Identifying A Terrorist In Your Vicinity

IDENTIFYING A TERRORIST IN YOUR VICINITYgoda.image.abujabombblast

Before now, terrorism seemed to be restricted to a few isolated places, such as Northern Ireland, the Basque Country in northern Spain, and some areas of the Middle East. Now, especially since September 11, 2001, with the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York, it has mushroomed into a worldwide phenomenon, springing up in paradisiac Bali, Madrid, Spain, London, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Mali and even Nigeria.

Terrorism is not a new development. Terrorism is an unlawful use or threatened use of force by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological, political, religious, or cultural reasons. Terrorism is aimed at non-combatants. The terrorists use violence for dramatic purposes – instilling fear in the target audience is often more important than the physical result. This deliberate creation of fear is what distinguishes terrorism from simple murder or assault.

The use of violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, repeatedly for ideological, political, religious, or cultural reasons is rooted in the past. Examples include the first century Judaea, a violent group called the Zealots who pushed for Jewish independence from Rome. Their most ardent adherents known as Sicarii or Dagger men were very dangerous and highly dreaded. They were known for slitting the throats of their enemies or stabbing them in the back. Between 66 C. E. and 73 C. E., the Zealots seized the fortress of Masada near the Dead Sea, butchered the Roman garrison, made the mountaintop fastness their operational base and sortied from there to harass and terrorize the imperial authorities. In 73 C. E., the Roman Tenth Legion led by Governor Flavius Silva recaptured Masada without defeating the Zealots, as 960 of them, except two women and five children, committed suicide rather than give in to Rome. Many historians view the Zealots as the start of terrorism as we know it today.

Terrorism is also rooted in most religion including Christendom. Starting 1095 and continuing for two centuries, the Crusader Armies repeatedly crossed between Europe and the Middle East and were vehemently opposed by Muslim forces from Asia and North Africa. The issue was the control of Jerusalem and each side tried to gain advantage. In their several battles, those “Holy Warriors” hacked one another to pieces. They also used their swords and battle axes on mere bystanders. The Crusaders entry into Jerusalem was rightly pictured by William of Tyre, a 12th century clergyman thus:

“They went together through the streets with their swords and spears in hand. All them that they met they slew and smote right down, men, women, children, spearing none…. They slew so many in the streets that there were heaps of dead bodies, and one might not go nor pass but upon them that so lay dead…. There was so much blood shed that the channels and gutters ran all with blood and all the streets of the town were covered with dead men”.

Today, terrorists use explosives and firearms with gruesome, fatal results. The Cambodia, Liberia, Sierra Leone killing fields is self-explanatory.  From 1914 when the world was plunged into World War I in which 20 million people died and its sequel World War II with its concentration camps, wicked slaughtering of civilians in bombing raids, and acts of retribution on innocent people, to our time mankind has continue to suffer from terrorist activity in many countries including Nigeria. Yet many people today act as if history had no lessons for modern man. On a regular basis, terrorist attacks kill hundreds, maim thousands, and rob millions of their right to safety and peace of mind. Bombs explode in Schools, Churches, Mosques, Motor Parks, Marketplaces, Cinema Viewing Centers; Offices reduce to ruin, villages burn to the ground, women raped, young boys and girls taken captive and made sex-slaves and child-soldiers, people die. In spite of stringent laws and global condemnation, this brutal routine does not seem to abate.

Terrorist Techniques

Terrorist incidents can be classified according to the techniques used. There are many techniques, but generally each cell favours and specializes in the use of one or more. The techniques and tactics used tend to establish a distinct, identifying method of operation. By studying the patterns of its acts, much can be learned about the terrorist organization. This information is used in implementing anti-terrorism measures and conducting counterterrorism operations.  A terrorist organization may use any or all of the techniques identified below.

1.      Bombing

Bomb is any weapon designed to explode (or ignite as in the case of incendiary bomb) at a particular time or when it is dropped, thrown or detonated in any way. Bombs can be constructed to look like almost anything and can be placed or delivered in many number of ways. The probability of finding a bomb that looks like the stereotypical bomb is almost nonexistent. The only common denominator among bombs is that they are designed to explode. Most bombs are homemade and are limited in their design only by the imagination of and resources available to the bomber. Bombs and firearms have proved to be the Nigerian terrorists’ favourite. For instance, the Boko Haram terrorist group is known to have used AK-47 assault rifles, IEDs, and petrol bombs to attack markets, motor parks, churches and schools. They have also used weapons like mortals and rocket-propelled grenades to deliver explosives to targets such as police stations and army barracks. Recent discovering by our gallant soldiers have revealed the use of more sophisticated weapons by Boko Haram.

Most bombs are improvised and so are known as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and they include letter bombs, packaged bombs, automobile ignition bombs, timer bombs, and remotely detonated bombs among others. These bombs are further categorized based on their means of delivery. However, we shall limit ourselves to bombs delivered by letters, individuals and vehicles as they form the most effective weapons in the Nigerian terrorists’ arsenal.

a.      Letter Bomb

This includes parcel or packet bomb or anything bomb delivered by post/courier. Letter bomb is not new in Nigeria; Dele Giwa, Journalist and Editor-in-Chief of the Newswatch Magazine was murdered in Lagos on October 19, 1986 by means of letter bomb.

b.      Person-borne Bomb

This includes bombs carried in containers such as rucksack, briefcase, handbag, etc. which are chosen to blend in easily with the target surroundings; or concealed on the body. This is Boko Haram’s favourite.

c.       Vehicle-borne Bomb

These are bombs delivered by bicycle, motor-cycle, car, lorry etc. Boko Haram preferred vehicle-borne bomb because of its ease of delivering, impacts and ability to have a devastating effects and mass casualties. The Friday 26th August, 2011 morning attack on the United Nations building in Abuja in which over 18 people died when a car crashed through two security barriers and rammed into the building’s reception before exploding was a good example of a suicide car bombing.

One advantage to the terrorist in using bomb is the low probability of apprehension. However, a careful analysis of bomb incidents can lead to the identification of the terrorists, actual goals, methods, frequency of attack, and probable targets. This information is useful for developing protective measures and can lead to apprehension of the terrorists.

2.      Assassination

Assassination is an old and frequently used technique of terrorism. Its purpose is usually two-fold: Elimination of effective or perceived enemies and intimidation of the masses. The Boko Haram insurgents have claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and killing of British, Italian, and German hostages; the assassination of Justice Barrister Zannah Mallam Gana, the Borno State Commissioner for Justice; the assassination of government, religious, and traditional figures among others.

3.      Kidnapping

Kidnapping is usually used to gain recognition, free comrades from prisons (the ongoing negotiation to swap 30 Chibok School girls for 18 Boko Haram commanders is a good example), or raise funds for the terrorist organization.

If used to extort media exposure for manifesto, the victim(s) is an important Government or group figure. Again, the Chibok Schoolgirls’ abduction episode which generated global condemnation and reaction is a good example. For the terrorists, this technique entails great risks because it involves the use of holding areas, guards, communications, support activities and possible movement. All this activity can lead to compromise.

4.      Hostage Barricade

Hostage barricade is the most spectacular of the terrorist acts. It is almost certain to gain widespread publicity from the media and thus recognition of the terrorist organization and the cause it represents. Aircraft hijackings, seizures of buildings or forests are all forms of hostage barricade. Terrorists who seize planes, places or buildings and kidnap occupants usually claim to have some types of explosive weapons. Their demands typically include media exposure for propaganda, ransoms, release of imprisoned comrades, granting of unconditional amnesty, or safe passage to a sanctuary in exchange for the release of the hostage.

The over 276 girls abducted from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State are held hostage in the Sambisa forest which is now the stronghold of the Boko Haram terrorists group. The Sambasi forest is now Boko Haram’s operational base and they sortie from there to harass and terrorize almost the northern Nigeria states of Yobe, Kano, Bauchi, Borno Adamawa, and Kaduna and recently Kogi, Niger, Sokoto, Taraba, and Plateau States and Abuja and parts of Cameroon.

5.      Arson/Fire Bombings

Arson/fire bombings are known terrorist tactics. Book Haram has successfully adopted the strategy severally. Suicide bombings of Churches in Kaduna and Jos on Easter day; the suicide bombings of This Day newspaper offices in Abuja and Kaduna on April 26; the bombings of multiple Churches in Bauchi, Plateau and Kaduna States in June 2012; the dual Nyanya bombings in Abuja, etc. are good examples of the use of arson/fire bombs by Boko Haram.

From the foregoing it is clear that the Boko Haram terrorists have often applied all the five techniques in recent times.

Identifying Terrorists

Who are these hackers of death? How can we identify them? A suicide bomber is a terrorist personified. The Suicide bomber blows himself up in order to attack people or property. He may attach explosives to his body, which permits him to access crowded areas where placing explosives would otherwise be difficult. He may stock the vehicle with bombs and detonate it in a crowded area. Other suicide tactics involve using vehicles to create lethal accidents or run into buildings.

Suicide bombers in Afghanistan and Iraq have driven trucks with explosives into buildings to attack them. In the United States, the 9/11 hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The bombing of the United Nations Office in Abuja was by driven vehicle with explosives into the building. Boko Haram’s 2011 attack on the UN was the first suicide bombing ever carried out in Nigeria. The group’s cells and nodes are spreading fast across the country following persistence attack on their stronghold in northeastern Nigeria.

The suicide attacker knows that he will die for his cause, and is therefore considered the most committed of terrorist. However, there is much professional speculation about the motivations and psychological makeup of the suicide bomber. There are also several ways to identify terrorist. Few among include:

Unsuited Clothes

Terrorist can be identified by clothes unsuited for the time of the year. For instance, wearing a coat or jacket in summer; a person trying to blend with his surroundings by his dress and behavior, though he doesn’t belong to the group; anything protruding unnaturally under his clothing as these could be arms or explosives.

Appearance

A terrorist may likely appear clean-shave or wear low hair-cut, focused and extra vigilant on his targets and surroundings; his hands placed in the pockets around the button of the detonator, ready to set off the bomb at the slightest opportunity; and there is usually signs of drug use, aggressiveness, restlessness, irritation and nervousness.

He tries to blend into a group which he clearly does not belong to. Cases abound where non-Christians have attended Church services only to carry out reconnaissance operations, identify vulnerable areas before embarking on actual attack.

Movement

The terrorist can be known by the way he walks. In most cases, he walks awkwardly or clumsily in an unusual and odd manner due to his unsuitable attire and the weight of explosives he is carrying on his body. He is always in a hurry and desperate to reach his targets, as well as evasive – trying to avoid security agents and other security conscious individuals who are likely to thwart his mission.

Suspicious Vehicle

Suspicious vehicles can be identified by the look of its License-plate. In most cases, the license plate looks “improved” or mismatched (different front and back plates); a vehicle parked suspiciously for a prolonged time in a central place or in a no-parking area; the vehicle’s rear sags noticeably.

Citizens’ Roles in Averting Terrorist Attacks

In case you suspect any person, vehicle or something, call the police at once, and give as many details as possible about the suspect, object or vehicle. While giving the information to the police on the telephone, try to keep an eye on the suspect, or object or vehicle from a distance; wait for the arrival of the police force.

During a terrorist’s attack, leave the site immediately by moving to an open space or protected area; avoid as best as you can, proximity to tall buildings, glass windows, and vehicles; and obey police instructions.

As soon as the incident is over, if police and other emergency rescue workers have not arrived yet, call the police immediately, follow instructions of the police and rescue team; do not form or join a crowd; leave the area immediately as there may be additional explosives planted around the area; make way for rescue vehicles; observe your surroundings and report to the police immediately any information that may help apprehend suspects or locate a vehicle involved in the attack.

If you are a car dealer, satisfy yourself about the genuineness of both parties, particularly the buyer before finalizing the deal. Be careful while organizing a deal involving Ambassadorial Cars and motorcycles as they are most likely to be used for terrorist operations.

If you are a landlord or a property dealer, do not let out your premises without satisfying yourself about the antecedents of the tenant; and by reporting to the nearest police station about any suspicious person trying to rent out premises.

If you own a Guest House, Ledge, or Hotel, insist on the identification documents before giving a room to a guest; and do not hesitate to report to the nearest police any suspicious guest.

As a citizen you can help ensure security in your area by reporting unclaimed handbags or objects or vehicles to the police. Inform the police about any suspicious person.

Avoid hard drugs centers. Drugs attract criminals and encourage crimes. A drug spot in your vicinity should be promptly reported to the police.

You are your own primary security service provider, the police and other security agents are there to provide you secondary security services!  Information you volunteer to the police today can save you from disaster tomorrow. Be wise!

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THE MILITARY RESERVE FORCES IN NATIONAL SECURITY

nig milThe Military Reserve Forces in National Security

Introduction

Speaking in Ilorin, Kwara State, at the opening of a 21-day training on linking women and youths for sustainable Green Development and Income Generation through Agric. Business, Sarh Jibril, the Special Adviser to the President on Ethics and Values, called on retired military officers in the country to assist in the fight against insurgency. According to Jibril, “retired Generals and other military officers cannot afford to remain in their comfort zone while the Boko Haram fighters gain more grounds, overrunning towns and communities”. A call born out of patriotism and love for ones country you will agree with me. But, where on earth do retired Generals and Military Officers wake up one morning, dress up in military uniform and move to the battlefield?

It is not out of place to state that the RESERVE FORCES OF NIGERIA BILL, 2004 which replaces the Ex-Regular Reserve Forces and Volunteers CAPs 294 and 288 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990, was intended to establish a standard reserve forces for the country, define its organization and roles and regulate its activities and membership. The said Bill stated that “There shall be established and maintained by the Armed Forces an Armed Forces Reserve (in this Act referred to as “the Reserve”) which shall consist of such number of officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, soldiers, ratings and aircraftmen who are transferred to it on completion of their period of service in the Armed Forces and in such other services as the President may prescribe.”

Section 3 of the Bill disclosed that “The President may make regulations governing the pay, duties and methods of recall of members of the Reserve and any other matters pertaining to the Reserve as seems to him necessary”. While Section 25 deals with recall of officers from retirement; it states expressively that, “An officer who has retired or was permitted to resign may be recalled at any time during the currency of any term of reserve service in accordance with regulations made under this Act, and on the recall, shall be liable to serve until he is released or discharged”.

Concerning regulations as to reservists and pensioners Section 269 clearly said, “The President may make regulations with respect to the government and discipline of reservists and pensioners and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, regulations may provide for-

(a) the calling out for training of reservists and pensioners;

(b) the calling out of reservists and pensioners to aid the civil power and on permanent service;

(c) the pay of reservists when on the reserve and for the pay of reservists and pensioners when called out under this Part of this Act;

(d) requiring reservists and pensioners to report themselves, from time to time, and to obtain the permission of the competent Service Chief, or of such other officer authorized by regulations, before leaving Nigeria; and

(e) any matter which is required by this Part of this Act to be prescribed.

But, ten years after its passage, the nation has nothing to show for it. It is unfortunate that a country as big, populous, rich and blessed as Nigeria has no reserve force.

 

The Military as Instrument of National Power

The military is an instrument of national power. A Reserve Force is an integral part of a nation’s defense capability. A nation without a well-defined and active reserve force constituted along several dimensions, including force structuring, mobilization, planning, and operational evaluation within the total-force system is like a man without a saving. The effectiveness of the Nigerian military establishment must be anchored on the military doing what it is designed to do, and, doing it well. This includes having sufficient numbers of individuals appropriately trained and adequately equipped to respond in a timely way to a likely threat to our national interests. The problems created by the emergence of Boko Haram and the possibility that other similar insurgency groups may spring up in the future is enough for the establishment of a total-force through necessary legislation which must defined what is sufficient, adequate, timely and likely for the overall interest of Nigeria.

The Boko Haram insurgency in northern Nigeria and threat to the national economy arising from oil theft in the Niger Delta coupled with other military operations in and outside the country is already having its tolls on the military with the former Chief of Army Staff, Major General Onyeabo Azubike Ihejirika complaining of over stretching the military. The military requires mobilization on a scale beyond the numbers of the regular army. Besides, the reliance on volunteer youths which the Nigeria Press in their usual way nick-named “Civilian JTF” is a bad precedent capable of generating more problems than the one we intend to use them to solve.

The dangers of grooming the youths in the art and act of violence cannot be overemphasized. The military manpower constraints manifested in the use of youths in military operations in the north, raising the questions of envisioned debriefing and demobilization of such volunteers. A band of youths raised by the chaos strategists in government in preparatory for elections rigging using the instruments of violence and thuggry is not what we need now.

 

Nigerian Legion

On the other hand, the Nigerian Legion cannot be said to constitute the Nigerian’s reserve force; a central body for land reserve, naval reserve and air reserve personnel.  Far from it, the Nigerian Legion’s enabling legislation and its structural deformity makes it unfit as a reserve force constituency. It also lacks mobilization, deployment and employment capability. Above all, the Nigerian Legion has been infiltrated by quacks, impersonators and fakers who parade as genuine, thus needing total cleansing and reorganization in keeping with the changing times.

 

What is Military Reserve Force?

A Military Reserve Force is a military organization composed of citizens of a country who combine a military role or career with a civilian career. They are not normally kept under arms and their main role is to be available to fight when a nation mobilizes for total war or to defend against invasion. Reserve forces are generally not considered part of a permanent standing body of armed forces. The existence of reserve forces allows a nation to reduce its peacetime military expenditures while maintaining a force prepared for war. It is analogous to the historical model of military recruitment before the era of standing armies.

In countries like the United States, United Kingdom and Spain, members of the reserve forces are civilians who maintain military skills by training, typically one weekend a month. They may do so as individuals or as members of standing reserve regiments, a good example is the Territorial Army of the United Kingdom. In some cases a militia could constitute part of a military reserve forces, such as the United States National Guard.

In countries like Colombia, Finland, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and Israel, service in the reserves is compulsory for a number of years after one has completed their national service. One can rightly say here without fear of contradiction that the salient aim of Decree No.24 of 22 May, 1973 in establishing the NYSC Scheme was to prepare a formidable military reserve force for the country. But, over the years, this vision was lost to politics and corruption.

A military reserve force is different from a reserve formation, sometimes called a military reserve, which is a group of military personnel or units not committed to a battle by their commander so that they are available to address unforeseen situations, bolster defenses, or exploit opportunities. That why, the Nigerian Legion Corps of Commissionaires cannot be said to be a military reserve force.

 

Historical Perspectives

Throughout the eighteenth century, some nations’ military systems included practices and institutions that functioned effectively as a reserve force, even if they were not specifically designated as such. For example, the half-pay system in the British Army during the eighteenth century provided the British state with a force of trained, experienced officers not on active duty during peacetime but available for call-up during wartime. The Militia Act of 1757 effectively gave Britain at least somewhat of an institutional structure for a reserve force. Although contemporaries debated the effectiveness of the British militia, its embodiment, mobilization during several conflicts did increase Britain’s strategic options by freeing up regular forces for overseas theaters.

Historically reservists first played a significant role in Europe after the Prussian defeat in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. On 9 July 1807 in the Treaties of Tilsit, Napoleon I forced Prussia to drastically reduce its military strength, in addition to ceding large amounts of territory. The Prussian army could no longer be stronger than 42,000 men.

The Krumper system, introduced to the Prussian Army by the military reformer Gerhard von Scharnhorst, arranged for giving recruits a short period of training, which in the event of war could be considerably expanded. With this, the reduction of the army’s strength did not have the desired effect, and in the following wars Prussia was able to draw up a large number of trained soldiers. The system was retained by the Imperial German Army into the First World War. By the time of the Second Reich reservists were already being given so-called war arrangements following the completion of their military service, which contained exact instructions relating to the conduct of reservists in time of war.

 

Sources of Military Reserves

In some countries, for example the United States, reservists are often former military members who reached the end of their enlistment or resigned their commission. Indeed, service in the reserves for a number of years after leaving active service is required in the enlistment contracts and commissioning orders of many nations.

Reservists can also be civilians who undertake basic and specialized training in parallel with regular forces while retaining their civilian roles. They can be deployed independently or their personnel may make up shortages in regular units. The Territorial Army of the United Kingdom is one example of such a reserve force.

With universal conscription, most of the male population may be reservists. In Finland, all men belong to the reserve until 60 years of age, and 80% of each age cohort are drafted and receive at least six months of military training. Ten percent of conscripts are trained as reserve officers. Reservists and reserve officers are occasionally called up for refresher exercises, but receive no monthly salary or position.

South Korean males who finish their national service in the armed forces or in the national police are automatically placed on the reserve roster, and are obligated to attend a few days of annual military training for seven years.

 

Use of Military Reserves

Reserves are used and employed in several ways including:

a.      Replace Combat Losses

In wartime reservists may be used to provide replacements for combat losses to in-action units and formations, thus allowing these to remain battle-worthy longer.

b.      Augment Regular Army

They can also be used to form new units and formations to augment the regular army.

c.       Supportive Services

Reservists can as well undertake tasks such as garrison duty, manning air defence, internal security and guarding of important points such as supply depots, prisoner of war camps, communications nodes, air and sea bases and other vital areas, thus freeing up regular troops for the front. A combination of these can be used.

d.      Internal Security

In peacetime, reservists can be utilized in internal security duties and disaster relief, sparing reliance on the regular military forces, and in many countries where military roles outside of warfare are restricted, reservists are specifically exempted from these restrictions.

Military Reserve Officers

The term “Reserve Officer” has two different meanings. In the U.S., it refers mostly to retired officers of the standing army that are still eligible for military duty. In countries with universal conscription, it refers to conscripts that receive extra training to qualify for officer duty in the event of war, but in peacetime concentrate on their civilian career and receive no pay or position from the military. For example, 10% of Finnish conscripts attain a reserve officer rank after completion of one year of service.

Advantages of Military Reserve Forces

  1. Improved Manpower Supply

One of the primary advantages in having military reserve forces is that they increase the available manpower by many fold in a short period of time, unlike the months it would take to train new recruits or conscripts, since reservist are already trained.

  1. Experienced Combatants

Reservists are often experienced combat veterans who can increase not only the quantity, but the overall quality of the forces.

  1. Reduced Costs

Having a large reservist pool can allow a government to avoid the costs, both political and financial, of requiring new recruits or conscripts. The reservists are usually more economically effective than regular troops, as they are only called up when they are most needed. On the other hand, preparations made to institute a call up (which are obvious to adversaries) can be used as a display of determination.

  1. Diverse Skills and Expertise

Reservists are also many times trained professionals in the civilian side. The skills attained in many professions are also many times useful in the military side.

  1. Cheap to Train

Furthermore, in many countries reserves have also very capable people who would not consider career in the military. They take voluntary training as their hobby, and are therefore very cheap to train.

  1. Motivation and Rapport with Civilians

People considering reservist activity as their hobby tend to be very motivated unlike many professionals. In peacekeeping, the skills of reservists have been shown to be valuable, because they can be employed for reconstruction of infrastructure, and so tend to have better relations with the civilian population than pure career soldiers.

Disadvantages of Military Reserves

  1. Human-Equipment Incompatibility

Reservists are usually provided with second line equipment, which is no longer used by the regulars, or is an older version of that in current service.

  1. Lack of Experience in Handling Model Weapons

Reservists will also have little experience with the newer weapon systems.

  1. Poor Motivation

Reservists in the sense of retired services personnel are sometimes considered to be less motivated than regular troops. Meanwhile reservists in the sense of civilians who combine a military career with a civilian one, as in the United Kingdom’s Territorial Army (TA), experience demands on time not experienced by regular troops, and which affects their availability and duration of service.

  1. High Cost of Training, Compensations, Call up and Remobilization

Conducting of exercises involving reservists is expensive, requiring compensation for lost wages, and it is difficult to call up, and then demobilize reservists again and again, which means that a nation that has called up reservists may be reluctant to stand them down again until the conflict is resolved. This is particularly true in the case of reservists in the sense of retired personnel, less true in the case of a standing force.

In the prelude to World War I, the reluctance of the various antagonists to demobilize reserves once called up, due to the difficulty of remobilization has been held up as one of the causes why the diplomatic phase escalated so quickly to war.

Conclusion

It must be pointed out here that our conceived larger force, if we eventually recruit more able bodied men and women into the armed forces as is being planned, will not be large enough to execute the emerging defense strategy in the face of rising security challenges across the country.

One of the promises of democracy is freedom from the burden of maintaining large standing armed forces. Modern day reserve components serve as an integral part of the defense system, prepared to participate in the earliest phases of any crisis as discussed below.  Therefore, before the lessons of the ongoing crisis are forgotten let us consider a standard reserve force for the country. That is, constituency for readiness!

TWELVE SOLDIERS SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MUTINY

Twelve Soldiers Sentenced to Death for Mutiny

Military authorities last night sentenced 12 soldiers to death for mutiny; four were discharged and acquitted while one soldier was sentenced to 28 days imprisonment with hard labour (IHL).

The soldiers who were arraigned before the Court Martial on a six-count charge of criminal conspiracy to commit mutiny, disobeying lawful orders and various acts inimical to military service and so convicted are Corporal David Musa, Corporal David Robert, Corporal Jasper Baido, Corporal Mohammed Sani, Lance Corporal Friday Onu, Lance Corporal Yusuf Shuaibu, Lance Corporal Emmanuel Iganmu, Lance Corporal Stephen Clement, Private Andrew Gbede, Private Nurudeen Ahmed, Private Ifeanyi Anukabe, Private Alao Samuel, Private Alan Linus, Private Namaan Samuel, Private Ichocho Jeremiah, Private Sebastine Amah and Private Amadi Chukwudi.

However, Private Ise Ubong, was discharged and acquitted, having been found innocent of all the charges.

The nine-member all-military court martial also found the soldiers guilty of insubordination, use of abusive language and leveling of false accusation against their superior officers, among others.

They were found guilty of attempting to kill their erstwhile General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division, Major-General Ahmed Mohammed, by shooting at his official car between May 13 and 14, 2014.

The incident took place at the Maimalari Barracks, Maiduguri, in the course of the ongoing counter-insurgency campaign in the northeast.

The court also found them guilty of preventing the movement of some of their injured colleagues to hospital and obstructing the evacuation of their dead colleagues who were killed in an ambush on their way from an operation in Chibok, Borno State.

The Court Martial found them guilty of three out of the six charges brought against them, which are conspiracy, mutiny and attempted murder of Major-General Ahmed Mohammed.

The following soldiers were found guilty of insubordination and threatening to shoot Lieutenant-Colonel E. Azenda and for laying false accusations: Corporal David Luhbut, Corporal Mohammed Sani, Lance Corporal Stephen Clement, Privates Imama Samuel, Iseh Ubong, Ichocho Jeremiah and Sabastine Gwaba.

The convicted are

Those found guilty of the three counts of criminal conspiracy to commit mutiny, mutiny and attempt to commit murder and consequently convicted are Corporal Jasper Braidolor, Corporal David Musa, Lance Corporals Friday Onun, Yusuf Shaibu, Emmanuel Igomu, Privates Andrew Ngbede, Nurudeen Ahmed, Ifeanyi Alukagbe, Alao Samuel and Amadi Chukwudi..

The Court Martial panel comprised Brigadier-General C. C. Okonkwo (President), Colonel T.S. Nurseman (Judge Advocate), Colonel T. O. Olowomaye, Colonel I. G. Lassa, Lieutenant-Colonel J. K. Feboke, Lieutanant-Colonel C. R. Nnebeife, Major I. Yusuf, Major T. A. Yakubu and Major A. E. Martins (Waiting Member).

According to the Court Martial, “Having listened to the allocution (plea for leniency) by lawyers to the soldiers asking the court to temper justice with mercy, the court martial passed various sentences on the soldiers at about 2:02am as follows:

“The convicted soldiers are Cpl Jasper Braidolor, Cpl David Musa, L/Cpl Friday Onun, Yusuf Shaibu, Emmanuel Igomu, Private Andrew Ngbede, Nurudeen Ahmed, Ifeanyi Alukagbe, Alao Samuel, Amadi Chukwudi and Alan Linus.

“They were found guilty of the three counts of criminal conspiracy to commit mutiny, mutiny and attempt to commit murder.

“The panel sentenced each of the above soldiers to life imprisonment for count one, and death sentence by firing squad for count two.

“The following were found guilty of insubordination and threatening   to shoot Lt Col E. Azenda and false accusations: Cpl David Luhbut, Cpl Mohammed Sani, L/Cpl Stephen Clement, Private Imama Samuel, Iseh Ubong and Sabastine Gwaba.

“L/Cpl Stephen Clement was found guilty on count one and sentenced to two years imprisonment. He was also found guilty of mutiny and sentenced to death by firing squad”.

Four others were discharged and acquitted. Another soldier Ichocho Jeremiah was sentenced to 28 days imprisonment with hard labour.

The Court Martial stated that the above pronouncements are subject to the confirmation of the Nigerian Army.

The soldiers had engaged in act of mutiny when they revolted against the then GOC, 7 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Ahmadu Mohammed, who escaped death by the whiskers when a group of disgruntled soldiers turned their gun at his vehicle and pulled the trigger.

The soldiers who perpetrated this near-act of mutiny, according to various accounts, were reacting in anger over the ambush attack they suffered in the hands of Boko Haram terrorists on their way back from an operation in Kalabalge during which about 12 of them got killed.

The few soldiers that survived the attack blamed their plight on the military hierarchy in the division headed by the GOC who, they said, had insisted that they must return to Maiduguri via a route they had earlier considered dangerous for them to take at night.

Some soldiers who shared the sentiments of the soldiers that carried out the shooting on the GOC said the victims and those that survived had pleaded to pass the night in one of the villages so that they could safely return to Maiduguri.

But those commanding the troop declined their request on the grounds that the GOC wanted them back to Maiduguri at all cost, a soldier who pleaded anonymity had said.Minimah 2

TITLES

TITLES

BEING AN INVITED PAPER PRESENTED BY CHIEF OSARO OLLORWI AT A ONE DAY SEMINAR ORGANIZED BY  OɁEɁLA ƆBƆ ELEME (ELEME GENERAL ASSEMBLY) ON SATURDAY 23RDAUGUST, 2014 AT ELEME CIVIC CENTER, OGALE

What is title? What purpose does a title serve? Do we have indigenous titles as a people? If yes, who award these titles and on who? What are the criteria for the bestowment of these titles? What are the expectations of the awarding authorities and people of Eleme in conferring these titles on the individual? Have these expectations been realized? These are some of the questions that this paper will attempt to answer.

What Is Title?

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English International Student’s Edition (2010) defines title as “a word in front of a person’s name to show their rank or profession…, a name that describes a job….” The Webster’s Universal Dictionary & Thesaurus by Geddes & Grosset (2005) refers to title as the “name of a book, play, piece of music, work of art, etc.; the heading of a section of a book; a name denoting nobility or rank or office held, or attached to a personal name; (law) that which gives a legal right (to possession). These definitions convey what title is supposed to mean.

 

But, for simplicity sake, and for our purpose, title could be defined as a prefix or suffix added to someone’s name. It also signifies veneration, an official position within a social organization, or traditional attainment, a professional or academic qualification.

What Purpose Does A Title Serve?

Titles are used for various reasons, such as to show aristocratic status or one’s role in community, government, a religious organization, or security service. Titles enhance prestige and credibility of the title holder. They command confidence, bestow respect and good titles are known to open doors? Titles are also used to describe a person’s extra ordinary ability and capability to perform certain task. Examples are the titles Ɔnε Edūdūu (a renowned warrior) and Ɔnε Edūdūu ÀkT (a renowned wrestler).

System of Awarding Titles in Eleme                        

The system for the awarding of titles in Eleme is arduous and based on strict criteria including proven hard-work, mentoring, peer review, etc. In yam titles, for instance, the peer review extends from the local (community, town, or village) to national (clan) and, in the case of Obo Title, to Eleme (international) reputation. The processes of awarding titles are discussed below.

Types of Titles in Eleme

There are several titles in Eleme. Some of these titles are hereditary while others are conferred.

However, we shall limit our discussion to the following titles:

 

  1. Traditional Titles
  2. Yam Titles
  3. Honorific Titles
  4. Historical/Hereditary Titles

Traditional Titles

These are royal or noble titles. In Eleme, royal and noble titles (except the title of Ɔnε NkīkTε) are not hereditary. They are conferred on an individual that merit it through the rigorous process of nomination, selection, initiation and public coronation in which the aspirant must meet the minimum requirements of every stage or be disqualified at any point in the process. All Eleme towns and villages enjoy one basic social structure as regards traditional office titles. These titles include Ɔnε NkīkTε (which is hereditary and more of a historical title than traditional title), Ɔnε Ԑε Ԑta, Ɔnε Nkpᴐrᴐ (Traditional Spokesman/Publicist), Ɔnε Ebo Ԑgbara Ԑta, Ɔwa Ԑε Ԑta, Ԑmεrε Ɔwa, Ԑmεrε Ngwe, etc. It is pertinent to point out here that each of the communities, towns and villages of Eleme enjoy a confederal relationship with one another.

 

Title of Ɔnε Ԑε

According to the report of the Chieftaincy Committee appointed by Oku Nkpᴐrᴐ Eleme, “all the communities, towns, and villages are to be known as Ԑta and their rulers be addressed as Ɔnε Ԑε Ԑta”. At the clan level, the Clan Head is to be called Ɔnε Ԑε …. Clan. At the Nchia and Odido levels, the rulers are tobe addressed as Ɔnε Ԑε Nchia and Ɔnε Ԑε Odido respectively. At the apex of the hierarchy is the King of Eleme known and addressed as Ɔnε Ԑε Eleme.  

Ɔnε Ԑε Eleme

At the apex of the traditional chieftaincy hierarchy of Eleme is the King of Elemeland called Ɔnε Ԑε Eleme. The appellation, Ɔnε Ԑε Eleme is an identifier that specifies the office or position of the King of Eleme.  The phrase is used to convey respect to the office holder and to recognize his rulership and lordship over Elemeland. The Stool of Ɔnε Ԑε Eleme is a First Class Stool recognized by the Rivers State Government. The present occupant of the Stool is HRM King Dr. Samuel Oluka Ejire, JP, Ɔnε Ԑε Eleme X.

 

The assembly of the Ɔnε Ԑε and Oku Nkpᴐrᴐ at any level constitutes ƆmS also called Owe Ebo Ete (lower court) or Owe Nkpᴐrᴐ (higher court) and adjudicates in disputes between two or more persons or between two families or villages concerning land tenure, divorce, custody of children, stealing, boundaries, inheritance, adultery, witchcraft, invocation of juju, defamation of character, rape, elopement, and so on.

Ɔnε Ԑε Nchia and Ɔnε Ԑε Odido

Immediately below the Ɔnε Ԑε Eleme are the two district heads of Nchia and Odido known as Ɔnε Ԑε Nchia and Ɔnε Ԑε Odido respectively. The office of Ɔnε Ԑε Nchia and Ɔnε Ԑε Odido are Second Class Stools recognized by the Rivers State Government. The present occupants of these Stools are HRH Dr. Philip O. Obele and HRH Obariwite Nchimaonwi in that order.

Ɔnε Ԑε Ԑta

This is a title granted to a Traditional Ruler, following his nomination, selection, initiation and public coronation as Paramount Ruler of his village, town, or community. The title also identifies and conveys respect to the Traditional Ruler and recognizes his leadership position in the society.

 

The nomination, selection, initiation, and installation of a traditional ruler in Eleme are the responsibility of Oku Nkpᴐrᴐ of the community, clan, or kingdom, and the choice is not restricted to the circle of Ɔnε Ԑε Ԑta alone. Commenting on who is qualified for the office and title of Ɔnε Ԑε, Chief O. O. Ngofa (2006) said, “Any member of Oku Nkpᴐrᴐ with proper standing, whose personal merit, ability, background and past performances sufficiently portray him as a good leader, may be selected and installed. His character and training in customary matters are more seriously considered than mere oratory or wealth”.

Standardization of Process of Selecting Ɔnε Ԑε

It is on record that several efforts have been marshaled towards the standardization of the process of selecting Ɔnε Ԑε at different levels of Eleme society. On 27th August, 2001, Oku Nkpᴐrᴐ Eleme under the leadership of His Royal Majesty King Ngei A. O. Ngei (JP), Ɔnε Ԑε Eleme (IX) constituted an 11 man committee under the Chairmanship of Chief (Hon) J. D. Osaronu (JP) charged with the responsibility of drawing up modalities for the selection of Ɔnε Ԑε and to define the powers and jurisdictions of the various Councils of Chiefs and Elders in Eleme.

 

According to the unsigned report of the Chieftaincy Committee submitted on 5th October, 2001, which turned out to create more problems than it was intended to solve, on the death or dethronement of an incumbent, a regent is to be appointed, normally, the Ɔnε NkikTε. After a period of interregnum, the Ɔnε NkikTε will summon a meeting of Oku Nkpᴐrᴐ and request for the selection of a new Ɔnε Ԑε after due consultation with all sections of the community leadership.

 

The said report also affirmed that while the venue and process of installation of Ɔnε Ԑε differs slightly from clan to clan, the Ɔnε Ԑε can only be disposed on the proven offences of witchcraft, stealing and murder. “These crimes are heinous in nature and can warrant the removal of Ɔnε Ԑε… where he has been found guilty by a court of law or Oku Nkpᴐrᴐ or appeal”, the report emphasized.

 

Modalities for Selection of Ɔnε Ԑε

The report listed the minimum qualifications to be met by all candidates aspiring to be Ɔnε Ԑε Eleme, which, invariably are also applicable to all other traditional rulers’ titles.

a.       The candidate must possess minimum qualification of WASC or its equivalent provided that where the Ɔnε Ԑε has only the minimum qualification, then in the selection of the Chairman, a higher educational qualification shall be a prerequisite.

b.      He must be a member of Oku Nkpᴐrᴐ Eleme.

c.       He must not be somebody who had been convicted of felony.

d.      He must not be somebody who had been found guilty of witchcraft.

e.       He must not be somebody who had been found guilty by competent court or Oku Nkpᴐrᴐ for stealing, misappropriation of public funds and breach of trust.

f.       He must not be somebody who had been found guilty of betrayal of the whole of Eleme or any part thereof by Oku Nkpᴐrᴐ.

g.      He must not be a slave, that is, a person whose father is not indigenous to Eleme.

 

Other conditions worth mentioning include:

  1. The candidate must have broad support of his community, town, village or kingdom as the case may be.
  2. He must not be under 21 years of age.
  3. He must be ordinarily resident within the area of his community, town, or village.
  4. He must not have been sentenced by a court of competent jurisdiction in Nigeria or any other part of the Commonwealth to death or imprisonment for term exceeding six months, if he has be so convicted and sentenced, has received a free pardon.
  5. He must not be a full-time public servant.
  6. He must not be of unsound mind or adjudged to be a lunatic.
  7. He must not be an un-discharged bankrupt.

2. Yam Titles

Yam titles are honorific titles. They are phrase used to convey respect to the recipient of a yam title and to recognize him for completing all the aspects of the Obo Title’s ceremonies and is awarded the title of Ԑmεrε Ngwe. These qualifications/titles are Áchu, Obo, Ͻbԑrԑ-Obo, Ͻtaa-Obo, Áchu-Ete and Ewo-Áchu-Ñsi. Each title/qualification involves a number of stakes of 21 yams each as shown below including specified ceremonial processes that are very expensive but honorable.

  1. Áchu –                 200 Stakes of 21 Yams Each.
  2. Obo –                    400 Stakes of 21 Yams Each.
  3. Ͻbԑrԑ-Obo –          800 Stakes of 21 Yams Each.
  4. Ͻtaa-Obo –            1200 Stakes of 21 Yams Each.
  5. Áchu -Ete –           1600 Stakes of 21 Yams Each.
  6. Ewo-Áchu-Ñsi –   2000 Stakes of 21 Yams Each with the barns arranged in 20 rectangular    

                                     section.

Writing on the significance of yam titles among the people of Eleme Chief O. O. Ngofa, Ԑmεrε Ngwe 1 said, “Any person who holds the obo title as a result of having completed all the aspects of the title ceremonies is customarily honored with the title of Ԑmεrε Ngwe”, emphasis is mine.

 

It very difficult for the present generation of Eleme men to aspire for yam titles because of the stringent requirements attach to it.  For instance, only yams cultivated by the aspiring farmer are acceptable requisite for conferment of appropriate yam titles/qualifications in Eleme. In other words, yams purchased from the market are illegitimate and unfit for presentation for the attainment of yam titles. I need not mention names, but recent attempts by few individuals to use yams procured from the market for the Obo title ceremony have met with swift resistance and rejections. Besides, most communities in Eleme have demolished their ancient ekpo (hill) from their Ԑgbεrε OɁe (town square) where the ojīi ekpo (hill climbing) ritual that crowns the ceremonial conferment of yam titles is usually performed. The acquisition of land for industrialization coupled with oil and gas exploration and production activities have joined forces to rob Eleme of arable farmland; and pollution from their activities that are discharged into the air, creeks, and farmlands are also posing greater threats to nutrition and longevity, making farming a senseless venture in Eleme.

 

Yam Titles of Áchu, Obo, Ͻbԑrԑ-Obo, Ͻtaa-Obo, Áchu-Ete and Ewo-Áchu-Ñsi are ancient-standalone qualifications/titles and they do not derive their names from the number of stakes of yams but a totality of all the requirements which an aspirant must meet before being adjudged qualified both in farming and character for the conferment.

3. Honorific Titles

These are identifiers that specify the office or position held by someone in the community. They include but not limited to: Ɔnε Ebo Ԑgbara Ԑta, Ɔwa Ԑε Ԑta, and Ԑmεrε Ɔwa.

Ɔnε Ebo Ԑgbara Ԑta

This title refer to the leader of the uninitiated adult men below Oku Ekpo but higher than Asama. He assists the elders in implementing their decisions; promote communal work, ensure security, control social decay and direct performance of traditional entertainment such as wrestling, dancing and singing.

Ɔwa Ԑε Ԑta

Ɔwa Ԑε Ԑta is the leader of Mbá Ԑta, organization of women selected on age and representative basis.  She regulates activities of women in the community, ensures high morality and discipline among women. She is the conscience of the community’s women.

Ԑmεrε Ɔwa

The Eleme custom does not provide for a woman becoming a traditional ruler in the sense that she is part of the mainstream of community’s administration. It is still an abomination for a woman to join traditional rulers, chiefs and elders during consultation called ᴐla or in any manner while exercising their traditional functions of Ɔnε Ԑε Ԑta or Oku Nkpᴐrᴐ, under any guise.

 

However, Eleme is gender sensitive when it comes to conferment of titles. Hence there is customary provision for women who considered themselves fit and wealthy enough to aspire to achieve a prestigious title of Ԑmεrε Ɔwa. In the far past, the process of conferment of this very highly regarded title involves the buying of many slaves by the woman, the display of appropriate numbers and quality of yams and ability to feast all the invitees.

Presently, it entails the transfer of wealth to another person with the approval and participation of the entire community. This ceremony is known as Otora Ndele. It is a deliberate action to enrich another person and the custom is to carefully select such a beneficiary who may be a daughter, junior sister or niece to the person wishing to take the title. The Eleme tradition does not regard the acquisition of University degrees, ownership of motor vehicles, or chains of businesses by women as sufficient evidence of wealth to warrant the conferment of the Ԑmεrε Ɔwa title. The aspiring woman must be fit in character, liberal, philanthropic, and generous enough to handover parts of her wealth to another person to be adjudged qualify for the prestigious honour of Ԑmεrε Ɔwa.  

It takes a number of years to prepare for this title and during this period, all necessary consultation must be made, crops planted on a large scare and all the relevant materials procured.

 

Ndele is never carried to a widow, divorcee, spinster or a woman who is not currently married to a man. It is the leading women in the community who inspects all the materials that are usually laid out in a room; and only celebrant’s relations and friends, members of her age-grade and well wishers that carry the materials.

 

Importantly, the list of materials to be assembled to qualify for Ndele is almost endless as new and very expensive items are being introduced continually in line with changing times. They usually include different varieties of yams, cocoyam, one plantain sucker, sugarcane, beans, pepper, pumpkin, very big dried fish, salt, palm oil, one basin of garri, a she-goat; various sizes of aluminum pots, plates, trays, basins, tripods, mortal and pestle, cups, sieve, cutlery, axe, kettle, matchet, trunk boxes, bicycles or motor cycle, trinkets, mirror, gas cooker and cylinder, sewing machine, etc. Apart from the bicycle or motor cycle that may be rolled along with the entourage, every other item must be carried by a woman while they sang to the recipient’s house.

Edūdūu Ɔnε

The title Edūdūu Ɔnε or Ɔnε Edūdūu (ÀkT) is confer on wrestlers who have thrown an opponent from another community, town, village or clan and perform all the necessary ceremonies, especially during the OɁε AɁo Esū festival; or a known warrior who have meritoriously defended the community against external aggressions. It is a symbol of respect and recognition of might and prowess.

Historical/Hereditary Titles

These are titles used to show somebody’s hereditary position in the community or family. Examples are the titles of Ɔnε NkīkTε (Land Priest), Osaro (first son), Ollor (second son), Osila (first daughter), Onua (second daughter), etc. Worthy of explanation is the title of Ɔnε NkīkTε.

Ɔnε NkīkTε

Ɔnε NkīkTε is the traditional Prime Minister/Land Priest and Leader of the Oku Nyᴐa. He exercises both spiritual and administrative powers. He performs the Ɔlᴐ Ajija ritual for cleansing of the land as a result of desecration arising from the following:

  1. Unmarried girl pregnancy sin,
  2. Suicide, and
  3. Sex in the farm.

The Ɔnε NkikTε is also responsible for the Ɔwara Ԑkpaa Osila (first daughter) ritual. He appoints and installs Ɔnε Ԑε on active advice of Oku Nkpᴐrᴐ; receives and performs the duties of Ɔnε Ԑε if the incumbent is found guilty of gross misconduct, is insane, or upon the demise of an incumbent until a successor is appointed and installed according to tradition. He ensures that things are done in accordance with custom and tradition. He commands the respect of the gods. He serves NkīkTε, the deity that directly relates to the foundation of the community, town, village or clan and its protection. The position of Ɔnε NkīkTε is hereditary and it is confined to the lineage or family of the original founder of the community, town, village or clan.

 

The Office of Ɔnε NkīkTε Eleme and Ɔnε Nkpᴐrᴐ Eleme

Although, the title/office of Ɔnε Ԑε Eleme is a recent development (Chief O. O. Ngofa, 2006); it is rather unfortunately that there is no recognized office of Ɔnε NkīkTε Eleme (Traditional Prime Minister/Land Priest of Eleme) and there is no Ɔnε Nkpᴐrᴐ Eleme (Traditional Spokesman/Publicist of Eleme). The ad hac arrangements during selection and installation of Ɔnε Ԑε Eleme and Oku Nkpᴐrᴐ consultation tells how we deliberately rape and manipulate tradition and then anger our ancestors. Regrettably, ancestors (Oku Ejī) are spirits and like every other spirits, they don’t forgive.

 

Although, our culture and tradition permeates the existence of these titles/offices at all levels of Eleme social political hierarchy, the operators of the system deliberately play-down on the offices at the national (Eleme) level. The existence of these offices and their functionality at the local (community, town and village) and state (clan) levels notwithstanding, something need to be done to create and sustain the title/office of Ɔnε NkīkTε Eleme and Ɔnε Nkpᴐrᴐ Eleme. The absent of these offices/titles at the Eleme level arises, perhaps, from several factors including the following:

  1. Contentions surrounding the original settlement of the founder of Eleme. Is it Ebubu, Ogale, Agbonchia or Alesa as is being postulated by several schools of thought?
  2. Fear of crowning a known/popular Prime Minister who will exercise the true powers of Ɔnε NkīkTε Eleme or Ɔnε Nkpᴐrᴐ Eleme.
  3. Deliberate creation of vacuum for political manipulations and promotion of corruption.
  4. Abuse of the system/principles of check and balance which the offices of Ɔnε NkīkTε Eleme and Ɔnε Nkpᴐrᴐ Eleme intend to guarantee.

Methods of Acquiring Titles in Eleme

From the foregoing it is clear that there are several ways of acquiring titles in Eleme. Some of these are:

  1. When the man is nominated, selected, initiated and installed as Ɔnε Ԑε of his community, town, village, clan, or kingdom and the title of Ɔnε Ԑε is bestowed on him.
  2. When a man is admitted and initiated into the membership of Oku Nkpᴐrᴐ and the title of Ԑmεrε is conferred on him.
  3. When a man meets all the requirements for the conferment of Obo Yam Title and he is honoured with the title of Ԑmεrε Ngwe. 
  4. When a woman completes the ceremonial process of Otora Ndele and she is conferred with the prestigious title of Ԑmεrε Ɔwa.
  5. When a man is born into the lineage or family of the original founder of the community, town, village or clan and inherits the title of Ɔnε NkīkTε.
  6. By privilege of birth. When a man or woman is born as a first or second child and he/she inherits the title of Osaro (first son), Ollor (second son) or, Osila (first daughter), Onua (second daughter) respectively.

Expectations of Titles Awarding Authorities of Eleme  

In addition to the above titles Chiefs in Council have devised ways of conferring various titles on individuals and organizations, though political. These titles range from Nsấ Nsebo, Okuma Nnyε, Akaraba, Egeta Ade, to Àkpa  Nsā, and Era; all in an attempt to attract attention, elicit support and commitment to the development of Elemeland. But, have will achieve this simple aim over the years? Your answer is as good as mine. A walk around Eleme will trigger up the anger in you as you see the backwardness of Eleme people in spite of the resources God bestowed on the land and the way and manner she is being raped. The poverty in Elemeland is a living one, the misappropriation of her resources have reached an alarming proportion. The lack of basic infrastructure brings to the fore what have been happening to the billions that comes into Eleme from the federal allocations and internally generated revenue (IGR) monthly and annually. What purpose are these titles serving then?

The aim of this section is not to condemn titles’ awarding authorities in Eleme or criticize the recipients but, to review how we have fared so far. My studies have revealed that the more the number of indigenous and foreign title holders increases in Eleme, the more backward Elemeland drifts. These titles serve the selfish and greedy purposes of the bearers only with no recourse to the society. They negatively bestowed on many holders the demonic influence to mobilize our children as thugs and empower them to terrorize, kill and destroy lives and properties. It is unfortunate. Title without commiserate positive developmental impact on the community is valueless, dysfunctional and retrogressive; and therefore calls for a rethink and proper prior examination if future intending recipients of any title in Eleme.

Importantly, it is time for the people of Eleme to sit down to look again at the positive impact of the true title of Ԑmεrε Ɔwa and promote same among men. The wisdom of women is demonstrated in the beauty and progressive nature of their title. Let us keep pride aside and learn from the womenfolk whose title is conferred only on those who are adjudged fit in character, who are philanthropic and generous and who wholeheartedly enrich another. This is what I called Human Capital Development in Action. It is a clear empowerment of the next generation.

Let me also caution here against the abuse of the title “Ԑmεrε Ɔwa”. I have witness some of us referring to the wives of politicians and wealthy individuals as Ԑmεrε Ɔwa. This is an outright abuse of the title; it is an impersonation that tradition frowns at. If you have been doing that ignorantly though, please stop!

The women title of Ԑmεrε Ɔwa over the year has been tight to human capital development in all its ramifications. In the far past, it was the purchase of many slaves which radically increased the populations of Eleme. Presently, it involves the multiplication of riches and propagation of wealth. What are our men doing with all their many titles, both foreign and indigenous? Keep your answer and soberly reflect on it.

The Future of Eleme

The action of this generation will either reduce or increase the chance of future generation to blossom. You are conferred with the title to lift you high, make you acceptable and famous. You are lifted so that others through you can be lifted. You were not elected, appointed or employed into that office for your own sake alone. You are there with a divine mandate of fruitfulness and multiplication. God and the people of Eleme expect you to plant others and nurture them; to harness and manage your position for the benefit of Elemeland and Eleme people; to spread your wealth to others coming after you. Violating this divine injunction is not only tantamount to wickedness, but increases the chance that others will suffer.

Every negative attitude or act of selfishness on your part reduces the chance that those coming behind you will come up outstanding in life. A leader in whatever capacity that is oblivious of the fact that he is just mere custodian of the people’s resources but goes ahead to selfishly mismanage or squander it reduces the chance that his subject will live to their fullest as intended by God except God intervenes.

Do you still marvel why many children are suffering in Eleme and have become destitute today? Do you still wonder why crime rate and level of insecurity are alarming in present day Eleme? Are you still surprised why many people in Eleme are living below standard now? Somebody or a group of people or a leader occupying certain influential position on behalf of Eleme has failed in his statutory and traditional responsibilities. It is rather unfortunate because he is narrowing the chance that others will make it. Consequently, he will neither have rest in his lifetime, nor in his grave. Examples abound around us!

 

Eleme is at a turning point of her nationhood. The future of Eleme is not fixed to a destination. It is rather a place or something we create by the choices we make and actions we take NOW. We will not be judged by what we say, not by what we think, but by what we do. It is only action that changes an impression; provokes development; creates history and sets a record. Eleme is at a turning point of her 500 years of nationhood. Therefore, action is needed now to change our perception of titles and make things happen. Action is the best device for this change. It is action that informs change and brings about visible development. Taking action or step to correct past wrongs and set new standards is the only way to make our titles functional and productive; keep our thinking fresh, challenged and informed. Leadership must be assessed by actions not by rhetoric. Titles must be made to serve its useful purposes!

I hail you all! Thank you for your audience and rapt attention.

References:

A. S.  Hornby (ed.)          “Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English International Student’s Edition”, New 8th Edition, London, Oxford University Press, 2010.

Chief Obo Osaro Ngofa  “Eleme Traditions” Rescue Publications, Ogale Eleme, 2004.

Chief Obo Osaro Ngofa “The Complete History of Eleme” Freedom Press, Ibadan, 2006.

Geddes & Grosset (ed.) “Webster’s Universal Dictionary & Thesaurus”, Geddes & Grosset, David Dale House New Lanark, Scotland, UK, 2005.

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

Ollorwi Osaro “Community Policing & Crime Control in Pre-Colonial Eleme: Issues & Perspectives” Nigerian Institute of Security Press, Port Harcourt, 2009.

Osaronu, J. D.   “Report of Chieftaincy Committee Appointed by Nkpᴐrᴐ Eleme” Eleme Civic Centre, Ogale, Eleme, 5th October, 2001