Under Fire: No Hiding Place for Criminals and Their Ilk in Eleme

Ollorwi.image00012Under Fire: No Hiding Place for Criminals and their Ilk in Eleme

Since 2013 it has been blood, sorrow, horror, pain, death, and helplessness in almost all the towns and villages of Eleme. Sleepless night yet nightmarish, and a crimson web of terror. At night, creaking sounds send shivers down the spines of both male and female, old and young, indigene and resident.
The spate of violence and armed banditry has escalated in recent times. Every day gory tales of violent crimes are told by victims who survived as criminals steal, extort, maim, rape, and kill freely.
But, as God Almighty would have it, the last few days have been quite eventful and challenging for the Eleme Police Division in their quest to halt criminal activities in the area.
The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Eleme CSP Nathaniel Okpara disclosed while giving details of his Division’s effort in stemming the tide of crime wave in Eleme that the police had recorded some success in law enforcement.
This assertion was evidently and explicitly confirmed when the exploit of a gang of notorious armed robbers came to an end in the night that breaks Wednesday 17th June, 2015 during robbery operation along Princess Road, Egbalor Ebubu Eleme.
In a swift reaction to a tip off, the DPO, CSP Okpara led a team of gallant police officers to the scene. The robbers numbering more than 15 and well-armed came with slug hammers, big axes, iron-cutters, and other materials with which they destroyed the heavy protectors and dismantled the fortified security doors to gain access into the building, after robbing a nearby house.
Unknown to the dear-devil robbers, the police had been alerted and they arrived almost immediately. On their part, the robbers were also vigilant as they greeted the police with several gunshots. In a gun duel that lasted more than an hour, three of the robbers died instantly, while many others sustained various degrees of gunshot injuries.
A prominent Chief in the community who spoke under anonymity revealed that three other corpse were found in the nearby bush the following day, while the fourth person died in Kaliko Forest, Eta Osaro, Egbalor Ebubu as result of bullet wounds.
Among the things recovered from the robbers include both local and foreign made riffles and ammunition, refrigerators (deep freezers and fridges), electronics, and other household apparatus, and several motorcycles, which the police kept wondering how the hoodlums intend to carry their loots after the operations.
The police as true friend of the people did not leave the victims of the robbery operation to their fate. Rather, CSP Nathaniel Okpara evacuated them to the Eleme Divisional Police Headquarters, Ogale to prevent a reprisal attack by the escapees/members of the robbery gang. A wise decision that saved the family, and further exposed how low criminals can condescend in trying to reap where they did not sow. It shocked those present at the Police Division, Ogale when a 5 year old boy in Nursery School identified his School bag among the heap of things looted by the robbers.
“Mommy! Mommy!! My School bag! My School bag!” The boy shouted, pointing at his School bag among heap of things carted by the criminals. On opening the bag, the police confirmed that it contains the little boy’s books and writing materials. Truly, in keeping with its slogan that “Police is your friend”, CSP Okpara immediately ordered the School bag to be released to the boy to enable him go to School.
In a related development, on Monday 22nd June, 2015, the Eleme Police Division under the leadership of CSP Okpara also recorded another success as they curbed the AP area, opposite Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited (PHRC), Alesa Eleme. In the aftermath of the exchange of firing, two armed robbers were arrested with catchment of arms and ammunition. In the cause of interrogation one of the robbers revealed that at the AP a gun can be procured for as low as N3,000.00 (three thousand Naira) only.
“The guns are supplied to us by someone from Okrika for N3,000.00. But, we are forbidden from coming into direct contact with the supplier or know his name. It is boss talk to boss”, one of the arrested robbers confessed.
According the captured robbers, an uncompleted building along East-West Road, Eleme New Town, Ogale is where their loots are shared.
Earlier hunts for this notorious gang by the Eleme Police Division ended in futility as the bandits are always a step ahead of the police before nemesis finally caught up with them.
Upon a tip off the police arrived at their hideout, determined. But the robbers were not weak-kneed as well. They engaged the police in a fierce shooting, which prompted them to make a spirited attempt to escape. But the police team rose to the occasion as some robbers met their waterloo in the exchange of fire.
In another development, the Eleme Police also proved that they are on top of the situation when CSP Okpara led his men to defeat another gang of armed robbers after a frenzy gun battle at Oken Eta, Ogale on Thursday 25th June, 2015; at the end of which two robbers died while two others escaped with bullet wounds.
The armed robbers who have some of them dressed in Military Camouflage Uniform were well-armed with riffles and enough ammunition.
Narrating his experience, CSP Okpara said, “As we approached the scene, we were told that the robbers had held their victims hostage in their home, under the heavy rains. But, with courage and determination, we moved in and dislodged them”.
The way and manner the police in Eleme executed these fatal onslaughts against men of the under-world without losing one of their own shows their preparedness and mastery of modern law enforcement techniques.
The police boss while expressing the Division’s appreciation to members of the public whose information facilitated the eventual apprehension of the bandits urged the public to always cooperate with the police by providing the police with relevant real-time information about crime and criminals in their neighbourhoods.
He observed that the police are out to eliminate crimes and criminals from Eleme; and appealed to operators of hospitals, clinics, and other health facilities in Eleme and environs to report anyone with gunshot wounds to the police.
Okpara advised criminals to leave Eleme, stressing that, “There is no hiding place for criminals in Eleme”. He emphasized that the recent police triumph is a pointer to the determination of the Eleme Police Division to rid Eleme of crimes and criminals. He pointed out emphatically that measures were being taken against all black spots with the launch of the “Operation Rid Eleme of criminals” aimed at addressing security challenge in Eleme. In his words, “Police are working round the clock to ensure that Eleme is conducive for business without fear of any threat or molestation”.
The police boss advised those who fled from Ebubu at the heat of the criminal activities in the area to return as the police is at the top of the security situation, emphasizing that law abiding citizens and residents are to go about their legitimate businesses without fear.
Speaking through its Secretary, High Chief M. O. Ollorwi, the Ebubu Council of Traditional Rulers, Chiefs and Elders, had commended the Eleme Police Division under the leadership of CSP Nathaniel Okpara for returning peace and security to Ebubu and urged all those who left the community during the rival cult clashes to return home as normalcy has been restored.
As the police carry out onslaught against crimes and criminals in Eleme, it is the responsibility of the public to assist the police by giving them useful real-time information. By so doing you are helping to rid our towns and villages of all sorts of crimes and criminals. Besides, having achieved these feats, the police deserve our commendation, support, and encouragement.

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MPIOO ELEME NATONAL PRIZE FOR ELEME LANGUAGE – CALL FOR ENTRIES

MPIOO ELEME
National Prize for Eleme Language 2015

CALL FOR ENTRIES
Entries are invited for the National Prize for Eleme Language 2015. The yearly Eleme Language Prize is endowed by MPIOO ELEME to honour authors of published or unpublished books in Eleme Language.
The Prize will rotate amongst the literary genres of Prose, Fiction, Drama, and Children‘s Literature. This year, the competition is Prose.
The competition is open only to published or unpublished books by Eleme indigenous writers resident in Eleme. It carries a Prize of N100, 000.00. Two other writers may also be accorded honorable meritoriousness.
Submission Procedure
Six copies of the entries should be submitted by the author, in accordance with the genre in competition. Only published or unpublished books written by authors of Eleme origin and resident in Eleme are allowed to compete.
Residency in Eleme will be defined as a minimum of three of the four years covered by the competition. The aims include:
1. To promote and improve the Eleme Language value chain;
2. To ensure that winning books are available to local audience; and
3. To ensure that Eleme Language activities from writing to publishing are enhanced as a result of this competition.
Published or unpublished books should be submitted to the Secretary, Mpioo Eleme, SPDC/GMOU Eleme Cluster Development Board Office, Location Road, Obolo, Ebubu, Eleme, P. O. Box 517, Nchia Eleme between the hours of 9am and 3pm; or, miooeleme@gmail.com by the stipulated deadline. Failure to meet the stated conditions will lead to disqualification of the entry.
This being an annual competition, the copyright on published works submitted must be either current or previous three year’s date. Complete contact information, including full postal address and/or e-mail as well as statement of verifiable residency status in the last three years (2012-2015, both years inclusive), should accompany each submission.
An author in any competition will enter only one published or unpublished book. Manuscripts will be considered, provided they are written in Eleme Language. *The Prize will be awarded for no other reason than excellence.
Appointment of Judges
1. A panel oF judges will be selected for the National Prize for Eleme Language.
2. The appointment of judges will be done in a way that reflects and represents the genre of the competition and dual dialects of the Eleme Language. Persons appointed as judges are those who have wide experience, public recognition, good public image, and command respect in and outside Eleme.
3. The decision of the judges shall be final.
Calendar for Prize Administration
*Close of entries (deadline) – October 1, 2015. Late entries will not be entertained.
* Announcement of Winners will be at the Prestigious Eleme Annual Luminance Lecture and Award Ceremony.
All entries should be sent to: The Secretary, Mpioo Eleme, SPDC/GMOU Eleme Cluster Development Board Office, Location Road, Obolo, Ebubu, P. O. Box 517, Nchia Eleme. Tel.: 08036694027 E-mail: miooeleme@gmail.com

INSECURITY IN EBUBU: WIKE DEMOLISH TRAILER PARK NOW

Insecurity in Ebubu: Wike, Demolish Trailer Park Now

The Ebubu Trailer Park in Ejamah was originally conceived to serve as Motor Park for heavy trucks, especially trailers waiting for their turn to lift fertilizers from the National Fertilizer Company of Nigeria (NAFCON) and transport it to various retail distributors across the country.

With time, human presence in the area multiplied; and so did trailers and other vehicles, which caused a lot of jam on the roads. The Trailer Park soon gave rise to a shanty town around it, which can be described as a slum and is over populated.

If someone drives through the major roads, he will mistakenly assume the Trailer Park to be a decent and safe place. On the contrary, Trailer Park is worse than Ajegunle in Lagos touted as Nigeria’s foremost slum settlement. The only similarity between Ajegunle and Trailer Park is that both are built on the ground. Otherwise, Ajegunle is Paris; at least, there are well built houses with toilet facilities. There are roads and streets accessible to vehicles and some of the roads are tarred. Besides, Ajegunle is under the authority of the State and subject to the laws of the land.

Again, in comparing the Port Harcourt Waterfronts that were demolished and dismantled by Ex-Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi due to safety and security concerns, Trailer Park is worse, and therefore not fit to continue to exist.

The Trailer Park is connected with Okpako settlement n Ejamah through a pipeline, which is presently used as access way and contains a hand-dug earth drain flowing from the Park into Epene Stream through Okpako settlement.

The shanty structures inhabited by so many people who have no sanitary facilities, resulted to indiscriminate defecation all over the place. Some persons, due to the high population density of the area, put up insanitary commercial toilets and channel the waste into the earth drain that flows down through the slum along the pipeline, also making the place inaccessible.

The Trailer Park and the resulted slum are very filthy and dirty with heaps of refuse scattered all over. The residents of this slum also dispose their refuse along the East-West road directly opposite Daewoo Nigeria Limited, a Korea Company, constituting a serious menace to the public, moreso, polluting the Epene Stream which hitherto serves as source of drinking water for the people of Ebubu.

The houses are made mostly of corrugated iron sheets and timbers. A few are normal block houses, but they are invariably so tightly spaced together that even commercial motorcycles (popularly known as Okada) find it difficult to gain access. Vehicle owners in the settlement park their vehicles along East-West road, Onne road or Ebubu road and trek to their homes down in the hovels.

There is an awful stench that hangs in the air and those who spend some time there carry this odour around town, giving off a whiff of decay.  Trailer Park is deafening and disorderly. Even some corporate bodies are not left out in polluting the environment as they have turned the area into a junkyard for dumping of toxic wastes and other dangerous materials.

Lamenting the environmental degradation of the area, Senior Pastor with the Assemblies of God Church, Okpako, Rev. Eugene Osarobele said, “Last year they dumped something here and fire engulfed the whole area. People were burnt to death, and properties worth millions of Naira were destroyed. This year again, the same business people have come to dump Chemicals, and those mostly affected are women and children”.

A woman was killed last year by inhaling Chlorine fume that leaked into the atmosphere when the container exploded. Many children whose respiratory system were affected by the fume also died later in the hospital – an incident which forced Daewoo Nigeria Limited to shut down for two days.

It took the intervention of experts from NOTORE Chemicals Limited, Onne and INDORAMA Eleme Petrochemicals Company Limited to seal up the hazardous, destructive and killer toxic explosion and prevent further loss of lives.

Apart from sanitation, the most critical and worrisome attributes of the Trailer Park is the total lack of security and the reign of the laws of the jungle put in place by underworld mafia lords who made themselves immune to the laws of the land.

Until recently, the law enforcement agencies were unable to take control of crime in the area. Robberies were committed in broad day light. Women were regularly raped. Hardly does a week pass without people being murdered. There was an unwritten law which forbids victims of crime to report to the police, even with a police post in a Caravan along the East-West road. Those who break the law will pay with their lives or those of their dear ones.

Of a truth, some gang chiefs have erected permanent outposts where sentries are stationed to watch out for the presence of law enforcement agents. There are also landlords and caretakers who rule by the gun. There are gunrunners who feel free and fear no laws. There are drug dealers who fear no NDLEA operatives. There are also hired killers who laze about with sharp knives and tout for jobs. There are freelance assassins waiting for any odd jobs.

Of course, there are legions of sundry criminals who serve as recruits for political thuggery, oil bunkering, foot soldiers, prostitutes, armed group informants, and so on. Trailer Park appears to be on its own, having a government of its own. What harm has these hardened criminals and prostitutes at Trailer Park not caused to lives and property in Eleme as the area continue to offer them safe haven.

Another contributory factor is the demolition of waterfronts in Port Harcourt and its environs and the sacking of the residents which created hundreds of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Rivers State. This development resulted in mass movement of different types of people into Ebubu and contributed immensely to rising cases of crime in the area. The social decays which prompted the sacking of these waterfronts are known to all of us. These evils find their way into Ebubu and the result is increasing cult cases, armed robbery, rape and other sundry crimes.

 

The inability of the former Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to provide alternative settlements for these internally displaced persons coupled with the lack of adequate arrangements to mitigate the diverse negative impacts of unplanned mass movement of people into Ebubu is worrisome, and therefore calls for immediate attention by the present Rivers State Government under the able leadership of Chief Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike to addressing the increasing security challenges arising therefrom in Ebubu.

In recent times Ebubu had recorded an increase in violence clashes between warring street gangs. The Trailer Park has become a strategic staging area for cultists and other criminals to kill, kidnap, rob and rape both indigenes and non-indigenes alike at random.

Many of the toughest secret cult groups have their operational centers in the shanty hiding village of Okpako – Trailer Park, because it provides excellent hiding place and escape outlets in an emergency.

The security threat posed by these illegal, lawless and irresponsible settlers at the Trailer Park is real. The Trailer Park is home to many hardened criminals and prostitutes. They have transformed the hitherto peaceful and orderly Ebubu towns and villages into violent and crime infected communities where cultists, armed robbers, rapists and other hoodlums operate freely day and night.

The roles being played by non- indigenes in the ongoing violence in Ebubu have revealed the danger posed by continues existence of Trailer Park.  Let Trailer Park go!

It is on record that during the Town Hall Meeting held with Eleme people at Ambassador Nne Furo Kurubo Modern Secondary School, Ebubu on August 19, 2010 the Ex-Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi directed the then Executive Chairman of Eleme Local Government Hon. Oji N. Ngofa to demolish the Trailer Park “to give way for the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone complex, and to arrest the health hazards and threats to lives and property posed by the illegal, lawless and irresponsible settlers at the Trailer Park”.

This directive, as loud and clear as it came, was not implemented. Today, all communities in Eleme are facing one security threat or another. Ekporo has been sacked; the very survival of Ebubu is severely threatened. There are reported cases of cult related kills in Ogale, Alesa, Aleto, Alode, Agbonchia, Onne, Eteo, etc.

The criminality, hostility, and lawlessness of the illegal settlers at Trailer Park grow by the day. There resistance to the law of the land and disregard for government authority and development is bothersome.

When on Wednesday 2nd April, 2014, the Eleme Local Government decided to take development to the illegal settlers at the Trailer Park by grading an access road hardly did the authority know that the exercise will be stiffly resisted and turned out to be bloody. Government officials led by the Supervisor for Environment, Chief Emmanuel Oluji and the Secretary of Ejamah Council of Chiefs and Elders, High Chief Augustus A. Yanwi were rough handled, attacked and assaulted by these hoodlums who ganged up into a mob. The grader’s windscreens were shattered, and the Operator beaten mercilessly, not minding the presence of the police.

The lack of security is a major problem in Ebubu in particular and Eleme in general. Trailer Park should be sanitized. Everything possible should be done to provide security of lives and properties in the area.

Towards this end, all law abiding citizens and residents of Ebubu are to support government’s determination to make Ebubu safe and secure, so that people can go about their legitimate businesses without fear.

The Trailer Park area is porous and poses a serious threat to peace and security within Ebubu and Eleme. Therefore, the calls for the destruction and dismantling of all houses around Trailer Park, and for the government to in turn provide an alternative accommodation for the residents are not out of place.

This is a call on the security agencies to beam their security lights on Trailer Park and possibly take over the place.

Instead of this vast portion of land to be left fallow or provide sanctuary for criminals, it can be used for other meaningful developmental projects such as a Housing Estate or a Standard Market or a Standard Motor Park to serve the Onne Oil and Gas free Zone and the Onne Ports Complex.

My investigation revealed that the owners of the land are willing to donate the land for any of such developmental project. These are all public revenue generating ventures that the government can exploit for the benefits of the citizens. Continue reading

Wike Government Should Not Tolerate Cultism

Wike Government Should Not Tolerate Cultism
This article originally titled “Cultism in Ebubu: The Way Forward” was first published on the website, http://www.ollorwi.com.ng on Monday 13 January, 2014. It is modified and reproduced here to move us to ask ourselves what we have done as a people since then to provide solutions to the lingering cult clashes in Ebubu.

Cultists are group of persons or illegal gang that operates underworld and without public recognition that may be violent in nature against nonmembers especially when a member or group inordinate needs and demands are not met. Cultism is a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabric of the Nigerian society and has shattered the once serene Ebubu clan. In recent times we have recorded over thirty painful cult related deaths. While some were shot dead; others were strangled to death, yet others died in cult associated fatal road mishap during the burial of a victim of cultists’ outburst.

Apart from the display of shame, the Ebubu Cult Crisis from August 8 to September 29, 2013 resulted in the dead of over 30 people; a hundred families and two hundred and twenty individuals were displaced; about 10 others were injured; properties worth over 1billion Naira were damaged and the socio-economic life of Ebubu completely paralyzed.

The recent clashes between two rival cult groups have killed more than 10 people and completely shut down Ebubu as the place has been totally evacuated by both indigenes and residents. All shops and businesses in Ebubu have been forced to close as the cultists adopt new strategy of robbing and raping, in addition to terrorizing law abiding citizens. All markets in Ebubu have been under lock and keys for the past two months. The doors of most schools in Ebubu have remained close since the resumption of schools in the state this term.

There have accusations and counter-accusations between the Chiefs and the Police. While the Police are accusing the chiefs of not giving them enough information and help in their fight against cultism, the Chiefs are pointing accusing fingers at the Police for aiding and abetting the crime of cultism in Ebubu. A Chief was recently quoted as saying, “… anytime we call them (the Police), the team of policemen will switch on their siren about two kilometers away informing the people (cultists) they were coming.

“Many of them bought lands from these boys and so any policeman that has served up to five years in Eleme needs transfer in order to bring peace in Eleme because they have been so used to these boys….”

The Ebubu Youth President, Comrade Atonseobari Ojinga, corroborated the allegations of complicity in the war against cultism in Ebubu leveled against the Eleme Police. He observed that “the time lag in responding to distress calls by police from Ogale or Onne provides opportunity for these criminals to operate and escape before the arrival of the police”. He went on to repeat the call on the Rivers State Government to provide a Police Station in Ebubu.

Severally, the Chiefs of Ebubu have been arrested and severally they have been released for lack of complicity in the cult clashes that has sacked the community. What next? Going back to the basis is suggested. We must understand what cultism is all about. The environmental and social factors that give rise to cultism, the foundations and nurturing processes; the motivations and perceived benefits that attract and sustain recruits, and give them the morale to commit atrocities.

Of the five categories of cults in Nigeria namely: classical confraternities, mafia cults, female cults, godfathers’ cults and terrorists’ cults, two are present and operational in Ebubu. These are godfather’s cults and terrorist’s cults. Godfatherism is fast growing secret cult in Eleme, that s usually prominent before, during and after elections. The godfathers lure these innocent youths with drugs and monetary inducement and further promises to shield them, give them political appointments and huge monetary rewards which usually turn out to be ruse. And for fear of reprisal these guns and ammunitions are never withdrawn but left in the hands of these criminals and bandits with which they perpetuate violence in the community.

The cultists in Ebubu concern themselves with perpetuating crimes and fear of crimes by constantly terrorizing law abiding citizens, disposing them of their properties, rape and killing. The ancient city became deserted when the cultists introduced robbing and rape into their operating formula.

The chiefs and elders’ attempt to use “Ogbe” to control arms bearing and other violent crimes failed due to high level of insincerity displaced by the traditional rulers, Chiefs and Elders. The fear by some of these chiefs that their family may be victimized due to their complicity in the cult crisis necessitated the quick removal of the “Ogbe”. And the secret revocation of the “Ogbe”, brought about the collapsed of traditional authority as things felled apart.

However, during the 2013 cult clashes, efforts marshaled by few traditional rulers who were at home with the assistant of the then Executive Chairman of Eleme Local Government Council, Hon. Oji N. Ngofa to use intelligence and law enforcement resources to control these youths yielded positive results and provided the platform for the majority of the Traditional Rulers, Chiefs, Elders, citizens and residents on self-exile to return home.

It is clear that the Ebubu Youth Council Caretaker Committee have failed to address the Ebubu Cult crisis, the major problem it was created to solve. This failure is a clear manifestation of the rot in our system and the danger in politicizing youth leadership.

I predicted thus in 2013, ‘As peace is gradually returning, it will be disservice to the Eleme nation, if we wait until these young boys and girls get further loose, relocate to “Ɔpε” or into the creeks and consolidate to unleash greater havoc on the masses before we act. The invocation of “Ete Ɔpᴐᴐ” (Traditional Mace) and “Nkpᴐrᴐ” (Traditional Staff) are but temporary measures likely to fail as did “Ogbe”’.

CAUSES OF CULTISM IN EBUBU
The problems of rising cases of cultism and insecurity in Ebubu in particular and Eleme in general can be traced to so many factors. Some of these factors are:

1. Intermittent Communal Crises between Eleme and Okrika

These crises encouraged the procurement of guns and knives proof charms for majority of the youths to protect them during these wars. The cessation of hostilities did not terminate the potency or otherwise of the charms. Majority of these youths still believe that they are invisible, that they are guns and matches resistant. The crises also exposed the youths to places where they can procure these charms.

The police and other law enforcement agencies should step up their intelligence mechanism and expand their investigative tentacles to uncover these native doctors/medicine men as part of the processes of containing the menace of cultism in Eleme. The traditional rulers can be helpful in this regard.

2. Chieftaincy Tussle and Acrimony among the Chiefs

Chieftaincy tussle and acrimony among the chiefs of Ebubu have assumed an alarming state. It is a cold war that many do not know it exist yet its impact is being fetched in the activities of these young boys and girls who are being misled for their sponsors’ selfish goal. Government must address the emerging time bomb in Ebubu and in other clans and communities of Eleme before it explodes and consume us all.

Government must step in to solve the problems of acrimony among the chiefs in Ebubu to avoid total breakdown of law and order. The rising fire can be felt by careful observers, especially security experts who cannot claim ignorance of the danger posed by increasing chieftaincy tussle and acrimony in Ebubu.

3. Rivalry Among Youths’ Bodies

The way and manner most of the youth’s bodies in Ebubu were elected and inaugurated left much to be desired. In most communities that constitute Ebubu due processes were not followed. Besides, political considerations and personal interests took prominence over transparency, common sense, and community interests. The results are rising cult related killings, crimes and general fear of crimes. The government owes it a duty to check undue rivalry among the youths by ensuring that where due processes were not followed to elect and constitute a youth body, something is done to address the shortcomings so as to carry everybody along and promote the spirit of comradeship and brotherhood among the youths.

The politicians should reconsider their present stand of seeing youths and youth bodies as standing armies with which to win elections; and therefore must manipulate youth elections’ processes so as to install cronies and empower them in preparations for elections. This mindset has robbed Elemeland of peace and purposeful leadership. Community leadership, at all levels, is the purview of Council of Chiefs and Elders. The earlier we understand this the better it will be for Eleme.

Also, towards this end, the traditional rulers should wake up from their slumber or sleep and invoke appropriate traditional instruments in exercise of their powers. Traditional stool is not met for those alienated from what makes the people unique in their own way.

This trend, if left unchecked, the politicians will soon usurp the powers of Ogbo Nkpᴐrᴐ in the selection and installation of traditional rulers; they will decide who becomes a Land Priest/Traditional Prime Minister); and they will also choose who leads Egbara Eta and Mba Eta. Developments that will further provoke our ancestors, split our generation, and retard our civilization.

4. Social Decay

The general collapse of the value system, disregard for human life, lack of respect for elders and constituted authorities, absence of the once cherished spirit of communal love and peaceful coexistence, and total alienation of the youth from customs and tradition of the people of Eleme due to rapid industrialization and shameless display of ill-gotten wealth are major contributory factors to the uncontrollable incidents of cult induced killings and wide spread terrorism in Ebubu that needed urgent remedy through reorientation and reawakening.

5. Unemployment
An idle mind is the devil’s workshop says a popular adage. The rate of unemployment in Ebubu is alarming. You need to take a walk around the community any afternoon and see for yourself the number of youths idling away doing nothing. Something need to be done and quickly too to address the problem of unemployment in Ebubu.

6. Illiteracy

The level of illiteracy in Ebubu is very high compare to other clans of Eleme. This may sound embarrassing and unacceptable to some of us, but, we must tell ourselves the truth for once. There is urgent need for the government to device ways of getting our youths back to school. An educated mind cannot be easily convinced into carrying weapons to terminate the life of a fellow human being or destroy properties maliciously. Government should look in this direction as part of long term solutions to insecurity in Ebubu and Eleme generally.

7. Desperate Politicians

It may seem myopic or even unspeakable, but the fact is that some desperate politicians are behind the cult crises in Ebubu either during the preparation for the launch of their political ambition or to propagate their popularity or to wrestle political mandate from opponents, or to keep stolen mandate. Whatever way, ignorantly, though, they should be told in clear terms that what they are doing tantamount to building terrorists cell and is against the law of this country especially the provisions of the Terrorism Prevention Act of 2011.

8. Laxity on the Parts of Law Enforcement

The laxity on the part of law enforcement arises from the failure of intelligence security and the gap existing between the Police, Neighborhood Guards and the citizens. The State Security Service (SSS) as plain clothes force should as a matter of priority sit up to its responsibility by gathering real time intelligence that will help check these cultists and criminals. They can create a local ruse force to conduct pseudo operations among these youths. There is urgent need for greater presence and interactions in the communities, use of non-law enforcement resources that breaks cultural, language and information barriers and promotes trust and common goal.

Besides, the animosity and struggle for supremacy between the SSS and the Police in Eleme which is visible and which has robbed them the sharing of intelligence and other information over the years, must be resolved now if the security agencies must deliver on their mandates.

9. Drug Abuse and Addiction

A walk along any street in Ebubu in particular and Eleme in general will reveal immediately the harm hard drugs has done to our young boys and girls. There is virtually no street in Ebubu without at least three to five drinking joints and a hard drugs dispensing closet. Most cult related violence is traceable to effects of hard drugs. Security agencies must brace up to the fight against drug abuse in the area. Identification and rehabilitation of addicts is not out of place as part of immediate solution.

10. Arms Proliferations

The proliferation of small arms in Eleme is of great concern to security practitioners. While many of these arms can be traced to the Eleme and Okrika/Ogu communal conflicts as pointed out earlier, others are linked to the recent Niger Delta “militants for negotiation for development” operations. Still others were purchased by the criminally minded to terrorized innocent citizens and residents and dispose them of their belongings. There is therefore urgent need for the government to put all necessary machinery into motion to mop-up these arms. Arm for money strategy is recommended here propelled by the spirit of conditional amnesty.

11. Influx of Displaced Waterfronts’ Residents

The demolition of waterfronts in Port Harcourt and its environs and the sacking of the residents created hundreds of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Rivers State. This development resulted in mass movement of different types of people into Ebubu and contributed immensely to rising cases crimes in the area. The social decays which prompted the sacking of these waterfronts are known to all of us. These evils find their way into Ebubu and the result is increasing cult cases, armed robbery, rapping and other crimes.

The inability of the Rivers State Government to provide alternative settlements for these internally displaced persons coupled with the lack of adequate arrangement to mitigate the diverse negative impacts of unplanned mass movement of people into Ebubu is worrisome, and therefore calls for immediate attention to addressing the increasing security challenges arising therefrom.

It is therefore not out of place to call on the authorities of Eleme Local Government to do something about “Trailer Park” in Ejamah Ebubu which has become the den of criminals in the area. Attention should also be focused on the security red spots in Alesa, Agbonchia, Akpajo, and Onne that are fast emerging as criminals breeding centers in Eleme.

Conclusion

Cultism is a thorn in the flesh of the people and a clog in the wheel of progress of Ebubu Clan. To eradicate this monster, the family, school and church must accept their responsibilities of providing good basic home training, moral and spiritual orientation to the children. The government must eradicate those issues that give rise to crimes and social decay, while law enforcement agencies should ensure that any person who falls short of the law faces the rod of the law. This will create and sustain sanity in our society.

It is now the duty of the various stakeholders in Ebubu Clan to avoid a repetition of the ugly experience of the past which led to breakdown of law and order, and work towards ensuring lasting peace in the area. This, they could do by constantly and continuously monitoring the youth bodies in the area and calling them to order whenever they are derailing.
The chiefs on their part are also advised to institute an effective and efficient peer review mechanism to prevent what might be detrimental to the fragile peace in the area.

The Rivers State Government should also consider the request of the traditional rulers, chiefs, elders and opinion leaders of Ebubu Clan concerning establishing a Police Post in the area. Considering the rapid industrialization that is taking place in the area and uncontrollable influx of people from various parts of the world and the country into Ebubu the request for a police station in the area is not out of place but a priority. Police presence is a good deterrent.

Let it be pointed out here that a place have been donated by the people, it has been inspected and confirmed suitable by the police authority in Eleme. What is delaying the approval and take off of the Police Post in Ebubu?

While appreciating the efforts of the Council Chairman and Chiefs and Elders of Ebubu to checkmate the menace of cultism, it is pertinent to call on all concerned stakeholders to ensure that the passion and zeal demonstrated in the course of searching for workable solutions to the problems of cultism is not abandoned midway as that will be more disastrous.

It is also important to call on the Federal Government to consider addressing those long term factors that gave rise to cultism in the areas such as illiteracy, unemployment, and frustration in addition to the short term solutions being implemented.

The Wike government should not tolerate cultism in any part of Rivers State. The government should as a matter of priority encourage the communities to implement zero tolerance to cultism and other vices. The government can only do this by ensuring that anybody caught, no matter from which home he comes, gets an appropriate punishment. Community leadership needs the support of government, law enforcement agencies, and parents to ride the villages of cultists and other bandits. That is, to solve social decay, all stakeholders must cooperate with community leaders so that they can maintain the required discipline.

If parents monitor their children well, they will be under their control. Besides, the government should improve on deliverance of the much talk about dividends of democracy by ensuring that security and welfare of the people are given prominence. Rivers Youths deserve quality education and employment, uninterrupted electricity supply, water and roads, quality health facilities, clean environment and other social infrastructures that guarantee acceptable standards of living for all.
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LIBATION IN ELEME TRADITION

LIBATION IN ELEME TRADITION
A libation is a ritual pouring of a liquid as an offering to a god, or spirit, or in memory of those who have died – ancestors. Libation was common in many religions of antiquity and continues to be offered in various cultures today. Libation also entails a drink offered to honour and gratify the gods, ancestral spirits, deceased relatives, and the environment.
Libation was part of ancient Egyptian society where it was a drink offering to honour and please their divinities, sacred ancestors, humans present and not present, as well as the environment.
Among the ancient Israel, drink offering was a popular practice; and olive oil libation was well-liked. The Israelites believed that wine offering cheers both God and men, while olive oil was libated to honour God and men.
According to Armah, Ayi Kwei (2006) libation, which is now a common practice among Christians and non-Christians alike, originated somewhere in the Upper Nile valley and spread out to other regions of Africa and the world, including Eleme.
Since then, libation has grown to become central and vital aspect of Eleme Traditional Religion and one of the simplest and most common forms of religious practice. It is also one of the basic religious acts that defines piety in Eleme, and as pointed out earlier, dates back to prehistory Eleme.
Libations are part of daily life and the dutiful might perform them every day morning, afternoon and evening as well as to begin every important meeting, occasion or activity.
In Eleme, libation is a customary practice that takes the form of a request or as an expression of gratitude. The request may be for a successful marriage, fruit of the womb, male child, bountiful harvest, peaceful celebration, healing, protection from evil, punishment for known and unknown enemies, long life, guidance in defined circumstances, journey mercies, and other human requests.
Similarly, the expression of gratitude may relate to a peaceful marriage, the birth of a child, perceived protection, promotion, defeat of known enemies, bumper harvest, forgiveness and many other occurrences that brings us happiness.
The people of Eleme do not worship idols, rather they consider offering of drinks, oil, food, water, etc. as a visible and tangible form in which their service and requests can be channeled to Obari Jimajima – God Almighty.
Libation is a ritual of heritage in Eleme. It is concomitant with leadership and traditional rule in Eleme and one cannot be successfully divorced from the other. Anyone not sufficiently knowledgeable in the custom and tradition of Eleme is not expected to libate in an occasion. A person who, for whatever reason (s), cannot pour libation is not expected to be crowned a traditional ruler in Eleme.
At the family level, libation is a responsibility bestowed on the oldest male member of every family in the family Shrine known as Nsi Eji. An elder (Ekpo Ↄnԑ) who cannot pour out libation before the family Shrine or when the family members gather together to make a request or express gratitude to the gods, ancestral spirits or powerful departed member is assumed to have forfeited his birth-rights; and attracts the wrath of the gods or ancestors in several ways. Many offenders have been punished with sudden/untimely death, barrenness, ill-luck, poor harvest, poverty, failure, sickness, crisis-ridden family, wayward children, etc.
Pouring of libation in the Shrine entails lots of preparation, self purification and special dressing. A family priest (Ekpo Ↄnԑ) whose function requires him to face the Shrine and pour libation is customarily prevented from wearing a pair of shorts or trousers. He is rather expected to tie a special wrapper known as Njiri, whether plain or designed, in the manner called Ekpo Ԑkwā, barefooted and without cap of any kind. He is not expected to communicate with anyone until the libation is done and the session is terminated with a general affirmation and a welcome greeting by the audience.
Two types of drinks are acceptable for libation in Eleme. These are the palm-wine (known locally as Mmi Eleme), and the local gin (kai kai) or Schnapps (called Mmi ofa). As a rule, the drink, whether in a cup, horn, or bottle, must be poured out to the ground intermittently to accentuate the process of libation. It is expected that all who are within hearing distance of the libation will concentrate and respond affirmatively when each major statement or decree is concluded or uttered.
Apart from drink and oil, saliva, tears and sweat are prominent elements in the libation process. Yet, these liquid elements that make tremendous beneficial contributions to the success of the libation process have been ignored over the years. Saliva, tears and sweat have not been properly researched into for their potentials and roles in libation.
While much is known of blood sacrifice and offering little or nothing is known of saliva, tears and sweat. Instead, these liquids which play salient roles in libation are unconsciously introduced by man into the processes of libation at different levels depending on his expertise, spirituality and commitment.
Saliva is a watery liquid secreted into the mouth by glands which provides lubrication for chewing, swallowing, aids digestion, and spice libation as requests are presented. The harder one speaks the more saliva he makes and the more saliva he releases to reinforce the drink offering, open doors for acceptance and facilitate granting of necessary requests. In olive oil libation, saliva also plays similar roles. Vocal prayers and praises (making of requests and expression of gratitude) go with saliva and/or tears libation.
The spiritual significance of saliva was vividly demonstrated by Christ Jesus in his healing ministry. On one occasion, “He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay…. So he went and washed, and came back seeing”, John 9:6-7 (NKJV).
On another occasion, “He took the blind man by hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him…. he was restored and saw everyone clearly”, Mark 8: 23-25 (NKJV).
The human body produces 2 to 4 pints of saliva a day. The gods and ancestors love and enjoy human body liquid, be it blood, saliva, tears, sweat, etc. and are cheered and spurred into action by the quality and potency of body liquid accompanying libation. As said earlier, the quality and potency of these liquids depend on the mode, spirituality and involvement of the person performing the libation.
On the other hand, tear is a drop of clear saltry liquid secreted from glands in a person’s eyes when he cries or when the eye is irritated. Tears are an expression of a sensible experience, associated with deep compassionate communion. Tears invoke profound and invisible links the human body has with other persons and with the environment. A tear of contrition or repentance or compassion appeals to the conscience of the gods and ancestors to temper justice with mercy. Tears can be introduced into the libation by the person actually performing the libation or by the subject or a third party. The closer the source of the tears to the subject and issues being addressed the better, and the more beneficial the tears in attracting sympathy of the gods and ancestors.
Sweat is moisture exude through the pones of the skin, and is critical in a libation. The human body secrets sweat as a result of work or emotions such as excitement, anxiety, and fear. It is the emotional state of the person performing the libation, witnesses, vis-à-vis proper customary presentation of the subject matter while libating that the gods and ancestors look for and this determines their response.
Although, the amount of sweat may not always correspond to the level of efforts put in serving the gods or ancestors, it tells much about one’s desperation and expectations. The underlying factor causing the sweat introduce into a libation decides the answer one gets from the gods and ancestors.
If fear is the basic cause of the sweat, the gods may be silent or allow an adverse result. If excitement stimulates the sweat, the spirit of the person performing the libation becomes elated and the whole person is immersed in cosmic consciousness, and goodness and mercy results. A libation is what you put into it. A journey of libation must be defined by vision and venture.
Libation that elicits sweat from the human body and plugs the person into ecstasy is much more appreciated and cherished by the gods and ancestors. Sweat stimulates appearance of spiritual being as was established by Christ Jesus when, “He prayed more earnestly. His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground…. Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him”. Spiritual beings don’t just appear at the scene of libation or prayer but to deliver instant result.
The main purpose of libation as practiced in Eleme is to summarize the ideal that prompted the occasion, and a plea for its actualization. Libation generally accompanies prayers – concentration, meditation, affirmation, and decree.
It is a form of serving the gods and obeying them. Libation is a means of obtaining solutions in a number of situations as enumerated above. It is a way of giving thanks. It is also a way to intercede for another, to solicit for another. Libation is as well a way to give praise for benefits derived from the gods and ancestors.
Libation aids confession of sin and asking for forgiveness when one offends the gods or ancestors. It is also a way to ask for help from the gods and ancestors.
Libation invites the gods and ancestor to whisper to the living their mind concerning human worries and endeavours.
The act of libation calls for dignity and mastery of the Eleme language, because it is focused on the ancestors or recently demised relations who deserve reverence.
Language of libation is usually pronounced with proverbs and riddles that convey precision and alacrity. Due to the reverence with which tradition takes the act of libation, no person is allowed to move about or move towards the spot where the drink is being poured.
The social status of a person performing the libation must correspond with the specific occasion. Ↄnԑ Ԑԑ Eta (Paramount Ruler), Ↄnԑ Nkpᴐrᴐ (Spokesman), Ↄnԑ Nkikԑԑ (Traditional Prime Minister), Ekpo Ↄnԑ (Elder), etc. each have their appropriate occasions when they have to libate. An important point in Eleme tradition is that while the Ↄnԑ Ԑԑ Eta or any other traditional authority may libate in their homes, at meetings or other relevant occasions, only Ekpo Ↄnԑ (Elder) and Ↄnԑ Nkikԑԑ (Traditional Prime Minister) may libate before a Community Shrine in exercise of his mandate.
A libation prepares ground for major decisions, to overcome barriers, to gain insight, and strength. It remains the means of discerning the minds of the gods if in doubt and a means of plugging into the powers of the gods.
One important aspect of Eleme traditional marriage is the presentation of a goat with other materials to the family priest and Chiefs of the community. This ceremony known as Ↄfԑ Mbo
Eta e’i calls for drinks to be libated to the ancestors, informing them concerning the ceremony and asking them to participate and bless the marriage with early child birth. The family Elder (Ekpo Ↄnԑ) is expected in the process of his libation to call each one of the ancestors by name, and the more of such names he calls, the more his efficiency is rated.
In the course of the burial rites of an adult male or female who qualifies for the chiefs of the community to assemble for Odo Nli (ceremonial directing of the bereaved family on how their deceased member will be buried), Ↄnԑ Ԑԑ Eta (Paramount Ruler) or Ↄnԑ Nkpᴐrᴐ (Spokesman) will libate saying that frequent death was not desirable so that elders can remain to advise children that vultures are not eaten.
Another occasion where libation becomes expedient is in the settlement is disputes between two persons or communities. Libation in this case acts as a seal that confirms the terms of settlement and may go further to pronounce punishment on any party that breaches the settlement.
The same process is also adopted when establishing a new boundary demarcation in respect of land that was in dispute.
When a widow is being remarried, a dog instead of the usual goat is presented before the family Shrine and the Priest (Ekpo Ↄnԑ) in his libation will call on her dead husband to realize that he no longer belong to this world, and since all his burial rites have been fully completed, the woman who is still young must find another man for her protection, and that henceforth, she belongs to another man and another family. She must not be harmed in any way because all processes have been completed for her remarriage.
During the Agba Esū Festival, which is held all over Eleme in October each year, there is the customary requirement that each male adult member of the family will deliver yams, one fowl or goat, or a big dried fish and some quantity of palm-wine to the ancestral family Shrine where the family Priest has the duty of presenting these materials to the ancestors by name. He presents these materials to the gods/ancestral spirits as coming from a family member who is showing appreciation for the continued existence of his household and further requests them to give more prosperity and protection so that he can present more than this in the coming year.
In case of requesting the gods and ancestors to forgive a sexual sin known as “unmarried-girl-pregnancy-sin” (Ↄlᴐ Ajija) an elaborate sacrifice is required. It is the Traditional Prime Minister who is also the Land Priest (Ↄnԑ Nkikԑԑ) who performs the sacrifices and pours libation to the gods, ancestors, and dead family members to make all necessary plea on behalf of the pregnant girl and the family, calling her by name and asking for forgiveness and safe child delivery. He concludes by praying the gods and ancestors to accept the drink offering, pardon their daughter who has erred, and to preserve the life of both mother and child in order to sustain their own lineage on earth.
When a man and woman happen to have sex in the farm, whether married or not, the same processes of sexual sin sacrifice and pouring of libation to plead the gods and ancestors to forgive the offenders for desecrating their farmland, and to free them from their wraths, are undertaking by the Land Priest as well.
If a man or woman engaged in sexual activity with animal or person of the same sex, the Land Priest carries out the same sexual sin sacrifices and pouring of libation to appease the gods and ancestors, and beg for forgiveness of the offenders’ folly, to relax their anger, and restore them to normal human life.
If someone pronounced a curse on another person or his/her family and died without revoking the curse, the family elder is expected to put a cup in the deceased right hand while lying-in-state. And holding a cup or bottle of kai kai or Schnapps in his own right hand, the family elder will pour out the drink to the ground intermittently to accentuate the process of the libation, calling the deceased by name and flattering him, he will then present his request on behalf of the person or family, begging him to forgive and revoke all the curses he/she placed on the person or family. Finally, the family elder will, on behalf of the deceased, revoked and renounce all the curses, and all those present will chorus “so be it” (atō anyō) affirmatively.
Where it is established that the deceased will not honour the family elder, for whatever reason, a close-friend of the deceased will be specifically invited to pour libation and conduct the revocation of the curses processes.
Experiences have shown that pouring of libation and soliciting to the gods and ancestors usually obtain necessary pardon from the gods and ancestors and free the offender from punishment.
Some people profess not to give drink offering to the gods and ancestors describing the practice as devilish and an unnecessary attachment to the dark ages. But, the truth in issue is that if you claim you forbid or detest pouring libation to the gods, your ancestors, or dead family hero or heroine know today that someone else in your community, extended or immediate family is doing so on your behalf and you are indirectly being imparted either negatively or positively by the influences emanating therefrom.
That claim of not being connected or affected or the “I-Don’t-Give-A-Damn attitude arises out of ignorance and escapism posture. Reason being that, the blood flowing in your veins and all other inheritance such as landed properties, family wealth, fame, goodwill, etc. which you inherited and upon which you laid the foundation of your life and build your future are the things that sustain and reinforce the natural links, spiritual connections, and physical attachments, not what you think, belief, or do.
In the case of crowning a traditional ruler, admitting someone into the Ogbo Nkpᴐrᴐ (highest traditional ruling council) at all levels an elaborate pouring of libation is involved.
Libation is an important aspect of the social life of Eleme. In recent times, we have witness renewed efforts to paint the practice as demonic and fetish, yet offering of drinks and other liquids to the gods continues to attract wider adherence and admirers. Perhaps, because libation is anchored at the root of human social existence: marriage and naming ceremonies, coronation/ordination, send forth, reception, burial ceremony, promotion, acquisition of new car, commissioning of new building/project, new yam festival (Agba Esū), new year celebration, etc. all calls for drink offering – libation.
Because of the importance attached to libation in all African cultures, the libation of olive oil and water (holy) is gathering daily momentum among African religionists and is fast replacing drink offering especially among modern African Christians. libarte