cheapest way of obtaining justice in the shortest possible time. Although some persons have tried to brand these processes devilish and fetish; the law has also proscribed and labelled same as heathenish and we are aware paying heavily for it in terms of rising crimes and criminality.

 

The powers of the community are also limited by the fact that they cannot confiscate any of the property of unresponsive ones since that is against the law. Banishment and public ridicule is also having less effect as people can easily run out of their community and in fact, the whole Eleme, to the nearby urban center where they can easily make new friends and get on with a life devoid of those cultural constraints.

 

The use of Ogbe to protect one’s life and properties, elicit the truth from an offender and ensure confidence has also come under the harmer of the modern judiciary. However, as Chief O. O. Ngofa noted:

 

“Inspite of the fact that modern judiciary frowns on the invocation of what they call ‘harmful juju’ the practice of invoking the local deities is on the increase in Eleme, irrespective of the rather high fees and protracted sacrifices that are associated with its invocation and revocation”.

 

Ogbe was once an important instrument of investigation. The invocation of investigative juju as a practice of the people has come to stay despite the onslaught of Christianity, civilization, and modern judiciary but, the efficacy of ogbe has faded considerably.

 

The result of the concerted dislodgement of the culture and tradition of the people of Eleme is a crash of the value system as against an upsurge of anti-social activities such as increasing levels of violence, robbery, murder, kidnapping, fraud, vandalism, cultism, adulteration, impersonation, immorality of all kinds and types and several other forms of malpractices and crimes.

 

The church is complaining; its instruments of modern socialization have failed to instil discipline and morality in the people. The school is at crossroads, confused and stranded; it is either its storehouse of modern socialization materials has been exhausted or the operators have lost focus. The government is worried; its modern legal system has failed to inculcate fear and check increasing anti-social activities. The society is no longer at ease, it is drifting, and things are falling apart, crimes and fear of crimes everywhere. Perhaps the Religious and National Values Curriculum now introduced into our Schools would do the magic, in the next ten to twenty years, as we pursue the goals of harmonising such key values as honesty, regard and concern for the interest of others, justice, discipline, right attitude to work, courage and national consciousness.

 

Conclusion

Conclusively, it is wrong to opine that Eleme people celebrate criminals. The system speaks for itself and the people proud themselves as honest, hardworking, industrious and progressives. You can never see Eleme person escorting a criminal to or from court, or celebrating a criminal at any event.

The average Eleme person may appear to be weak and fearful but always own up to his integrity. He hates corruption and avoids violence. He believes in honesty and self-discipline. The Eleme culture encourages Eleme people to stay at home, work hard and make a respectable living at home. Perhaps, this accounts for why majority of Eleme people do not travel very far and long. Criminals are not needed, nor are they tolerated or celebrating in Eleme society. The Eleme tradition hates criminals and has a way of isolating them so that they do not corrupt others in the society. There is nowhere in the Eleme tradition that celebrates criminals, or considers criminals as heroes or role models. The Eleme people see criminals as evil and pandemics; and isolate and keep them away from society.

Besides, the average Eleme person knows that Elemeland has a way of rewarding good and punishing evil. Instances abound where a whole family has been destroyed and the compound abandoned due to heinous crime committed by one of its members. A close look will reveal to you that no public fund looter in Eleme has gone unpunished. Eleme do not celebrate criminals; rather it ensures that the criminal and beneficiaries of crime are punished to deter others and sanitize the society.

What we are experiencing in Eleme today is as a result of the loss of values in the Nigerian society. The unfolding events in which the future of Nigerian youths is being used by politicians should call for the concern of all.

 

 

Osaro Ollorwi – 08036694027

THE PEOPLE OF EBUBU IN HISTORY

THE PEOPLE OF EBUBU IN HISTORY

AN  INVITED PAPER PRESENTED BY HIGH CHIEF OSARO OLLORWI ON THE OCCASION OF CULTURAL FIESTA AT LEADERS’ FOUNDATION SCHOOLS, EBUBU ON THURSDAY (MMA) 8TH DECEMBER, 2016

The idea of setting one day aside for the recognition and appreciation of cultural diversity is a noble one and a contribution to understanding and co-existence. These days when the wave of division is blowing people off their feet, this innovation will definitely provide the needed opportunity for students from different tribes and homes to live together and appreciate the extent of cultural diversity and the need to live and let others live.

In treating the topic, The People of Ebubu in History, I shall be focusing on the origin of the people, their identity, traditional administration, education and culture

Founding of Ebubu

In many ways, Ebubu is perhaps the most ancient and interesting of the kingdoms that emerged in Eleme. For one thing, not only was it the earliest, or at least among the earliest to emerge, but at the peak of its power, it was the largest in area, population and culturally the most advanced.

Though we are not certain of the date for the founding of Ebubu, it appears that it began to emerge in the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century, somewhere between 1389 and 1430.

Legend has it that the people of Ebubu descended from the Cross Rivers region during the latter part of the fourteenth century. The immigrant who founded Ebubu was named Ibubu. He migrated with a band of farmers and hunters from their main habitat which is the Cross Rivers region in Eastern Nigeria through Ibibio and Ndoki territories to where they could get fertile land and settle; hence they fought their way through whenever they met with obstacles of any form until they came to this place, which was named after their leader – Ibubu.

These set of emigrants developed and multiplied as their journey progressed, and spread to where sections of them founded the kingdoms of Ebubu and Nchia.  It was from Ebubu that the various families began to move out to establish kingdoms of Onne, Eteo and Ekporo. Others went further and founded Abua, Odual, Andoni, Ogoni, Abuloma and a few other places.

That Ebubu was the original home of the founders of present day Eleme is borne out not only by the traditional accounts of all the Eleme kingdoms, but also by the fact that most of the Elemes to this day regard Ebubu as their holy city and the revered cradle of their civilization.

The hero who founded the present day Eleme was known as Ibubu pronounced Ebubu. He came into the territory generically called “Eleme” today through a track that latter came to be referred to as “Ogbere Mgbor” or “Agborgbor Mgbor” and settled.

Ebubu was originally the gateway into Eleme. Captain James Fosbery and his entourage came into Eleme on April 19, 1898 through this track-road and entered into Treaty with the King and Chiefs of Ebubu on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland Empress of India.

At the peak of its power, the frontiers of Ebubu extended as far as Mmu-miri (Imo River) in the northern axis, Okoroma in Ogoni in the eastern border, Mmu Ngololo in the southern border and Elelenwo in Evo Kingdom in the western border. King Nsole Ebulu and King Etoo Ekeada were the last of Ebubu Kings who presided over the vast Ebubu Empire. When Eleme Urban Council was created by the Rivers State Government in 1980 Ebubu was made the headquarters.

The Rivers State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Honourable Barrister Isaac Kamalu,   is also of the opinion that “Ebubu is the star of Eleme”. According to Kamalo, “Ebubu is the ancient city of Eleme. From inception, Ebubu has continued to provide home, shelter and refuge to all Eleme. It is the home of comfort to all the people of Eleme”.

Ebubu was never conquered by the British. Rather, Ebubu negotiated with the colonial powers on its own terms and conditions. When, the white man came to Ebubu, he met a developed city state under a powerful leader known as King Etoo Ekeada and excellent administrative machinery he couldn’t alter. No doubt, Ebubu remains the light and hope of Eleme. When it is hard for Eleme, Ebubu provides the lead, the solution and the victory.

Traditional Leadership

Ebubu traditional leadership is best described as a loose confederation with little or no central control as each confederating unit maintains its political, economic, social and military autonomy. This loose arrangement accounts for the collapse of the entire system at the slightest provocation. Ebubu had no political, ethnic or cultural unity. The Kingdom was made up of people who arrives the kingdom at different times, with diverse backgrounds, perceptions and expectations; and the Kings of Ebubu failed to weld them into a true united entity. Different peoples such as Egbalor, Ejamah, Agbeta, and Obolo each with its own distinctive culture, god, and needs owed allegiance to the Oneh Eh Ebubu but are left under their own traditional rulers and were only expected to contribute contingents or levies to the Oneh Eh Ebubu’s army in times of war. These clans, Egbalor, Ejamah, Agbeta and Obolo are further divided into thirty-two (32) communities and their people maintained their autonomy in all spheres. This situation do not only weakened and frustrated the central authority but give excessive powers to the federating units who dictate what happens in the Kingdom. The traditional leadership of Odido resides in Ebubu.

According to Chief O. O. Ngofa, Egbalor was the first community to emerge in Ebubu. In his words, “The Egbalor village is by local protocol the first community in Ebubu. It was both the seat of traditional, political and economic powers of Ebubu. Egbere Solote, the eldest son of Ebubu inherited Egbalor from his late father as his own settlement and pursued his father expansionist stance by extending the borderlines of Egbalor to Mmu-miri (Imo River) and Koroma in Ogoni. His direct descendants are known as Eseiji family in Egbalor.

He also observed that Ejamah was established by emigrate named Osaro Ewa of Egbara and was later joined by Olumaa Abasi from Ejialejor. Agbeta, he pointed out was created by Ollor Egbere Eseeji, another warrior-son of Egbere Solote. Obolo, he posited was created by Olungwe Ejiala and Kote Mbiewa both from Egbalor.

Table Showing Traditional Rulers of Ebubu 1812 – 2016

S/NO NAME TENURE VILLAGE OF ORIGIN
1. King Osaro Ekaa 1812 – 1846 Egbalor
2. King Nsole Ebulu 1846 – 1872 Egbalor
3. King Etoo Ekeada 1872 – 1907 Agbeta
4. King Osarollor Ochii 1907 – 1931 Agbeta
5. King Olungwe Ekiye 1931 – 1935 Egbalor
6. King Amakiri Olaka 1935 – 1966 Agbeta
7. King Goya Chinwi 1966 – 1967 Egbalor
8. King Godfrey O. Nnah 1967 – 1969 Ejamah
9. King Nelson O. Chinwi 1969 – 1986 Egbalor
10. King Friday K. O. Nwafor 1986 – 1991 Ejamah
11. King Nelson O. Chinwi 1991 – 2002 Egbalor
12. King Emmanuel O. Bebe 2003 – ? Agbeta

Education

Christianity was the forerunner of western education in all communities of the Niger Delta region, including Ebubu. Christianity came into Ebubu in 1913. A year later, with the help of John Kalio, James Awala Obe, Isaiah Eppie and few others a Church was opened in a hall in Egbalor. By 1916, a mud-Thatched Church was built through communal labour where Ebubu converts worshipped God. In 1919, St. Bartholomew (NDP) Church was established at its present location under the leadership of U. A. J. Koko. Since then, Christianity has continued to expand and spread in Ebubu. The introduction of Christianity into Ebubu in 1913 gave rise to the establishment of the first primary school in Ebubu in 1946.  The first secondary school was established in Ebubu in 1998.

 

Language

The language spoken in Ebubu is known as Eleme Language. It retains the vocabulary inherited from Ibibio which was its parent language. Eleme is not a dialect but a language with identifiable characteristics in Nchia (Mbolli) and Odido (Ebubu) dialects. Though this gap is closing rapidly because of greater communication and refinement, those who are very conversant know the difference. Its distinctiveness is borne of the fact that the language is not spoken by any of her neighbours.

The use of Eleme as a spoken language in indigenous homes is declining very fast. This is compounded by the rate of urbanization which has brought a high percentage of strangers from diverse language areas into regular communication; and English Language has become the common way of expression.

Religion

The traditional religion in Ebubu is ancestral worship and this has its value system in promoting good ethics and community life. But since the year 1913 when Ebubu embraced Christianity many changes have occurred that have eroded the traditional religion. This is to be expected because of increased level of communication and socialization. There is at present, sufficient latitude for operation of the primary religions of Christianity, Islam, etc. in Ebubu.

Ebubu Ethnic Nationality

When the British Colonial Government represented by Captain James Fosbery entered Eleme territory on April 19, 1898, he camped at Ebubu. Captain Fosbery and his entourage met two distinct ethnic groups in Eleme. These are Ebubu and Mbolli. They entered into separate Treaties with the Colonial Administration on the 19th and 20th of April, 1898. Let it be pointed out here that Nchia and Odido are synonymous with Mbolli and Ebubu. Mbolli is also synonymous with Eleme. “It follows therefore that what is today known as Eleme encompassed the Nchia towns”.

The 20th April, 1898 Treaty spelt out the component parts of Mbolli as Allissa (now Alesa), Agbonsi (now Agbonchia), Orgali (now Ogale), Alodi (now Alode), and Alito (now Aleto).  On the other hand, the Treaty with Ebubu entered into on 19th April, 1898, shows a homogeneous and coherent ethnic unit. Ebubu occupies an enviable position in Odido which can be compared to that of Rumigbo in Apara Clan of Rebisi or Ogale in Mbolli now Nchia or Eleme.

Mbolli, Nchia or Eleme and Ebubu are two separate entities unified loosely by similarity in dialects. Similarities in dialects are also found between Ebubu, Nchia, Gokhana and Ibibio. The name ELEME is an administrative grouping.

The important officials of the Kingdom were the following:

  1. Oneh Eh Eta was the title of the King.
  2. Oneh Nkiken was the Traditional Prime Minister, the direct descendant of the Founder of Ebubu and conscience of the community. He took charge of traditional functions; and in the absence of the King, performs administrative duties.
  3. Oneh Nkporon was the Spokesman and Mouth-piece of the Kingdom.

These officials perform traditional, socio-political and other functions through a powerful community based organization (CBO) known as Oku Nkpͻrͻ or Ogbo Nkpͻrͻ.

Contribution to National Economy

Oil exploration started in Ebubu in 1956. Ebubu is host to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and currently has fifty-two (52) oil wells, two (2) oil fields, one (1) flow station and one (1) booster station. Ebubu is also host to Daewoo Nigeria Limited, a Koran Company and several other oil and gas services companies spread across the area. The famous Rivers State School-To-Land and Panyan Returnees Camp are all located in Ebubu. Ebubu is also host to both Nigeria Custom Service Barracks and Nigeria Police Force Barracks

Culture

In discussing CULTURE I will endeavor to look at Eleme in its totality. This is because the name Eleme is today loosely adopted to encompass all the territories called Eleme. It is on this premises that Eleme and Ebubu (rightly or wrongly) is described as “one of the twenty major ethnic groups in Eastern Nigeria with its language, culture, and social order quite different and distinguished from those of their immediate neighbours”. The primary aim of today’s event– the Leaders Foundation School’s Cultural Fiesta, according to the organizer is, “To showcase our different cultures thereby promoting the Africa Culture”.

What is culture? Culture in its simplest form  is “a society’s shared and socially transmitted ideas, values and perceptions, which are used to make sense of experience and generate behavior and are reflected in that behavior”.

 

Guy Feuer, Emeritus Professor at Paris V-René Descartes observed that “Culture is a fundamental element of collective identities and of the often indelible imprint which they leave on individual identities”

 

The UNESCO in its “Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity” of 2 November, 2001 and the “Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions” of 20 October, 2005 linked cultural diversity and human rights in many ways including the protection and promotion of cultural diversity involving ensuring of freedom of expression, information, and communication; as well as the right for individuals to choose their modes of cultural expression (Convention Article 2, & 1). Article 7 of the Declaration considers cultural heritage as a source of creativity, while Article 9 demands that cultural policies should play a determining role in this creativity.

Declaration, Article 11 also reaffirms the importance of the link between culture and development by providing that the preservation and promotion of cultural diversity are the hallmark of sustainable human development.

Therefore, the protection and promotion of cultural diversity must form part of the policies of all Schools in Nigeria from Nursery to Tertiary. It is on this ground that we all should thank the management of Leaders’ Foundation School for promoting cultural diversity; and by extension stimulating peace, unity, freedom, creativity and above all, sustainable human development. Culture is an indispensable tool for formation, communication, protection, promotion, and regulation of Behaviours.

The behavior of Eleme indigenes groomed within the locality is regulated by the belief in the continued presence of the ancestors of each family as well as existence of deities endowed with supernatural powers. The average Eleme person will readily made confession when interrogated on issues for which he/she had knowledge or participation to avoid society’s rejection if the matter goes to the level of swearing before a deity or in its name.

Components of Culture

For our purpose, let us define components of culture as those agents or means of shared and socially transmitted ideas, values and perceptions that bind a defined set of people, which are the matrix in which future developments are anchored and depending on the relative level of attachment, a person grows to become a product of the regulatory forces of his native culture. They are those things that differentiate and distinguished one set of people from another. That is how the Ogoni differ from Eleme, Hausa from Ibo, Yoruba from Fulani, etc.  These component factors include Occupation, Food, Pattern of Dressing, Folktales and Stories, Arts and Crafts, Music, Dance, Musical Instruments, Traditional Festivals, Mask and Masquerades, Marriage, Greetings, Etc.

Occupation

The major occupation among Ebubu people is farming and hunting. The people also engage in minor fishing and trading.

Food

Eleme main food crop is yam (Esaa). This is supplemented with Cassava (Ojaku), which can be made into Nja Gari (Garri), Nja Ojaku (Foofoo/Loiloi), Pipini ojaku (Tapioka, slice cassava), mbiri (grinded cassava flavoured with ripe plantain, a sort of moimoi but richer and costly than ordinary moimoi), Cocoyam (Edente (Etoo Eleme), Etoo Akara, Echuru, Etoo Mmi – these can be cooked and eaten as obaa etoo or be pounded with enough palm oil and eaten with looloo mbalo as nja etoo).

Plantain (Obinͻͻ) can be eaten fried or boiled. It can also be pounded into omu or be grinded and mixed with cassava, fired and eaten as Pankek).  Three-leave yam (Ochu are of two varieties: Ochu Eleme and Joebi), Vegetable e.g., fluted pumpkin (Nsogũ), Pepper (Okofe), – all of which are grown for family use only and not for sale outside the community.

In other words, the staple foods that are customarily eaten by Eleme people are yams, cassava, cocoyam, plantain, three-leave yam, etc. The manner in which these foods are prepared and served makes the difference. Eleme yams are of different species and each has its particular use. They include: Ngwe, yᴐᴐ, kԑlԑmԑ, Chindonya, Dᴐkara, Mkpányi, Aka-Mkpányi, Okikaenu, etc. they are served sliced (Obaa Esaa) or pounded into eyarayara nja esaa or ͻtãrã nja esaa and eaten with the appropriate soup.

Other notable Eleme yams are Eburaale and Kᴐrᴐkᴐtᴐ, which are cultivated mainly by women and are mostly prepared into Esuri (yam pourage) and eaten.

There are three types of soup with cultural values in Eleme. These are Looloo Mbalo, Ebͻri Mbalo, and Ͻkwͻi Nsogũ. Each type of soup requires particular types of fish to go with, and they are meant for different occasions.

Looloo Mbalo is usually cooked with njijoii (snapper), nda (shynose), obui (catfish), ekoko (skate), ͻmεε (barracuda), and ekokoabura (shark) among other ingredients. Looloo mbalo is mostly served with nja esaa (pounded yam).

Ebͻri Mbalo is Eleme soup thickened with adε-mkpͻͻ (cowpea). It is known generally as native soup and may be prepared with dried fish and/or meat along other necessary condiments.

Ͻkwͻi Nsogũ entails the preparation of enough fresh pumpkin leaves, boiled and carefully grinded in mortal. The ingredients include mgboro, esͻrͻ ͻbani, dried meat, and one of the following types of fish – nda, ekoko, obui, eboakpina or ekokoabura. This type of soup is preferred during rainy season when fresh pumpkin leaves are abundant.

The ideal Eleme housewife knows the temperament of her husband and selects the type of soup she offers him to sustain and promote his love and good health.

Eleme Traditional Dressing

Eleme culture regulates the type and manner of dressing that suits different occasions. That accounts for the prescription of different dressings for both sexes at any given occasion and this promotes decency and morality among the people of Eleme. Eleme culture forbids a man dressing like a woman; while a woman must not dress like a man.

A spinster, except during a group customary ceremony, is not expected to tie two wrappers round her waist at the same time. O’ura Osuãa is the preserve of married women only. A widow who remains unmarried is precluded from tying her wrapper to reach down lower than her knees.

A bachelor in the process of marrying is expected to tie his wrapper in the manner called Ojibi Osuãa and this must not be knotted on the right side of his waist.

For members of the Chieftaincy Cadre and related title holders an outfit of Jumper, hat and walking stick with appropriate loincloth is the requirement.  But a titled chief must always tie Njiri, whether plain or designed.

Folktales and Story Telling

Stories and songs are instrumental in retaining languages and culture. Eleme folktales are particularly entertaining as they usually include a song with which the listener joins in. Stories are usually told in the evening to entertain adults and children alike. In addition to original songs, there is a rich culture for original composition of hymns – written and performed.

Arts and Crafts

Eleme people were once efficient craftsmen and women who produced mortals, pestles, drums, facemasks and masquerades, ladles, combs, chairs, boxes, among others. To meet their needs the Eleme people also produce clay pots, weave baskets, mats, etc. Painting is done mainly as a body decoration during festivals like wrestling, marriage, and ekpete dance.

Music

Traditional music in Eleme was developed out of the desire to transmit information. Singing and drumming were also developed for different types of occasions and ceremonies. Music is also essential parts of the Eleme culture.

Eleme cultural music includes:

  1. Mkpaa Ekoro
  2. Mkpaa Egͻni
  3. Egelege
  4. Ogolo
  5. Ngelenge
  6. Esͻ Mba
  7. Esͻ Akε
  8. Esͻ Ngwe
  9. Esͻ Okea Ebiε
  10. Kukunεnε
  11. Ebͻni
  12. Ogolo Ejԑ
  13. Ogolo Akԑ
  14. Kprikpԑ

 

Ø  Mkpaa Ekoro – This is a dance music in which men demonstrate their bravery and/or affluence. It is as old as Eleme.

Ø  Mpkaa Egͻni – It dates back to 1840 and remains a major talking drum of Eleme. Expert drummers use it to sing praises, encourage skills and bravery. Mkpaa Egͻni is the premier drum that is entirely indigenous to Eleme. It is customarily used for chieftaincy installation ceremonies and for yam title ceremonies. The burial of any traditional title holder is incomplete without mkpaa egͻni.

Ø  Egelege– This is a talking drum whose drummers are versatile and is used to convey a lot of information that remains people of the past thus gingers them into wrestling or warns about the consequences of an individual’s intended actions. Wrestling is the most popular sport in Eleme and egelege remains the special music for wrestling.

Ø  Ogolo– This is a local xylophone played as major dance music during celebrations. There are three major drummers, each handling 4, 7, or 3 of the wooden instruments. There are other drummers that handle the Ogũ, Okpo, and Ekere.

Ø  Ngelenge– Ngelenge has similar setting like Ogolo. The distinguishing feature between Ogolo, Ngelenge and other forms of Eleme traditional music is that while the songs related to Ogolo and Ngelenge are rendered entirely through drumming, the songs associated with Egelege, Esͻ Mba, Esͻ Ngwe, and Esͻ OkeaEbiε are rendered by designated singers.

Ø  Esͻ Mba – Esͻ mba is a musical group whose membership is confined to married women and widows. There are always Esͻ Mba groups in every Eleme clan or town and the group consists of two efficient singers and a concerted membership. Their instruments are “Egbe”, “Ekere”, and “Nsisaa”. Their songs related to matrimonial problems and their solutions and are inspiring. Esͻ mba is also used to exposed immorality and control social behaviour among women folks.

Ø  Esͻ Okea εbiε – Esͻ okeaεbiε is rendered by a designated singer and is concerned with revealing whatever offence that was committed in secret. Because Esͻ Okeaεbiε convened a lot of information concerning evil deeds or deviant behaviours of individuals and families, it acted as, “social or cultural means by which systematic and relatively consistent restrains are imposed upon individual behaviour and by which people are motivated to adhere to traditions and patterns of behaviour that are important to the smooth functioning of a group or society”.

Ø  Esͻ Akε – This consists of songs specially designed to encourage wrestlers. There is the lead singer and another person who sings an undertone to support him as well as maintaining the Ekere that provides the rhythm.

Ø  Esͻ Ngwe – This is another set of songs that relate to farming of yams and/or agriculture and the glory of acquiring the highly esteemed Eleme Yam Titles of Aachu, Obo, Obεrε Obo, Otaa Obo, and Achuete. Esͻ Ngwe is known to have given much encouragement to individuals who ordinarily were not inclined to taking any of these titles, as it made them reflect on their ancestors and proceed to taking two or more Yam Titles.

Ø  Kukunεnε, Ebͻniand Ogolo Ejԑ – These are ancient music played by warriors or secret cults in Eleme. They can be played at any time or day especially during emergency or community threat; or at midnight and only members of the cults concern participates. A lot of secrecy is associated with them but they ginger their members into action. They are played mostly during funeral ceremonies of members or during their meetings or initiations.

Ø  Esᴐ Eduduu, Kprikpԑ and Ogolo Akԑ – These are music of warriors, community defenders (Oku Ejԑ) and wrestling champions.

Dance

Eleme Dance refers to the dance of Eleme people. Eleme  dances teaches social patterns and values; and help people work, mature, praise, or criticize members of the community while celebrating festivals and funerals, competing, reciting history, proverbs, and poetry as well as to encounter the gods.

Musical Instrument

Eleme musical instruments include: musical pot, gong, flute, horn, wooden drum, split wooden drum, egbe, nsisaa, okpo, ogu, ogela, ekere, and so on which produce sounds by hitting, shaking, beating, blowing in the air, and rubbing them against another.

Few Eleme dances worthy of mention include:

  1. Eje Ekpete – This is a common dance among the Eleme women folks.
  2. Eje piopiopioo – It is the girls that dance piopiopioo. The style is exciting, percussive footwork danced bear footed at a particular temple on whistle, fiddle or mouth music. That is beating ones heels, toes, and feet in as many ways as possible and imaginable, keeping time with the rhythms of the music in reel and jig time.
  3. Eje Alikirijã – There are many styles of alikirijã dance that can be demonstrated. The style has never been prescribed, except dancing steps neat and close to the floor. Many alikirijã dancers have their own individual style and steps they like to do to particular tunes.
  4. Eje Agala– Dance for the boys and girls.
  5. Eje Mbᴐkᴐ/Ngelem – Wedding dance for new brides.
  6. Tamkpe Eje – Dance for both male and female irrespective of age.
  7. Okeri Eje This is the most popular dance step in Eleme. It is waist dance that is performed by both men and women. Okeri Eje dance step has been perfected in Eleme that both men and women use it to dance all types of music.
  8. Eje Echῑi Osila This is first daughter dance. In Eleme, every first daughter is entitled to this dance (as of right), and it is the only dance in which the dancer’s legs never touches the ground. The new bride, who must be first daughter, is usually dressed in a mountain of expensive cloths arranged in concentric circles round her waist. She will put on her legs/ankles heavy bracelets (abarachwa), heavy coral beads round her neck and both wrists, together with a ceremonial staff with white handkerchief tied on top of it. She also wears short skirt with her body exposed, carried on the shoulder of an able bodied young man, and she dances the ngelem music to and from the market, hailed all along by jubilating crowd of admirals.

Let it be stated here that Eleme traditional music and dance and accompanying activities are now on the decline because the generation of expert singers, drummers, wrestlers, and so on has given way to another generation of footballers, disco dancers and cultural alienators.

Traditional Festivals

Eleme traditional festivals include:

Agba Esaa– This is the ceremonial conferment of graded traditional yam titles of Aachu, Obo, Obere Obo, Otaa Obo, Achuete, and Ewoachunsin. These degrees conferred on recipient certain rights, privileges and honours, and are recognized throughout the Eleme country.

Agba Esun –Agba Esun (or New Yam Festival) is celebrated to express gratitude to the ancestors and to the living elders. The sacrifice known as “Ↄtԑbԑ Enu” is offered annually, usually in October, in the belief that the ancestors who have transformed to spirits upon their death are still very much around, seeing everything they are doing and trying on their part to guide and protect them; and who labored to cut the virgin forest and gradually reduced them to farm lands desired the first fruits. The sacrificial offering usually consists of one cradle (now basin) of good yams, drink, fish, fowl, or goat and other condiments.

Ogbo Nja– This is a cultural festival for children and new brides where parents, husbands, mothers-in-law, and fathers-in-law present gifts to their children, new brides and relatives; where children make new friends and eat happily and freely from community to community; and where women in their best and newest dresses sing, dance and rejoice for being hardworking, healthy and sensible enough to sustain the growth of their children throughout the year.

Ogbo nja is celebrated between the 13th and 20th of July annually depending on the position of the moon and traditional weekday known as Ͻkͻͻ. Ogbo nja festival is celebrated for two consecutive days. Day one known as Ͻkͻͻ Ͻbibai Etoo is for women while the next day called Mma Agba Okundo is for men.

Agba Nkikεε – This festival is celebrated annually on Ochu within the second week of March in honour of Nkikεε, the Earth goddess, and to mark the beginning of the planting season. Five days thereafter, precisely on the next Ochu another related ceremony called “Agba Etenchi” is marked, again to inform all and sundry of the commencement of the year’s farming season. Although only the initiated elders (Oku Nkpͻrͻ and Oku Nyoa) are involved in both festivals, it is used to communicate the beginning of a farming season, which resulted in both the young and old participating actively in farm work.

Obira Asã – This is lovers’ festival or celebration day; a sort of Valentine Day. It is also the final day for wrestling competitions across Eleme.

Ͻla Mba – This is Eleme’s wedding festival day. It was previously celebrated once a year, in June.

Other festivals worthy of mention are: Agba Mba, Agba Okundo, Oɂe Akε, and Agba Obibai Etoo.

Masks and Masquerades

Masks and masquerades are important elements of culture. In Eleme masks and masquerades are generally called Owu. Most owu are named after their bearers. However, there are few outstanding masks and masquerades in Eleme viz:

  1. Ebᴐni
  2. Ete Okolaa
  3. Nkͻnkͻ
  4. Ogolo Kurukuru
  5. Akparaloloo
  6. Dededede Ebiri

Marriage

Marriage is a highly respected institution in Eleme culture. The Eleme culture recognizes marriage as a union between man and woman in holy matrimony. To the people of Eleme, marriage is not only the coming together of man and woman in holy matrimony but, also a union of two families and two people for mutual benefits.

 

All mature females are expected to marry and live with their husbands. Children of such marriages belong to their father and have no substantial rights with their grandfather. The nuclear family which a man raises is subordinate to the larger family unit called Oku Ͻtͻ, which he belongs.

 

The Eleme culture promotes polygamy and encourages intra Eleme marriage. An Eleme man is expected to marry Eleme woman as first wife and is then free to marry from any other tribe or ethnic nationality. Because the culture frowns at Eleme man marrying first wife from outside, it accords no marriage recognition to those who do so, and they are exempted from participating in several cultural activities including taking of yam titles, admission into Ogbo Nkpᴐrᴐ and conferment of traditional chieftaincy titles. This once cherished tradition has been bastardized. Do not ask me how and why because we all know it.

Greetings

Greetings remain an important aspect of culture. Greeting is regarded as a sign of good behavior. It is expected that children greet their parents, teachers, and elders whenever and anywhere they see them. Eleme has no special way and manner of greeting. Although, the mode of greetings in Eleme has changed over the years, perhaps proving that culture is dynamic, this has been highly influenced by the English Language and tailored in that direction of our colonial masters. To my mind, Ade Ageta (Good Morning), Nnyimԑ Eɂera (Good Afternoon) and Mmuji Abã(Good Evening) are acceptable manner of greeting which should be adopted by all in keeping with changing times.

Conclusion

We have demonstrated that Eleme was founded by a warrior named Ibubu, now Ebubu; and that Ebubu is the ancient capital city of the territory known today as Eleme. It is also clear that Eleme has a rich cultural heritage and that Eleme people are known by their dressing, language, behavior pattern and have music and dances for various occasions and festivals.

Finally, I am grateful to the Proprietor and Management Staff of Leaders Foundation Schools for providing this opportunity for interaction, and the students for actualizing this occasion. I thank all the special guests for appreciating the necessity of shelving all personal engagements in favour of this occasion. I thank the general audience for listening to my views about the Ebubu People in History.

References:

Gutkind, P & Waterman, P., (ed) “A Science of Social Control”, in African Social Studies, London: Heinemann, 1977

Guy Feuer on The Convention on Cultural Diversity in African Geopolitics Identity and African Identities, no27 July – September 2007.

Jennings, J. D. &AdansonHoebel, (ed) “Readings in Anthropology”, New York:   McGraw Hill, 1972.

Ngofa, O. O., “Eleme Tradition,” Rescue Publications, Ogale-Eleme, 1994.

Osaro Ollorwi, “Community Policing & Crime Prevention in Pre-Colonial Eleme Issues& Perspectives” Port Harcourt, 2009

Osaro Ollorwi,   www.ollorwi.com.ng

 

Ottenberg, Simon & Phoebe, (ed) “Cultures & Societies of Africa”, New York: Random House, 1969

 

 

Chief Osaro Ollorwi

08036694027

 

AMNESTY IN ELEME TRADITON

Amnesty in Eleme Tradition

By

Ollorwi Osaro

In discussing Amnesty in Eleme Tradition it is wise we attempt to explore the basic idea(s) underlying amnesty. Whether and why Eleme tradition makes provision(s) for amnesty? What are the types of amnesty provided for in the Eleme tradition? Who is qualified for amnesty under the Eleme tradition? Who institutes or grants amnesty under the Eleme tradition? And how is such amnesty managed?

Amnesty is a pardon extended by an authority to a group or class of persons for offenses against the society. It is the act of a sovereign power officially forgiving certain classes of persons who are subject to trial but have not yet been convicted. Amnesty includes more than pardon, it eliminates all legal or traditional remembrance of an offense. True amnesty entails pardoning past violations without changing the laws violated.

 

Why Amnesty?

An amnesty may be extended when the authority decides that bringing citizens into compliance with a law is more important than punishing them for past offenses. Amnesty after a war helps end a conflict and unite a people. While laws against treason, sedition, desecration and sacrileges, etc. are retained to discourage future criminalities, it makes sense to forgive past offenders, after the enemy no longer exists.

Amnesty can also be used to get people to turn in contraband or weapons, as in the case of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Rivers State Amnesty Programme of His Excellency Chief Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike (CON) where cultists and other criminals were encouraged to turn-in their weapons in exchange for amnesty.

There are several advantages of using amnesty in the society. They include:

  1. Avoiding expensive prosecutions (especially when massive numbers of violators are involved);
  2. Prompting violators to come forward who might otherwise have eluded authorities; and
  3. Promoting reconciliation between offenders, victims’ relations and the society.

To achieve the above objectives there are certain obligations required of the parties to an amnesty programme such as:

  • Willingness and readiness of the beneficiaries to surrender their arms,
  • Readiness to unconditionally renounce militancy, cultism, etc. as the case might be,
  • Express endorsement of an undertaking to this effect by the beneficiaries.

 

In return, the authority is expected to pledge its commitment to institute programmes to assist the disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration of repentant offenders.

Are these processes or requirements part of Eleme Traditional Amnesty programme? The answer is NO.

The Eleme Traditional Amnesty is the way and manner in which a pardon or forgiveness extended by the traditional authority to a person or group of persons for offenses against the community is managed based on the culture and traditional of the people.

The traditional amnesty programme is not designed to enrich offenders, repentant criminals or cultists with cash rewards or property possession. Instead, it institutes forgiveness, builds the bridge of peace and provides responsible communal rehabilitation that integrates offenders back into society.

The Eleme Traditional Amnesty from inception lacks the capacity to institute the process for the beneficiaries to willingly surrender their weapons. Instead, the weapons of crime are left with the offender who voluntarily, chooses on his/her own volition, to surrender it to the community leadership, discard it or keeps it for future use.

Secondly, the tradition did not put in place a framework for the beneficiaries to sign any formal undertaking. Rather, the entire community acts as witness to the amnesty and ensures its implementation.

Fortunately, the above shortcomings are properly handled by the well-defined process of readiness of the offender to unconditionally renounce bloodshed, militancy, cultism, etc. as the case might be.

Who Receives Amnesty in Eleme Tradition?

In Eleme tradition amnesty is usually granted to someone who has committed a heinous offence deserving of death or banishment from the community but for which the Oku Nkporon (traditional leadership council) led by the Oneh Eh Eta decides to pardon after the performance of an elaborate sacrifice by the Oneh Nkiken (the Traditional Prime Minister) to free the offender from possible repercussions, cleanse the land and reintegrate him into society. They include someone who murderers an indigene, kill in war, during hunting expedition, etc.

Murderer

An example of such offence is murder of an indigene. If an indigene is kill for whatever reason, unless a royal pardon (amnesty) is granted the murderer will remain in exile for life. It is an abomination for a murderer to return to the community when all the processes of traditional amnesty have not been concluded.

Killing in war also requires the same sacrifice to wash blood from the offender’s eyes and prevent him from further killings at the slightest provocation.

It is equally believed that if this ritual is not performed and the necessary sacrifice offered, the land will remain desecrated, the blood of the victim will continue to hunt the offender and he will eventually kill again.

Similarly, in Eleme, murder of indigene is known to plug the community into additional bloodshed thus desecrating the land except purification rituals are performed to cleanse the land and free the perpetrator from the wrath of “revengers of blood”.

The Eleme Tradition recognized blood as a curse when wantonly shed, unless duly expiated. The two prominent revengers of blood identified by Eleme culture are Almighty God, who is believed must require human blood from anyone who viciously spills it.

The second is the nearest relatives of the deceased who must be pacified or appeased to avoid more bloodshed in the community.

It is also a general believe in Eleme that even soldiers who participate in war and people who defend their community during conflicts with another community must be subjected to this process to enable them live normal life and free themselves from the “Revenger of Blood”.

Process of Managing Amnesty in Eleme Tradition

The process of managing amnesty in Eleme tradition is time consuming, painful and costly. The steps involved include: acceptance of wrongdoing by the offender, identification of offender and relatives, identification of victims and relatives, negotiation, administering of oaths/swearing, sacrifice of peace offering/purification rites and reintegration of the offender into the community.

1.     Acceptance of Wrongdoing

The offender is required to show remorse and formerly and publicly accept responsibility for his actions.

2.     Identification of Offender and Victim Relatives

The traditional leadership must properly identify the victim’s nearest relatives who must be contacted and involved in the negotiation process. Amnesty in Eleme is not an arbitrary announcement by the traditional leadership. It entails painstaking negation involving the offender’s relatives, the victim’s relatives and the community to achieve a lasting solution. In fact, it is the offender and his/her relatives that appeal for amnesty and not the other way round.

3.     Negotiation

This involves bringing the parties to the negotiating table. Narrating how the people of Eteo managed traditional amnesty in November, 2016, the Paramount Ruler of Eteo, HRH Emere Emmanuel Tekara Akobe said, “when it became necessary that the cultists were tired of killing themselves and needed to turn a new leaf, we the chiefs, initiated the process of amnesty for them”, he explained.

 

It could be recalled that on the night of Saturday October 15, 2016 suspected members of a cult group raided Eteo community in Eleme, killing scores of people, including a pregnant woman. The incident which saw a whole family wiped out turned the community into a ghost town as residents deserted the community to seek refuge in the nearby towns and villages.

 

“Through those who were in contact with them, we set into motion a process of influencing them to see reasons and then established more direct communication with a view to helping us resolve the cult violence in Eteo by reaching an agreement”, he pointed out.

 

“This communication ignited the process of discovering mutual interest; it created a suitable environment for working together towards lasting peace in Eteo”, he continued.

 

“In the process we identified several options for resolving disagreement between groups of people and placed values on them, but settled for the Traditional Method, a system that was widely used by our ancestors and it worked for them effectively”, Akobe said.

4.     Ajija Ritual

Ajija is a term that generally refers to any sacrifice which gives the offender a chance to confess and expiate his/her guilt; cleanse the land, and placate and win back the friendship and approval of the gods, the nearest relatives of the victim and the society. Ajija is the symbol of the intercession of the community’s Traditional Prime Minister accompanying and making efficacious the prayer of the people. As direct descendant of the founder of the community, his words are law and highly honoured by all citizens, including human beings, spirit beings, deities and the ancestors that he represents.

Ajija is the core of all Eleme Traditional Amnesty programmes. If it is absent or ignored for whatever reason, it means that the whole amnesty programme is mere jamboree and of no effect both physically and spiritually. It also leaves the revengers of blood (God and the nearest relatives of the deceased) with no other alternative than to revenge the wanton bloodshed at the appropriate place and time, and under suitable circumstance. Ignoring Ajija definitely brings about more bloodshed in the offenders family and in the community sooner or later. The history of blood seeking revenge and troubling the land abounds everywhere.

There are many types of Ajija in Eleme tradition. Few among are Pregnancy Ajija, Sexual Ajija, Murder Ajija, Killing Ajija, etc. Ofu Mmi Adε is unique in its character. All these types of Ajija have their peculiar versions of Ojuri Ajija Rituals and Ͻlͻ Ajija Sacrifices, which are beyond the scope of this essay.

5.     Purification Rituals

Apart from the expiatory ritual which gives the offender a chance to confess and expiate his guilt and propitiatory sacrifice which are made to win back the friendship and approval of the gods, the nearest relatives of the deceased and the society a purification sacrifice must be made to cleanse the land, especially the scene of the murder, sexual offence, etc. This Ajija is known as Peace Offering. It is offered to cleanse the land .This is the ritual observances whereby Eleme person is formally absolved from the taint of uncleanness; especially those connected with blood that was wantonly shed.

It also include making of a sacrificial atonement to cleanse the shed blood from eyes of the perpetrator to appease the number one revenger of blood – God, who must require of all BLOOD, and avert a curse from falling upon those who wantonly shed blood and the land.

Because blood is the mysterious sacredness which belongs to life, it becomes a curse when wantonly shed. Once shed, it torments the offender, the land and leads to more bloodshed. It is to prevent this scenario that the sacrifice known as Ofu Mmi Adε is also performed before the offender is allowed to return to the community to live normal life.

6.     Administration of Oath/Swearing

Once the relevant Ajija sacrifices have been offered, the next stage is swearing in the name of a Deity by the parties involved. This step involves the procurement of the Deity, offering of necessary sacrifices at the Town-Square in the presence of the entire community on an appointed day and time and publicly swearing.

The swearing in the name of a known deity at the town-square, at the agreed day and time blows off the offender’s cover and brings him/her face-to-face with the relatives of the deceased. Although risky, it helps to consolidate the amnesty or forgiveness processes which were initiated some weeks or months ago and to pacify aggrieved bereaved relatives.

It reassures the deceased relatives that the traditional leadership is concerned about the dead and has taken necessary steps according to our tradition to pacify the deceased’s spirit, appeal to them for forgiveness and cleanse the desecrated land.

It encourages the revengers of blood to truly and totally forgive the offender and let the ancestors tamper justice with mercy.

It builds trust, credibility, and reciprocation; promotes understanding, and deals with the issues rather than persons.

It ensures commitment by all parties to its implementation and maintenance, publicizing it accordingly.

Where swearing in the name of a deity is frowned at due to the compromising and manipulative tendencies of the elders, Eleme Tradition favours “Nkpͻrͻ Eta”, which is the symbol of sovereignty, power, peace, unity and justice as instrument of swearing. Many families and linage in Eleme have been extinct, destroyed or devastated for swearing Nkpͻrͻ falsely.

Swearing provides the framework for implementation of the purification and reintegration rituals, which is the final level of traditional amnesty programme.

Comparing Modern and Traditional Amnesties

Both traditional and modern amnesties aim to officially forgive certain classes of persons who are subject to trial but have not yet been convicted. In the past both the traditional and modern leaderships have demonstrated the political will to manage amnesty but lack the socio-economic frameworks and resources to ensure its proper implementation, monitoring and controls needed for it success. These shortcomings are responsible for the failure of all conceived amnesties in recent times.

The traditional amnesty lacks the important ingredients of a well-defined amnesty programme which are Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of the offenders into normal life. Although, it tries to demobilize and reintegrate the offenders, it lack formal approach and there is no explicit procedure and institution for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.

The traditional leadership is just peace makers and has little or no stake in the amnesty programme. They buy nothing into it and buy nothing out of it.

It also lacks the institution(s) to properly coordinate, fund and promote concerted development strategy for the community with the aim of addressing underdevelopment as a major driver of instability in the community.

In the case of cultism, the traditional system lacks the strategy to disarm cultists as there are no frameworks in place in which available arms and ammunition can be retrieved from the cultists thereby reducing the volume of arms in circulation and for re-armament.

The traditional institution lacks the capacity to make provisions for skill development, training, job placement and employment for the beneficiaries of the traditional amnesty programme. This shortcoming makes it possible for the repentant cultists and criminals to return to life of crimes worse than they were before the amnesty.

No provision for nonviolence transformational training tailored to extinguish the belief of the cultists in violence or provide them a more powerful alternative – nonviolence activities.

There are also no follow up with cordon and search operation in the area and as well as any legislative framework to sanction the possession of arms by anyone particularly members of the groups who were disarmed.

Because the deity is the ultimate arbitrator here, groups and individuals in the community are prevented from participating in mopping up arms cache in their communities.

The disarmed cultists and their leaders are similarly not compelled to sign any legally binding undertaking never to conduct an act of insurgency against the state or be found bearing arms in the community. The oath they took is mere pronouncement to cease fire, which in most cases are short-lived and breakable as the deities are known today to lose their efficacy due to the growing influence of Christianity and Western Education.

Unfortunately though, and with the exception of bonds swore to by the cultists, most of these steps were not initiated as a follow up to the disarmament of the groups in Eleme.

The aim of demobilization is to disband the armed group by breaking down its command structure and dispersing the members thereby making remobilization difficult if not impossible. The Traditional Amnesty programme lacks the ability to achieve this objective. The various threats coming from the commanders of the rival former armed groups and the ease with which they converge in Ebubu and sack the city are evident indications that the command structures still remain intact and members can easily be mobilised.

We noted in Eteo, Ebubu, Alesa and other Eleme communities that communications with the cultists are done through their commanders. This arrangement reinforced pre-existing loyalties and command relationship which fostered dependency on their commanders. It makes remobilization easy, fast and cheap.

The absence of a well-defined reintegration system is a serious setback to the entire process of traditional amnesty. After demobilization (sic) what become of these ex-cultists? This question, the traditional system makes no provisions, thus worsening the security situation after a short while.

These cultists depend on guns and other weapons for their livelihood. When the guns are not collected from them what does the system expect them to do next? What alternatives does the system give to them to encourage them turn their back on the guns? Perhaps, this is the main reason why they were not requested to return their arms because it has nothing to give to them as alternative means of livelihood? Besides, the cultists are reluctant to return their weapons for fear of being stripped of everything and given nothing in return – no empowerment programmes, no development projects, nothing in sight, no hope to live for.

Importantly, swearing in the name of a Deity or invocation of Juju is no longer in vogue. In the time past, this option worked effectively due to the prevailing belief and attachment to worship of deities and ancestral spirits. Today, everybody claims to be Christian or Muslim but wicked than the devil in all ramifications.

Secondly, the system is full of flaws and subject to several manipulations by compromising-community leaders who are known to invoke juju round the community in the day and go behind to revoke same in the night due to their complicity in the whole episode.

These are also some of the factors that make it impossible for the restoring of peace, safety and security in the community using the instrumentalities of Eleme Traditional Amnesty Programme.

Amnesties in Nigeria have always failed not because of absence of political-will on the part of the government but the authorities inability to categorize amnesties, identify all parties to a particular amnesty, and encourage them to play their respective roles actively. The non-incorporation of the traditional aspects of offering the appropriate sacrifices to obtain pardon for the offender, restoring and reintegrating the offender of blood into the community, and cleansing the land as part of the amnesty process by the government leaves wide room for reoccurrence of violence and bloodbath at the slightest incitement. The Chinese, Indians, Koreans, Japanese, Britons, Russians, Germans, Israelis, and so on honour their culture above every other thing. Their culture is their teacher! If government is too busy to remember that aspect or too scared to dabble into it, what are our traditional institutions doing? What are the family elders doing to rescue their children?

Conclusion

Africa is a continent of cultures. Nigeria prides itself as giant of Africa because of its wide cultural diversity. What makes a people thick and unique is their culture. All cultures have a way and manner of dealing with nasty bloodshed. Different cultures define different ways of offering pardon, restoring and reintegrating an offender of blood into the community, and cleansing the land. These issues and the processes involved are usually not for public consumption but the peace, stability and security that are obtained therefrom benefits all.

Therefore, elders (African Elders) of the various families and communities whose children were granted amnesty in the past or recently should as a matter of importance do the needful to save our children and communities from further bloodshed. Blood is not water, blood is not wine. Blood is life. The potency of blood is incomparable. Blood sees, hears, speaks, acts, and have the powers to fight back except properly placated. Blood is God in man. No one ever sheds blood and goes scot-free.

If those who spilled blood and are living normal life, or walking freely on the streets, tell you what they pass through to be so free you will do everything humanly possible to avoid bloodshed. Let us do something to help the government to reclaim all our children from the devil!

References:

  1. Bryan A. Gardner (ed.). 2009. Blacks Law Dictionary (9th ed.). St. Paul, MN: West
  2. Ollorwi Osaro (2012). Community Policing and Crime Control in Pre-Colonial Eleme: Issues & Perspectives, Nigerian Institute of Security, Port Harcourt
  3. Ollorwi Osaro (2016) http://www.ollorwi.com.ng Addressing Insecurity in Eleme a Memorandum Submitted to CTC Chairman of Eleme Local Government, Hon. Johnson O. Nwogu.

Contacts:

  1. ollorwiosaro@gmail.com
  2. www.ollorwi.com.ng
  3. +234 (0) 8036694027

THE IMPACT OF SECURITY ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF RIVERS STATE OF NIGERIA

Everywhere in Nigeria today, security remains the most topical issue on the lips of the citizenry. Many are yet to come to terms with the concept, nature and scope of security in economic growth and development. But, that believe security is a necessary paradox, providing platforms to support and legitimize repressive state powers in one side and instruments for maintaining law and order in society in the other.

Security is life and life is security. Security is at the core of human existence, human development and human living and important in human living standard. Security is also the pillar of wealth creation and value preservation. “From the stone age man to the computer age man, man’s progress and development has been contingent on his ability to safeguard things of value”, Ollorwi (2009).

Any modern society cannot be seriously addressing the issue of development if such consideration is not based on the foundation of adequate security. The concept of security implies to be secure from war and terrorism, crime, pandemics, want, fear, and environmental damage. It measures the absence of threats to acquired values and the absence of fear that such values will be attacked, (Lack 1997). Security, law and order are the major preoccupation of any government. Once a government gets this priority right, it has made the very first right step. Development of such a concept on which other development critically depends requires collation, collaboration, cooperation, coordination, vision, foresight, long range planning, consistency and continuity. In other words, security is an imperative for any community, any society, and indeed, any nation’s development.

The villagisation of the globe has further made security an all-important desideratum for all peoples and nations. Regrettably, poverty, ignorance, illiteracy, marginalization, unemployment, oppression and the likes have continued to fuel insecurity in Nigeria and slow, or do I say, hunt economic growth and development?

Questioning the object of security in human endeavors, (economic-growth and development) leads inexorably to questioning the exclusive focus on the threat, use, and control of military force. Such exercises have led to the killing, maiming, and incarceration of many freedom fighters and activists in the past and present Nigeria. The widespread human-rights abuse of the late General Sani Abacha, who served as the de facto President of Nigeria from 1993 to 1998 is still fresh in our memory.

Rivers State

Rivers State is the hub of the oil industry in Nigeria and very rich in hydrocarbons, from which the nation derives its major revenue. Sadly, the state is confronted with security challenges, especially illegal oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism, terrorism, piracy, kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism, militancy, etc. The consequences of insecurity in any given society are usually disastrous. Apart from the aforementioned crimes, Rivers State is presently beset with a different array of political, communal, and criminal issues, including cultism and gang-related violence, protests and gang war.

The strategic importance of Rivers State in the socio-economic and political future of Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized. Apart from evolving as the oil and gas nerve-center of Nigeria over the years, the State has to its credit a growing population of about 5.1 million (the sixth most populous state in the country) and an impressive GDP of over 21.07 billion USD – which is bigger than that of most African countries, including Botswana, Rwanda, Namibia, Lesotho, etc.

Impact of 2015 General Elections in Rivers State

The enviable economic and socio-political scorecard of Rivers State has made electable positions in the state more attractive. And because elections in Nigeria determine who controls and allocates resources coupled with the strategic nature of Rivers State in the socio-political and economic calculus of the country, security impacts greatly on election processes of the State more compare to other States of the federation.

Therefore, one need not be surprised by the political intrigues and maneuvers currently going on in order to capture the soul of the state. But, I must add that the use of violence or political bullying to achieve this, is corruption and its consequences are detrimental to development of the State.

The State was a pivotal state in the 2015 general elections and experienced elevated levels of election-related tension and violence throughout 2014. Over a year now after the general elections in the country politically-induced violence is yet to abate in the State. Instead, subsequent remediation elections are tagged “inconclusive”. However, results of these cancelled/inconclusive elections are presently being cooked up for release; perhaps to prevent further violence and bloodshed, (sic)?

Elections are meant to be one of the democratic processes of electing leaders at all branches and levels of governance in the society; but, in Nigeria, elections have posed more security threats to the corporate existence of the country and widened the gaps among the citizenry. Election violence and unnecessary waste of scarce resources arising from election litigations in the country are lamentable. The Independent Electoral Commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu recently declared that conducting elections in the country comes with so much trouble of litigation. He said INEC “had been taken to Court 680 times by litigants over the last general elections”.

The Rivers State Governor, Chief Barrister Nyesum Ezenwo Wike, CON envisioned a State that is secured, safe and peaceful. This, the administration intends to achieve through collaboration with the Federal Government, the security agencies and all stakeholders to combat crime and guarantee the safety and security of lives and property in the State. Lofty goals and good intensions anticipated to transform and reposition the security and development of Rivers State.

But, let it be pointed out here that these goals are achievable only within the framework of well refined national and international security arrangements, since no community is an island in the current global village.

Besides, the development in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) make nonsense of the idea of Rivers State embarking on wholesome security under the present unitary system wherein power at the center is not separated and devolve among the three arms of government – the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary – but concentrated not also in an institution but in an individual – Mr. President. Secondly, the resources that the State can devote to security in the face of increasing social needs are increasingly diminishing to the point where there is no alternative than reliance on federal government who determines what resources comes to the state at any point in time.

Again, the dwindling future of the State finances arising from the current national economic crisis that has reduced federal allocation to the lowest in recent times; depleting internally generated revenue caused by inability of numerous taxpayers (corporates and individuals) to meet their social obligations to the State combined to frustrate development efforts, as security continue to feed fat on available scare resources.

The human and physical development we are seeing today in the State is the extra efforts of a Governor determined to deliver dividends of democracy to his people.

For states of the federation to provide security and develop at its own pace, they must be given commiserate powers and allow to develop natural resources within their domain and create the necessary infrastructure that would attract investors. The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode make a point on Thursday 24th August, 2016 in Kaduna at the 4th Progressives Governors Lecture organized by the All Progressives Congress (APC), when he said that State Governors be allowed “to develop their potentials; to unbundle the potentials of each state; take the comparative advantage of each state and fuse them together for the needs of our people”. This also would necessitate national restructuring, dismantle obnoxious laws such as the Land Use Decree of 1978, Pipeline Act CAP 145 Vol. VI of 1958, Mineral Act of 1990, Exclusive Economic Zone Act of 1978 (and many others), and enact appropriate legislations to enable the states own both the land and natural resources in their lands and waters.

The lopsided unitary system that operates in Nigeria is the cause of our problem. It is a curb in the wheel of individual state’s development efforts.

Without a genuine commitment to true federalism and democracy security will continue to rob development of vital resources. Besides, the Nigeria political classes who control and allocate the resources respect no rules but those of power, its indiscriminate and unconstitutional application, which is already degenerating to a monstrous absurdity. The process of nation-building is being halted as politics has assumed the winner-take all syndromes, as demonstrated by the political appointments and development projects distribution national standard formula of 92% north and 5% south.

Back home, the incident of 17th August, 2016, in which the Police and DSS sealed up the Shark Stadium venue of the People’s Democratic Party’s National Convention due to conflicting courts judgments won’t have occurred if State Police was functional. Therefore, it is time we sit together and amicably restructure Nigeria either along regional autonomy or natural boundaries. Each State must be allowed to be in charge of its police and other functions as practiced in the USA and UK from where we copy almost everything.

Costs and Impacts of Insecurity

The socio-political and economic landscape in Nigeria has been blighted by the endemic twin evil of crime and violence. The abysmal failure of successive administrations in the State to address challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequitable distribution of wealth among the different nationalities that constitute Rivers State, ultimately resulted to anger, agitation and violent crimes against the State and the nation by some individuals and groups. Such crimes as earlier mentioned include militancy, kidnapping, armed robbery, bombing, destruction of government properties, among others.

The activities of various militia groups consequently resulted in low income for government from oil revenue, moderating the Gross Domestic Product growth rate, low participation of local and foreign investors in economic development and insecurity of lives and properties of the citizens. Since the last four years, there has been a dramatic twist on the wave, dynamics and sophistication of insecurity in Rivers State in particular and Nigeria in general. Insecurity which used to be one of the lowest concerns in the hierarchy of our social problems has now assumed an alarming proportion. A time we thought that corruption and power failure have the crown of our problems, insecurity in the country has now taken the front seat. However, those that believe insecurity in the State is an exclusive reserve of a particular nationality are not in tune with the current realities on ground. The pattern of criminality in Rivers State has been zoned: militancy and piracy in Rivers West Senatorial Zone, kidnapping in Rivers South-East Senatorial Zone and ritual killing in Rivers East Senatorial Zone, illegal oil bunkering, cultism, armed robbery, political and non-political assassinations across the State. The zonal structure of insecurity has also given rise to unlegislated security formations in all the villages, towns and communities in the State in a bid to curtail the alarming rate of insecurity. At the national level, the frequent occurrence of bomb explosions, orchestrated by the acclaimed religious extremists in the northern part of the country, has assumed a worrisome dimension. An estimated number of over 30,000 lives have been lost to bomb explosion and other violence from 2010 till date. According to security information released by Nigerian Institute of Security, a frontline security institution, between March and December 2012, there were a total of 156 successful explosions in the country which claimed several lives. On the 20th of August, 2016, Daily Post, an online news media quoted Ambassador Ahmed Shehu the Chairman and Executive Director of Network of Civil Society Organization (NECSO) as saying that 23,000 people were killed, and 2.2 million displaced in Borno State alone.

In fact, I agreed completely with the Former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar when he said that there was no need for national security threats to arise from Boko Haram, Niger Delta Avengers and Biafra agitators currently threatening the peace of the country Thus, the inability of the security agencies to address the country’s security challenges during these inauspicious periods raised yet another critical question on the preparedness of Nigeria to attain desired political, social and economic heights in the year 2020. It further poses serious threats to the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign state. Therefore, addressing the security challenges in Nigeria ultimately requires not only the identification of the causes of threats but also a critical evaluation of the performance of security agencies in handling the situation in Nigeria. These security agencies include:

  • National Security Agency (NSA)
  • National Intelligence Agency (NIA)
  • Department of State Services (DSS)
  • Nigeria Police Force (NPF)
  • Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps
  • Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS)
  • Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)
  • National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)
  • Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Moreover, the cost of life and material resources lost to insecurity in the country since the past few years is unquantifiable. According to News24, a Nigerian online news outfit, “The real estimate of Nigerians killed since the onset of the Boko Haram crises in 2011 is over 100,000; and the figure is conservative.” Between 2009 and 2012, about 2,800 lives were lost to militia insurgency; within the first nine months in 2012, 815 people were killed in 275 suspected attacks, and more than 60 police stations were attacked in 10 northern states, excluding the bombed police headquarters and UN office in Abuja. Tens of dozen are still nursing various degrees of injuries. In 2014 over 6,600 people lost their lives to Boko Haram attacks. In the first three months of 2015, 1,600 lives were lost. The data base of orphans and widows caused by the rampaging sects has grown massively. Money from some international organizations and funds raised locally from governmental, non-governmental agencies, charitable organizations and individuals which is supposed to be channeled to human capital development has been deployed for the rehabilitation of families of the casualties and the renovation of properties destroyed. Yearly, unspecified millions of Naira is being paid as ransom for the release of victims of kidnappers; not forgetting the Central Bank of Nigeria’s ₦100 million cash donation, the ₦200 million donation from the combined effort of the opposition governors, and the $50, 000 from the Christian Association of Nigeria, America chapter, to reduce the suffering of the victims of regional militia. The cost of insecurity in Nigeria could also be seen on the percentage of annual budget allocated to security agencies on yearly basis. Infrastructure and human capital development are almost foregone alternatives; hence, capital expenditure is struggling from the rear.
  • Although  the  achievement  of  total  or  absolute  security would  be  an  exercise  in  futility as no country in the world is an alien to insecurity. The contemporary security challenges in the country have not only raised critical questions bordering on formulation and implementation of Nigeria’s internal    security policies, but also the recruitment and effectiveness of the security agents to perform their statutory responsibilities within the framework of true federalism.

Figure 1: Weight of Insecurity on Nigeria National Budget 2009 to 2016

S/No Year Budget (N Trillion) Allocation to Security (N Billion) % On Budget
1 2016 6,060 965 16
2 2015 4,493 643 14
3 2014 4,964 968 20
4 2013 4,987 668 13
5 2012 4,888 922 19
6 2011 4,972 1,040 21
7 2010 4,239 448 11
8 2009 3,049 176 6

Figure 2: Percentage Weight of Insecurity on Nigeria National Budget 2009 to 2016

 

 

Figure 3: Cost of Security on Nigeria Annual Budget 2009 to 2016

 

 

As Nigeria struggles with the army of unemployed youth of over 25%; companies in their numbers are closing down operations in the country and relocating to other African countries for fear of loss of lives and properties. The few remaining companies are operating on skeletal bases.

In May, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics reported that another 1.5 Nigerians became unemployed in 2016, worsening the already congested labour market and increasing the level of poverty, hardship and sufferings in the land.

Within the past few weeks SPDC has declared Force Majeure twice. A top management staff of a manufacturing company disclosed that their production plant in Port Harcourt, which in recent past operated three times a week, now operates once a month because of fear of insecurity.

Construction workers and expatriates providing specialized services on various projects in the State had fled the region. This development has multiplied the number of unemployed youths roaming the streets and has become an easy tool for violence. This scenario has not only deepened the existing unemployment rate but also paints a gloomy picture of poverty and pains.

The activities of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDAs) have brought oil production in the region to a 20-year low. The group onslaught began on 10th February, 2016, when it carried out coordinated attacks on the SPDC Bonny Soku Gas Export Line which is one of the country’s Gas Exporting Platforms in Rivers State.

Not relenting, the avengers bombed the SPDC’s vital underwater Forcados 48-inch Export Pipeline. On the same day, they blew up the Clough Creek Tebidaba Agip Pipeline Manifold in Bayelsa State.

In May this year, the group also attack the Chevron Valve Platform located at Abiteye, a Chevron Offshore Platform.

On June 2nd, 2016, the avengers blew up two major oil wells located at Dibi in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State. The Oil Wells are RMP 23 and RMP 24 belonging to Chevron Nigeria Limited.

The impacts of these attacks are glaring. Nigeria is in trouble. Nigeria is broke. As the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu narrated, “Nigeria budgeted for production of 2.2 million barrels per day but the attacks have cut output to 1.4 million barrels per day”. Besides, the vandalization of pipelines worsens the environment in the region. There is going to be iron in the water, which would affect fish farming and aquaculture. The air quality would also be altered. There is also going to be a lot of hydrocarbon in the air, which would affect baseline studies of air.

At the 2016 Annual Conference of National Association of Energy Correspondents, in Lagos on Thursday 18th August, 2016, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu disclosed that Nigeria recorded 1, 600 cases of pipeline vandalism since January. He further revealed that the country recorded over 3,000 pipeline vandalism cases from 2010 to 2015. The impact of these attacks on oil and gas pipelines, he pointed out “was that there was no money to fund the 2016 budget.

The militancy in the Niger Delta was said to destabilize the country’s oil industry. According to the Minister, Nigeria needed to increase its production by 1.1 million barrels per day to meet its target. While vandals wreak havoc on oil facilities and cripple local production, over supply of product in the market is affecting prices and creating shocks to the economy.

Kachikwu said that about 850 million standard cubic feet of gas production had been lost from crises and power outage exposure of 2,700 MW to 3,000MW.

There is urgent need to draw global attention to the needs of youths in the Niger Delta in the face of failing programmes of the federal government of Nigeria (FGN) to placate them. The government must get the youths to be productive, to channel their energies in the right direction.

The security situation in the Nigeria’s northeastern States of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa is impacting negatively on Rivers State. Education they say is the bedrock of social economic development. The Islamic militants have serially attacked students and facilities in educational institutions in different northern states of the country over time, a lot of schools have closed down their academic activities. This drastically impacted the teaming number of students seeking admission into academic institutions at all levels. Most of these citizens desirous of acquiring education now relocate to Rivers State to seek admission into the few available institutions in the State. This has made the process of admission into these institutions more competitive and expensive. It is also one of the reasons our institutions are overcrowded nowadays. Again, some students posted to participate in the compulsory one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in northern part of the country are known to have redeployed to Rivers State immediately after three weeks of mandatory camping. This development also put pressure on security of the State and corporate organizations operating in the State that have to absorb more youth corps members than is necessary. This also negates the purpose of setting up the NYSC through the NYSC Decree No 24 of 22nd May, 1973 (as amended by CAP No. 84 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004).

 

On the other hand, the activities of the Niger Delta militants have also enveloped the State in fear and worry. The street cults in Rivers State are impacting educational institutions in different parts of the state negatively. For instance, in 2014 gangsters from Ogn sacked Ekporo community in Eleme LGA in what can be described as commando like operation, all private and public buildings in the community were burnt down and the place rendered desolate till today. In Etche, Emouha, Tobia, Omoku, Ogbakiri, B-Dere, K-Dere, to mention a few, it is the same story.

 

Over time, a lot of Primary and Secondary Schools in the State have shut down their academic programmes. This has drastically impacted the teaming number of students seeking admission into primary and secondary school in the State. Both Private and Public Schools in Rivers State that are known for turning down admission of students because of quality and to avoid overcrowding of facility, now solicits for admission through deferent media outreaches. To worsen matters, parents and guardians are also showing reluctance to send their children to Schools in the State for fear of being kidnapped or killed by flying bullets. The growth of foreign direct investment in tourism sector had been adversely affected as some immigration departments of countries in Europe and America have issued warnings to their citizens who wish to visit Nigeria to be aware of the security problem in the country.

On August 3rd 2016, the Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to 20 Nigerian States and recommends that U.S. citizens avoid all travel to Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states because the security situation in northeast Nigeria remains fluid and unpredictable.

The US went further to recommends against all but essential travel to the following states due to the risk of kidnappings, robberies, and other armed attacks:  Bauchi, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, and Zamfara.

Few days later, in the same vein, the United Kingdom High Commission in Nigeria has also warned its citizens against travelling to 16 states in the country for security reasons. The mission advised its citizens against travel to Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, and Kano city. Others are riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River and within 20km of the border with Niger in Zamfara State.

Although Federal Government of Nigeria through Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture was quick to frown at the Western world description of Nigeria as unsafe, that changed nothing. Insurgency, militancy, cultism, terrorism and gang war perpetuated by pirates, warlords, terrorists, guerrillas, criminal organizations, tribal bandits, and terrorists have reduced our villages, towns and communities to theater of violence.

China Achebe (2012) posited in his book, “There Was A Country” that “Economic deprivation and corruption produce and exacerbate financial and social inequalities in a population, which in turn fuel political instability. Within this environment”, he argued, “Extremists of all kinds – particularly religious zealots and other …mischief makers – find a foothold to recruit supporters and sympathizers to help them launch terrorist attacks and wreak havoc in the lives of ordinary citizens”.

Worse still, the Federal Government of Nigeria has always tolerated terrorism. Over the years, the government has turned a blind eye to waves of ferocious and savage massacres of its citizens with impunity. Even in cases where their hands were found dripping in blood, the perpetrators have many a time evaded capture and punishment. The county has been doomed to witness endless cycles of inter-ethnic, inter-religious violence and gang war because the government has failed woefully to enforce laws protecting its citizens from wanton violence.

Whatever diverts resources from development constitutes national security threats. Actions and inactions that put undue pressures on security resources disinvest the economy and rob the nation of resources for quality development. Besides, I ask, why is “security vote” unaccounted for at all levels of government in Nigeria? This is the reason why President Muhammadu Buhari deserves commendation for fighting corruption head-on, even though more deserved to be done to convince Nigerians and the international community that the war against corruption is not selective and directed against perceived enemies. The President should take the war against corruption a step further by creating a structure and process to ensure that the national drainpipe called “security vote” is made truly transparent and accountable as well.

The “Dasukigate” is a tip of the iceberg of national waste in the name of security vote; and how a group of people entrusted with the management of national resources can rob the nation dry and frustrate development.

Corruption is a major security challenge in Nigeria and an impediment to development. Have we ever considered the billions of Naira plundered annually by federal law-makers through another waste channel known as “Constituency Projects”. Where are the projects? They exist only on papers! North, South, East and West, the story is the same. It is rather unfortunate that 56 years after independence, our leaders do not know whether the country should go.

Not only did insecurity affect foreign direct investment, it also affects business confidence as many companies lost confidence in establishing businesses in the affected place. It is rather unfortunate that Port Harcourt which accounted for 50% of alternative business destinations in Nigeria in 2013 is today listed among the most dangerous destination in Nigeria.

As security situation nationwide becomes more worrisome, our respect in the eyes of global community is diminishing. It engenders stiffer conditions in bilateral relations. If urgent steps are not taken to address this ugly trend, it will negatively affect all the indices of development and the quest for millennium development goal, and vision 2020 will be a mirage.

Just yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari sent a Bill to the National Assembly seeking Emergency Powers to stimulate the economy or tackle the economic crisis, as he put it. The basic aims of the action plan on the economy which is in recession are:

  1. To shore up the value of the Naira.
  2. To create more jobs.
  3. To boost foreign reserves (which has now fallen to an 11-year low, standing at $25.7 billion).
  4. To revive the manufacturing sector.
  5. To improve power supply.

Sounds patriotic and convincing, but is really a ploy by President Buhari to transform himself into a tyrant and impose dictatorship on the nation. Even without the Emergency Powers at his disposal, Buhari has continued to trample on powers of other arms of government – legislature and judiciary. Granting such request as presented is putting the nation on a suicide mission. Nigerians should not shy away from the truth. Once bitten, twice shy!

The Nigeria Government refusal to accept the lessons of history has compounded the problems. Intoxicated by its military might, concentration of power and domineering influence, the government fails to realize that no force of arms, and no amount of brutal repression, humiliation, and degradation has ever triumphed over a people’s just cause for freedom, equal rights, justice, and human dignity.

The Need for a Correct Perception of Security Dimension of Development Jeffrey H. Norwitz (2009) observed that the problems of socioeconomic development and concomitant improvement of level of living, or quality of life, is certainly one of the outstanding issues confronting mankind. Development tends to be a question not of national endowment, as are natural resources or population size, but of capabilities, such as the utilization of resources, technology, and socio-economic institutions.

 

A definition of development would include the process of more effective use of resources and increased efficiency in production and distribution, which results in a greater volume and diversity of goods and services for less human physical labor.

 

To this, I will add the distributional aspect within society as being, perhaps, the most important facet. That is, the distribution of wealth or the more equitable distribution of income constitutes the highest forms of development. In this sense, the issue of human rights transcends political and civil rights, to include socioeconomic rights, such as rights to health, shelter, education, housing, employment, and rights for minorities, becomes central development.

 

I agree with the United Nations that the notion of ‘human security’ is a concept for both understanding and assessing the notion of development (UNDP Report of 1994). The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) defines human security as encompassing two fundamental freedoms at the heart of the UN Chapter, namely: Freedom from want and freedom from fear.

 

Freedom from want describes a condition of existence in which basic material needs are met, and crucially in which there is a reasonable expectation that protection will be afforded during any crisis or downturn – natural or manmade – so that survival is not threatened.

 

Human security as freedom from fear describes a condition of existence in which human dignity is realized, not only embracing physical safety, but going beyond to include meaningful participation in the life of the community, control over one’s life, and so on. Human security embraces the whole gamut of rights – civil, political, economic, social, cultural, etc.

 

By contrast, human insecurity refers to a condition of vulnerability, in which human beings’ physical or material wellbeing is threatened. Such threats may be due to natural disasters like floods, storms, landslides, earthquake; or man-made disasters such as fire, or oil spillages, bomb explosions and so on. They may as well be due to political conflicts within the country, (Alan Collin 2010).

 

Also, they may arise from the fundamental structure of the world economy in which decision-making power is concentrated in the core capitalist states, commodity producers are continually disadvantaged, and billions of people live precariously on the edge, where life is structured by lack of reliable access to material resources.

Importance of Human Security to Development

Human Security emphasizes the safety and wellbeing of individuals, groups, communities as opposed to prioritizing the nation and its interests. Human Security shifts focus to individuals, to people, to communities as the referent object, and give most attention to those people suffering insecurities inside a nation. Whether it is a question of non-politicized, politicized, or securitized of development, our priority, which is the priority of Human Security is to plot issues where they belong.

It has been stated that the 1994 UNDP refers to Human Security as a condition where people are given relief from the traumas that besiege human development; first “Safety from chronic threats as hunger, disease, and repression”; and secondly, “Protection from sudden and hurtful disruption in the patterns of daily life – whether in homes, in jobs, or in communities”, (UNDP 1994).

It is believed that Nigeria will rethink its security and adopt the Human Security approach. Ensuring human security requires a seven-pronged methodology to address the following security components:

  1. Economic Security – Ensures basic income and employment, access to social safety.
  2. Food Security -Access to basic nutrition and food supply. Tackles issues of famine, hunger.
  3. Health Security – Access to safe water, safe environment, health services, family planning and basic support during pregnancy, prevention of HIV/AIDS, basic knowledge to live healthy.
  4. Environment Security – Covers prevention of water and air pollution, prevention of deforestation, irrigated land conservation, prevention of natural hazards such as floods, droughts, etc.
  5. Personal Security – Protection from physical violence, crimes, accidents, etc.
  6. Community Security – Ensures conservation of tradition and cultures, languages and commonly held values, abolishment of ethnic conflicts, and protection of indigenous peoples.
  7. Political Security – Protection of human rights and wellbeing of all people, protection of people from State repression by advancing Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Voting, and abolition of political detention, imprisonment, systematic ill treatment, and disappearance, (Ollorwi 2016).

These approaches force attention to be focused on the issue of development, so as to move human and financial resources towards poverty relief and concrete development. You will agree with me that the focus that the concept of human security puts on the nexus between conflict and development is nonetheless very useful and important. The concept of human security also serves as reminder that many of the debates about the practical measures for managing internal conflict, such as those slowly evolving mechanisms for supporting the responsibility to protect and its other components such as:

  1. The responsibility to prevent,
  2. The responsibility to react, and
  3. The responsibility to rebuild

are intellectually founded on the concept which should not be overlooked again in Nigeria.

The concept of human security also highlights the view that the threats to humans, as well as to the State entities are changing and increasing. These changes have spurred the debate about the meaning of security, the link between security and development, and the argument for broadening and deepening security.

We are all aware that apart from violence within the State, there are non-military threats of environmental degradation and the effects of global warming, pandemics such as HIV/AIDS and people movements (refuges and Internally Displaced Persons). Examples include increasing inflow of people from all over Nigeria, especially the northeastern part into Rivers State in search for greener pastures or as a result of Boko Haram insurgency respectively. Other threats include those who come into the State with bad intentions to perpetuate crime and cause havoc; and the IDPs (like the people of Ekporo in Eleme L.G.A. of Rivers State, who were internally displaced from the ancestral homes since 2014; their homes damaged, their means of livelihood destroyed, and hope of returning home blink as government seems not to be perturbed about their plights).

The concept served to also highlight the essence of good global norms. It is an underlying motivation for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Chapter, the Geneva Conventions, the Ottawa Treaty, and the International Criminal Court. Human Security serves as an umbrella norm for various treaties and conventions that aim to protect vulnerable people from persecuting actors, notably the State. Developing good global norms is important not only for moral and ethical reasons but also because, as most democracies attest, they serve to enhance national and international security and balanced development.

As General Ibrahim Babamasi Babangida, the former President, said, “Business decisions should no longer reflect purely economic concerns; but they should also reflect the need for social responsibility”, (IBB 1990). One of the roles of business and industry in security and development is to get youths out of the street through employment and give them on the job training to make them employable today and tomorrow.

We need to revamp our entire concept of security if we are to solve the problems of development, especially as the conflict over resources continues to grow more intense.

Conclusions and Recommendations

In conclusion I offer a number of suggestions for creating a secure environment where peace will reign, the economy will boom and development will thrive:

  1. To adopt the human security approach in creating a framework for development in an atmosphere of mutual respect by abolishing all the negative factors which combined to arouse hatred, jealousy, wickedness, aggression, ethnicity, nepotism and denigration.
  2. Government to formulate and effectively implement policies and programmes capable of addressing the root causes of insecurity – such as poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, environmental degradation, dearth of infrastructural facilities, uneven development, among others.
  3. It is recommended that the Federal Government of Nigeria reorganize the country’s intelligence system and build a capable and more proactive security apparatus in the country. This will add more values in checking incessant bombings, robbery, kidnapping and violent crimes/crises by hoodlums in the country.
  4. The Rivers State Government should endeavor to phase out all moribund poverty eradication programmes and establish a more viable and result-oriented agency capable of addressing the problem of abject poverty among large population of citizens, particularly those residing in the rural areas.
  5. The government should establish an Agency to be known as Rivers State Agency for Youths Empowerment (RISAYE) and reposition the agricultural sector so as to play active role in job creation for Rivers youths.
  6. There is the need for collective security arrangement by the federal, state and local governments in Nigeria This arrangement, will require a structure or organization, which could be christened “Nigerian Cross-Cultural Council on Security”, with committees at village, community, ward, local, state and federal levels; charged with the responsibility of providing sensitive security information for security agencies at their areas of operation. This will ultimately assist in identifying criminals, their sponsors and hideouts in the country.
  7. The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) must as a matter of priority marshal the will to restructure the country and consider the State Police option so that States will be in position to recruit, train, equip, and motivate their own police force for effective policing of the States. The restructuring must be designed to heal our wounds, not provoke new divisions, noting that unity and the future are never constructed out of divisions, hatred and mischief.
  8. The issue of citizenship or who is qualified to be an indigene of a particular community or state should be urgently reviewed by the federal government. This is important because, a Nigerian who has lived up to 10 years in a given community should not be regarded and treated as a non-indigene in the area. This step will ultimately reduce discrimination and crisis in many parts of Nigeria.
  9. The government and peoples of Nigeria are advised to develop a better attitude and space for national and international cooperation to make Nigeria more of a welcoming and hospitable place capable of attracting tourists and foreign investors.

Reference

  1. A. E. Ekoko and M. A. Vogt et al.(1990), Nigerian Defence Policy: Issues and Problems Lagos, Malthouse Press Limited
  2. Alan Collin et al. (2010), Contemporary Security Studies, New York Oxford University Press
  3. Chinua Achebe (2012), There Was A Country, London, Penguin Books Limited
  4. Jeffrey H. Norwitz (2009), Pirates, Terrorists, and Warlords New York Skyhorse Publishing.
  5. Michael Benson, Danny O. Gulson, and Allan Swenson (2003), The Complete Idot’s Guide to National Security, New York, Alpha Books.
  6. Ollorwi M.O. (2009), The New Internationalism & American Foreign Policy Shift: Implications on the Third World, Port Harcourt, Nigerian Institute of Security Publications.
  7. Ollorwi Osaro (2016), The Need for Nigerian Cross-Cultural Council on Security, www.ollorwi.com.ng
  8. Richard W. Lack et al. (1997), Accident Prevention Manual for Business and Industry, Washington DC, National Safety Council.
  9. Tunji Olagunju and Sam Oyovbaire (1991), For Their Tomorrow We Gave Our Today, Jersey, Safari Books (Export) Limited.