TASK BEFORE NPDC IN OGONI

THE TASK BEFORE NPDC IN OGONI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The fears of the people concerning NPDC are numerous.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Conclusion

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

References

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

Impacts of Cultism in Eleme

Chief Osaro Ollorwi

Introduction

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

 

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

Economic Life

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Education Life

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

 

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

 

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

Religious Life

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

 

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

Social Life

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Death, Burial and Other Ceremonies

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Increased Stress-Related Sickness and Death

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

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

Political Life

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

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

 

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

Psychological Life

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

 

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

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

 

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

Development

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Conclusion

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

DO ELEME PEOPLE CELEBRATE CRIMINALS

Do Eleme People Celebrate Criminals?

 

Introduction

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Marriage

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Leadership

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

 

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

 

Institutions of Community Policing and Crime Control

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

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

 

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

 

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

Traditional Court

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Owe Ebo Ete (Oweboete) Court

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Owe Nkporon Court

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

 

 

Osaro Ollorwi – 08036694027

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rivers State

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

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

Impact of 2015 General Elections in Rivers State

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Costs and Impacts of Insecurity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Importance of Human Security to Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusions and Recommendations

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

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

Reference

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

HOW TO COMBAT CULTISM IN EBUBU

How to Combat Cultism in Ebubu

Ebubu was once regarded as the most stable and peaceful clan in Eleme. Several factors gave credence to this perception. As the traditional headquarters of Eleme, Ebubu remains both the ancient rally center and melting-pot of Eleme. In times of war and crisis Ebubu provides the necessary manpower, wherewithal and strategies for victory. Ebubu is known in Eleme as “Unmovable Community”. During the several wars (including the Nigerian-Biafra War of 1967 – 1970) that have one way or another impacted Ebubu, the community withstood them all and stayed unmoved. It is unfortunate that the peace that Ebubu enjoyed from inception is being shattered by our own children in connivance with the enemies of Ebubu. People of all ages and background have continued to wonder the rationale behind the recent upsurge in gang violence and cultism, which is questioning the genuine efforts of the traditional rulers, chiefs, elders, security agencies and the government to contain.

 

The efforts of youth leadership and security agencies in checking the activities of these hoodlums are appreciative. Especially when considered from the backdrop that as soon as normalcy returned, these cultists will resume their evil activities. Today new dimensions are being introduced in to the ugly situation – the use of dynamites, and killing and burning. These developments have increased the level of fear and worry among the residents.

 

The concerns of some of the chiefs and elders is that when some of these cultists are arrested and taken into custody by the police, they are quickly released on bail by the same police that is looking for them; a situation that makes the cultists to return home to boast and threaten those who are said to have masterminded their arrest. “This unending circle of search for the criminals, get them arrested and released them on bail is frustrating”, said one of the chiefs who pleaded anonymous.

 

Policing is a shared responsibility between the Police and the People. Chief Olukanke (not real name), observed that while the police bear guns, the cultists carry guns; the people (Youths, Chiefs and Elders) do not. Therefore, the police have more to do to check violent crimes in Ebubu in particular and Eleme in general, since the people who do not bear arms are not expected to confront well-armed criminals bear-handed”, he reiterated.

 

The general opinion is that the police to be more active in their duties without assuming that the citizens are avoiding their own responsibility which include the provision of vital information.

 

Chief Olonta (not real name) also lamented the attitude of some police officers who compromise security by fraternizing with these criminals; and pointed out that some of these law enforcement officials have over stayed their usefulness in Eleme and deserve to be transferred out.

 

Chief (Mrs.) Ada, Emere Owa, described a situation where the cultists strike from the bush and retreat into the bush, yet the law abiding Chiefs and youths are arrested and detained by the police for no reason; and appealed for cooperation in the fight against cultism and other violent crimes in Ebubu. She warned against antagonism among security agencies and between them and citizens if the war against crimes and criminality must be won.

 

Explaining the efforts that the Ebubu Council of Traditional Rulers, Chiefs and Elders has made to solve the security challenges facing Ebubu since 2013, the Oneh Eh (Paramount Ruler) of Ebubu Kingdom, HRH Emere Emmanuel Osaroeke Bebe pointed out that the Ebubu Council of Chiefs and Elders donated the Old Primary Health Center Building in Ebubu to the Nigeria Police Force to serve as temporary site for Ebubu Police Station but wondered why nothing has been done to put the place into use by the police since then. He observed that when the police in Eleme came to inspect the place and the then Rivers State Commissioner of Police directed the matter to the State Police Anti-Cultism Unit in Port Harcourt, the people’s hope were raised. But, the matter died a natural dead. The people continue to live at the mercy of God.

 

He lamented that no sooner has a cultist been arrested and handed over to the police than the police release him into the community to continue terrorizing the residents, then turn around to blame the Chiefs and youths who these criminals are also after.

 

The royal father pointed out that the cooperation between the police and the people has already unveiled the identity of these known cultists. But wonder why nothing has been done to keep them out of the community. He questioned why the police should assume that unarmed Chiefs and Elders should chase and catch cultists that are well-armed.

 

Another prominent chief who asked not to be named said it is unfortunate that Ebubu, a once peaceful community, is today in anarchy and crisis, saying to rout these cultists from Ebubu, thorough understanding, cooperation and united efforts are needed to be harnessed by all stakeholders in Ebubu security. He said that one of the major challenges facing our efforts to fight crimes in Ebubu and Eleme is incessant transfer of Heads of Security in the area.

 

In his words, “Before an incumbent can familiarize himself with the terrain and be conversant with the environment he will be transferred. This is not good for the security of the place”.

 

Another important factor is the presence of a nearby seaport. Chief Obo observed that wherever there is busy seaport there is always high crime rate. He gave example of Apapa Lagos and Onne Eleme but was quick to add that the high presence of security personnel in these areas helps to check the activities of criminals.

 

Trailer Park in Ejamah Ebubu was also fingered as one of the depots and meeting points for all sorts of criminal elements in Ebubu. It is believed that “all the criminals that were dislodged from the various waterfronts in Port Harcourt are now in Trailer Park Ebubu from where they carry out their nefarious activities in collaboration with their local counterparts”.

 

Chief Obo also identified Dabor Swamp/Forest in Ebubu as one of the base of these cultists and queried why such places should not be dismantled and put into beneficial use. Also of concern are Eta Osaro and Okenwikoro villages in Egbalor that acts as possible hiding places for these criminals.

 

Our investigation revealed that releasing these cultists when arrested is the function of the police and this is due mostly to unavailability of concrete evidence to nail the criminal to the crime. Evidence is the foundation on which any criminal can be convicted and this is the working of the law. “If someone is arrested and taken into police custody, but there is no evidence for the law to take its proper course and the police are in one way or another induced with money to release the suspect on bail they will have no other choice because they cannot detail someone forever”, a concerned Elder narrated.

 

The parents are also accused of not paying proper parental attention to their children. “What are the parents doing to check their children between 12 and 15 years old that are being initiated into cultism?” queried CSC Joseph Gbarasung, DO, NSCDC, Eleme. He said if the parents say they are not aware, then they are being economical with the truth. They should check the chest and back of their children and they will be surprised how deep cultism has penetrated Eleme”, he instructed.

 

Fear of Personality was also identified as contributory factor to rising cases of cultism in Eleme. It was observed that while children of the poor are pointed out to the police or other law enforcement agents for arrest, children of the influential and well-to-do in society are covered and protected. This, it was observed, encourages crime and criminality.

 

The commander of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in the area advised the community leaders and youths to “Inform the law enforcement officials about these cultists, their movement, and ongoing attacks and we promise you that we are equal to the tasks,” he assured.

 

Speaking on behalf of the Eleme Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Eleme Division, SP Amos Olugbenga Taiwo, DSP Thompson Ebikeme, the Divisional Crime Officer 1, agreed that incessant transfer of Heads of Security Agencies in the area is a major problem as far as crime fighting is concerned; but observed that it doesn’t take too long for trained officers to adjust to their new environment. He promised that the police will continue to do their best to ensure a peaceful and stable Eleme. “I am aware that Ebubu is a volatile place, but the police are doing everything to reverse the situation, and return Ebubu to its original peaceful, stable and tranquilized state”.

 

Continuing, he said that the law must take its proper course, stressing that it won’t be business as usual. He further explained that police will sort out all black spots in Eleme and raid then to clear the area of criminals, and agreed that there is urgent need for greater police presence in Ebubu, saying the jobs of the police in the area are enormous and therefore require support and assistance to perform efficiently and effectively.

 

Our investigation discovered that lack of modern policing facilities, like communication gargets, vehicles; personnel and so on are some factors militating against effective police performance in Eleme.

 

The police boss solicited for regular information about crimes and criminals, and assured that any information made available to the police will be treated as secret, and the identity of the informant will be properly protected.

 

Security Challenge in Ebubu

The major security challenge facing Ebubu is cultism, which manifests in rival cult clashes with its accompanying violent crimes such as killing (mostly rival cultists), arson (burning of houses and properties belonging to rival cult group members), armed robbery, burglary, rape, kidnapping and extortion among others. This development has not only grounded the social and economic life of Ebubu but also led to the desertion of the area by residents – both indigenes and strangers.

The following salient challenges also emerged during the course of investigation, which we observed are very important that solutions are proffered for them if efforts to solve the security challenges in Ebubu are to be fruitful.

These issues require in-depth investigation by the various security agencies, especially the DSS. They include:

  1. Remote and immediate cause(s) of incessant violent crimes in Ebubu.
  2. Source(s) of their Funds.
  3. Source(s) of their Weapons.
  4. Source(s) of their Recruits.
  5. Means of their Transportation and Communication.
  6. Modus Operandi of each Cult Group.
  7. Their Base Before, During and After Operations.

1.      Remote and Immediate Causes of Violence in Ebubu

The collapse, destruction, and denial of those component elements that bind the people of the four autonomous communities of Ebubu namely: Ejamah, Egbalor, Agbeta and Obolo, together such as belief (common oracle, culture and dialect with which the communities halo and worship together no longer exists), is a major factor in rising cases of hatred among the youths and violence in Ebubu.

 

Closely related to the above as one of the remote causes of the violence in Ebubu, is the absence of the streams from where the four communities fetch their drinking water which are now history. Also connected are the people’s farmlands that have been decimated and forcefully acquired and the environment that is devastated by the activities of oil companies in the area.

 

In addition to the foregoing are festivals that used to bring the people together such as Ogbo Nja, Aken O’e, Agba Esaa, and Eso Mba among others which has been discarded due to the forces of Christianity, exploitative industrialization, and unorganized education, thus eroding the people’s age long ties, unity, cooperation, love, and communalism.

 

Other important remote causes of rival cult clashes in Ebubu include the struggle for supremacy, territorial lordship and control. Campaign for recognition as lord of the area, search for responsibility that will yield immediate financial benefits (such as being hired for a fee to terrorize electorates and political opponents during elections to create political advantage for the benefactor; or, during chieftaincy tussles, youth and CDC elections, etc.) and to satisfy their immediate financial and social needs and aspirations through the perpetuation of violence in society, are some of the causes of continues violence in the area.

 

The immediate causes are as diverse as there are events and human needs. The unprovoked murder of Emere on April 19, 2013 was said to be the immediate incident that triggered up the series of killings and violent crimes which has lingered until today. Since then, “you kill one of us, we will kill one of you” had been the order of the day.

 

Argument over girlfriend or boyfriend and other trivial issues also constitutes immediate causes of incessant rival cult clashes and violence in Ebubu.

 

However, the community is afraid that the crisis is gradually expanding and extending, and may eventually result to killing an innocent citizen thus bring more mayhem upon the community. “Our fears are that, if, mistakenly or otherwise, a non-cultist, an innocent person from any of these communities is killed, Ebubu will be plugged into total chaos and disarray. God forbid!” Chief Nsan, who asked that his real name not be used, said.

2.      Source of Funds

It is no gainsaying that cultist in Ebubu source for funds to purchase arms and ammunition, procure charms, and finance their operations through Kidnapping, Armed Robbery, Burglary, Theft of Motorcycles, and extortions from businesses in Ebubu and environs.

3.      Source of Weapons

The sources of weapons used by these cultists are diverse and shrouded in secrecy. However, during the course of study, it was disclosed that Trailer Park in Ejamah Ebubu is likely a ready market for arms for these cultists. Their counterparts in neighbouring communities are also suspected as possible source of supply of weapons. Some masquerading “do-or-die” politicians, chiefs and youth leaders, have also been accused of aiding and abetting the supply of arms to these cultists, perhaps to support their selfish pursue.

4.      Source of Recruits

Both rival cult groups scramble for recruits from the population of innocent children between the age bracket of 10 and 15 years old in the community. They lure these children with promise of protection, wealth, and fame. Where such enticement failed to convince the invitee, he or she is forced and initiated into cultism. After initiation, the neophyte is kept with threat of death or madness, thereby subjecting him or her to perpetual slavery, manipulation, control and life of crime.

Our investigation shown that these rival cult groups have seriously invaded and infiltrated all the secondary schools in Eleme – both public and private; and that most children between the ages of 10 and 15 are being initiated and used to perpetuate crimes in the neighbourhoods.

The situation is lamentable. Heads of Schools and Parents and guardians are advised to monitor their children, know the friends they keep, their acquaintances etc.; where they pass nights, and to regularly check the back and chest of their children for “marks” – signs of initiation in to cultism and report same to law enforcement agencies for proper investigation.

5.      Means of Transportation and Communication

These cultists are known to invade the community either in stolen cars or on captured motorcycles. During the course of our investigation, we discovered that the cultists usually abandon these cars when chased; while in most cases the motorcycles which they also stole at gun points and use for their operation are sold after the operation.

The GSM handsets remain the major means of communication among themselves and with their informants who are within the neighbourhoods and close to their targets. Girls between the ages of 12 and 16 are recruited and initiated; and they serve as road observers, spies, informants and arrowheads of these cultists as well as links between the cultists and the probable victim and the community. Underage boys also play these roles and in most cases security agents are not aware of this ugly development.

6.      Modus Operandi

They adopt the hit and run guerrilla warfare type tactics. During operation, they normally split themselves into two or three groups of four or five boys armed with sophisticated weapons and machetes. Their tactics involves carjacking, drive into the community, attack a predetermined target and pull out at the speed of light. After some days, weeks or month, they will seize motorcycles at gun point and the scenario is repeated again and again. The same techniques are applied during kidnapping.

However, during house to house robbery or burglary, they attack in large numbers, at times, between 8 and 15 persons, well-armed with sophisticated weapons, slug hammers, iron cutters, and so on with which they break walls or cut protectors to gain access.

It was uncovered that the cultists do not undertake attack at random. Rather, they gather intelligence information about their selected victim, conduct surveillance and reconnaissance operations on him/her before finally attacking.

We found out that underage children both boys and girls are used by these cultists to carry out these deadly activities. And because they are insiders, usually very close relatives to the victim, (children, friends, brothers, sisters, or repentant cultists who are still sympathetic to their former cult group), the information they provide is mostly timely and current and these cultists utilize it very effectively.

However, there is need to balance the above with case of friends and relatives who make honest mistakes by ignorantly disclosing details of parents, friends, or neighbours’ movements or whereabouts. Security awareness is recommended which is at its lowest ebb in the area need to be boosted.

7.      Hiding Places

Their hiding places are probably, Trailer Park in Ejamah, Eta Osaro and Okenwikoro in Egbalor, and Dabor Swamp/Forest. It is also suspected that these cultists also hide in Okrika, Ogoni and Amadi-Ama; and retreat to these places after operations. Only well-coordinated investigation can unveil their very hiding place.

There is therefore urgent need for the authority to facilitate the establishment of a Police Station in Ebubu without further delay, since on their part; the community has donated a place for that purpose since 2013.

One of the issues pointed out by the residents during our interaction is widening gap among heads of security agencies in Eleme. It is suggested that the Heads of Security Agencies in Eleme promote cooperation and sharing of intelligence information among themselves, and treat information delve out to them by citizens as confidential to reinforce the people’s confidence and trust.

The Youth Council on their part must be more vigilant to check the types of vehicles and motorcycles that come into Ebubu all round the clock, and alert security agencies as soon as they identify or suspect any criminal movements or activities.

Since these criminals are known to be stealing cars or motorcycles for their operations and abandon same when pursued, the police are advised to introduce stop and search on vehicles, and persons carrying either backpacks or front-packs. The stop and search to be extended to persons wearing clothes that are extra big for their body size.

Bullying: An Emerging Security Problem in Nigeria

BULLYING AN EMERGING SECURITY PROBLEM IN NIGERIA

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. Aggressive behavior may be bullying depending on what happened, how often it happens and who it happens to. Bullying typically involves subtle methods of coercion, such as intimidation.

There are many roles that children can play. Children can bully others, they can be bullied, or they may witness bullying. When children are involved in bullying, they often play more than one role. It is important to understand the multiple roles teenagers play in order to effectively prevent and respond to bullying.

Burger, Christoph; Strohmeier, Dagmar; Spröber, Nina; Bauman, Sheri; Rigby, Ken (2015) observed that bullying is a subcategory of aggressive behavior characterized by the following three minimum criteria: hostile intent, imbalance of power, and repetition over a period of time. Bullying may also be referred to as the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another individual, physically, mentally or emotionally.

The Norwegian researcher Dan Olweus noted that bullying occurs when a person is “exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons”. He says negative actions occur “when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, through words or in other ways.” He pointed out that individual bullying is usually characterized by a person behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person.

Bullying Is Not Conflict.

Bullying is not conflict. Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power, which distinguishes bullying from conflict. Behaviors used to assert such domination can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion, and such acts may be directed repeatedly towards particular targets. Rationalizations for such behavior sometimes include differences of social class, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, appearance, behavior, body language, personality, reputation, lineage, strength, size or ability. If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing.

Bullying ranges from one-on-one, individual bullying through to group bullying called mobbing, in which the bully may have one or more “lieutenants” who may seem to be willing to assist the primary bully in his or her bullying activities. Bullying in school and the workplace is also referred to as peer abuse. Robert W. Fuller has analyzed bullying in the context of rankism.

A bullying culture can develop in any context in which humans interact with each other. This includes school, family, the workplace, home, and neighborhoods. Bullying can also be used by the national government to coerce, intimidate and suppress oppositions as we are witnessing in Nigeria today.

Types of Bully

There are many types of bullying. Individual bullying can be classified into four types. These include:

Collective bullying which is also known as mobbing and can include any of the individual types of bullying.

Physical, verbal, and relational bullying are most prevalent in primary and junior secondary schools and could also begin much earlier. Cyber-bullying is more common in senior secondary schools.

Individual Bullying

Individual bullying tactics can be perpetrated by a single person against a target or targets.

Physical Bullying

This is any bullying that hurts someone’s body or damages their possessions. Stealing, shoving, hitting, fighting, and destroying property all are types of physical bullying. Physical bullying is rarely the first form of bullying that a target will experience. Often bullying will begin in a different form and progress to physical violence. In physical bullying the main weapon the bully uses is their body. Physical bullying was widely perpetrated by the rival cultists in Ebubu during the 2013 cult clashes. Houses and properties of members of rival cult groups were burnt and destroyed with abandon. These forced many of them to switch loyalty and groups.

Verbal Bullying

This is any bullying that is done by speaking. Calling names, spreading rumors, threatening somebody, and making fun of others are all forms of verbal bullying. Verbal bullying is one of the most common types of bullying. In verbal bullying the main weapon the bully uses is their mouth. Many parents are guilty of verbal bullying. They have also use their mouth to talk their children and wards into bad relationship and groups.

Relational Bullying

This is any bullying that is done with the intent to hurt somebody’s reputation or social standing. Politicians are known to run down their opponents by assassinating their characters and hurting their reputation.

Cyber Bullying

This is any bullying that happens over any technological device. This includes email, instant messaging, social networking sites (such as Facebook), text messages, and cell phones.

Collective Bullying

Collective bullying tactics are employed by more than one individual against a target or targets.

Mobbing

Mobbing is ganging up to alter someone’s actions forcefully, through rumour, innuendo, intimidation, humiliation, discrediting, and isolation. It involves more than one aggressor, often orchestrated by a leader who is a skilled manipulator. Cult groups used mobbing to recruit and initiate new members. The cultists consider mobbing as a convenient instrument for engaging new entrants.

Effects of Bullying

According to Mona O’Moore of the Anti-Bullying Centre at Trinity College, Dublin, “There is a growing body of research which indicates that individuals, whether child or adult, who are persistently subjected to abusive behavior are at risk of stress related illness which can sometimes lead to suicide”.

Those who have been the targets of bullying can suffer from long term emotional and behavioral problems. Bullying can cause loneliness, depression, anxiety, lead to low self-esteem and increased susceptibility to illness.

Bullying has also been shown to cause maladjustment in young children, and targets of bullying who were also bullies themselves exhibit even greater social difficulties.

Suicide

Even though there is evidence that bullying increases the risk of suicide, bullying alone does not cause suicide. Depression is one of the main reasons why children who are bullied commit suicide. It is estimated that between 10 and 25 children commit suicide every year in Nigeria alone because they are being bullied. Certain attributes of a person are correlated to a higher risk for suicide than others such as: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. When someone is unsupported by his or her family or friends, it can make the situation much worse for the victim.

Violence

Serial killers were frequently bullied through direct and indirect methods as children or adolescents. Henry Lee Lucas, a serial killer and diagnosed psychopath, said the ridicule and rejection he suffered as a child caused him to hate everyone. Kenneth Bianchi, a serial killer and member of the Hillside Stranglers, was teased as a child because he urinated in his pants and suffered twitching, and as a teenager was ignored by his peers. A serial killer and leader of one of the notorious cult groups that terrorized Ebubu in 2013 told a gathering of chiefs, elders, youths and women that the humiliation and rejection he experienced as a child made him to hate everyone.

Positive development

Some have argued that bullying can teach life lessons and instill strength. Helene Guldberg, a child development academic, sparked controversy when she argued that being a target of bullying can teach a child “how to manage disputes and boost their ability to interact with others”, and that teachers should not intervene, but leave children to respond to the bullying themselves.

A few studies have pointed up some potentially positive outcomes from bullying behavior. These studies have found that with some individuals, as a result of their having been targeted with bullying behavior, this certain minority of former bullying targets have actually experienced being enabled through their experiences with bullying to develop various coping strategies, which included standing up for themselves in ways which acted to re-balance former imbalances of power. Such former bullying targets have reported such things as becoming a better person as a result of their former bullying ordeals. The teaching of such anti-bullying coping skills to would-be-targets and to others has been found to be an effective long term means of reducing bullying incidence rates and a valuable skill-set for individuals.

Some widows in Eleme are known to have encourages and advised their children to join bully-gangs to get protection.

Projection

A bully may project his/her own feelings of vulnerability onto the target(s) of the bullying activity. Despite the fact that a bully’s typically denigrating activities are aimed at the bully’s targets, the true source of such negativity is ultimately almost always found in the bully’s own sense of personal insecurity and/or vulnerability. Such aggressive projections of displaced negative emotions can occur anywhere from the micro-level of interpersonal relationships, all the way up through to the macro-level of international politics, or even international armed conflict.

Emotional Intelligence

Bullying is abusive social interaction between peers which can include aggression, harassment, and violence. Bullying is typically repetitive and enacted by those who are in a position of power over the victim. A growing body of research illustrates a significant relationship between bullying and emotional intelligence (EI). Mayer et al., (2008) defines the dimensions of overall EI as “accurately perceiving emotion, using emotions to facilitate thought, understanding emotion, and managing emotion“. The concept combines emotional and intellectual processes. Lower emotional intelligence appears to be related to involvement in bullying, as the bully and/or the victim of bullying. EI seems to play an important role in both bullying behavior and victimization in bullying; given that EI is illustrated to be malleable, EI education could greatly improve bullying prevention and intervention initiatives.

Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying is any bullying done through the use of technology. This form of bullying can easily go undetected because of lack of parental/authoritative supervision. Because bullies can pose as someone else, it is the most anonymous form of bullying. Cyber bullying includes, but is not limited to, abuse using email, instant messaging, text messaging, websites, social networking sites, etc. With the creation of social networks like Facebook, MySpace, Instagram, and Twitter, cyber bullying has increased. Particular watchdog organizations have been designed to contain the spread of cyber bullying.

Disability bullying

It has been noted that disabled people are disproportionately affected by bullying and abuse, and such activity has been cited as a hate crime. The bullying is not limited to those who are visibly disabled, such as wheelchair-users or physically deformed such as those with a cleft lip, but also those with learning disabilities, such as autism and developmental coordination disorder.

There is an additional problem that those with learning disabilities are often not as able to explain things to other people, so are more likely to be disbelieved or ignored if they do complain.

Gay bullying

Gay bullying and gay bashing designate direct or indirect verbal or physical actions by a person or group against someone who is gay or lesbian, or perceived to be so due to rumors or because they are considered to fit gay stereotypes. Gay and lesbian youth are more likely than straight youth to report bullying.

Legal Bullying

Legal bullying is the bringing of a vexatious legal action to control and punish a person. Legal bullying can often take the form of frivolous, repetitive, or burdensome lawsuits brought to intimidate the defendant into submitting to the litigant’s request, not because of the legal merit of the litigant’s position, but principally due to the defendant’s inability to maintain the legal battle.

Military Bullying

A culture of bullying is common in the military. In the Nigerian Army for instance, bullying is common place and is an acceptable behavior to express superiority. In 2000, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MOD) defined bullying as “the use of physical strength or the abuse of authority to intimidate or victimize others or to give unlawful punishments“.

Some argue that this behaviour should be allowed, due to ways in which soldiering is different from other occupations. Soldiers expected to risk their lives should, according to them, develop strength of body and spirit to accept bullying.

Parental Bullying of Children

Parents who may displace their anger, insecurity, or a persistent need to dominate and control upon their children in excessive ways have been proven to increase the likelihood that their own children will in turn become overly aggressive or controlling towards their peers. The American Psychological Association advises on its website that parents who may suspect that their own children may be engaging in bullying activities among their peers should carefully consider the examples which they themselves may be setting for their own children regarding how they typically interact with their own peers, colleagues, and children.

Prison Bullying

An environment known for bullying is a country’s prison service. An additional complication is the staff and their relationships with the inmates. Thus the following possible bullying scenarios are possible in Nigerian Prisons:

  • Inmate bullies inmate.
  • Staff bullies inmate.
  • Staff bullies staff.
  • Inmate bullies staff.

School Bullying

Bullying can occur in nearly any part in or around the school building. Though it may occur more frequently during physical education classes and activities such as recess; bullying also takes place in school hallways, bathrooms, on school buses and while waiting for buses, and in classes that require group work and/or after school activities.

Bullying in school sometimes consists of a group of students taking advantage of or isolating one student in particular and gaining the loyalty of bystanders who want to avoid becoming the next target. Bullying affects children both at school as well as in their homes. While bullying has no age limit, these bullies may taunt and tease their target before finally physically bullying them. Bystanders typically choose to either participate or watch, sometimes out of fear of becoming the next target.

Bullying can also be perpetrated by teachers and the school system itself; there is an inherent power differential in the system that can easily predispose to subtle or covert abuse (relational aggression or passive aggression), humiliation, or exclusion — even while maintaining overt commitments to anti-bullying policies.

Sexual Bullying

Sexual bullying is “any bullying behaviour, whether physical or non-physical, that is based on a person’s sexuality or gender. It is when sexuality or gender is used as a weapon by males or females towards others – although it is more commonly directed at females. It can be carried out to a person’s face, behind their back or through the use of technology.”

Trans Bullying

Trans bashing is the act of victimizing a person physically, sexually, or verbally because they are transgender or transsexual. Unlike gay bashing, it is committed because of the target’s actual or perceived gender identity, not sexual orientation.

Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying occurs when an employee experiences a persistent pattern of mistreatment from others in the workplace that causes harm. Workplace bullying can include such tactics as verbal, nonverbal, psychological, physical abuse and humiliation. This type of workplace aggression is particularly difficult because, unlike the typical forms of school bullying, workplace bullies often operate within the established rules and policies of their organization and their society. Bullying in the workplace is in the majority of cases reported as having been perpetrated by someone in authority over the target. However, bullies can also be peers, and occasionally can be subordinates. Research has also investigated the impact of the larger organizational context on bullying as well as the group-level processes that impact on the incidence, and maintenance of bullying behaviour. Bullying can be covert or overt. It may be missed by superiors or known by many throughout the organization. Negative effects are not limited to the targeted individuals, and may lead to a decline in employee morale and a change in organizational culture.

Academia Bullying

Bullying in academia is workplace bullying of scholars and staff in academia, especially places of higher education such as colleges and universities. It is believed to be common, although has not received as much attention from researchers as bullying in some other contexts. Bullying in the academia is perhaps responsible for the current agitation for the promulgation of law to curb sexual harassment in tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

Bullying in Blue Collar Jobs

Bullying has been identified as prominent in blue collar jobs, including on oil rigs and in mechanic shops and machine shops. It is thought that intimidation and fear of retribution cause decreased incident reports. In industry sectors dominated by males, typically of little education, where disclosure of incidents are seen as effeminate, reporting in the socioeconomic and cultural milieu of such industries would likely lead to a vicious circle. This is often used in combination with manipulation and coercion of facts to gain favour among higher-ranking managers.

Bullying in Information Technology

A culture of bullying is common in information technology, leading to high sickness rates, low morale, poor productivity, and high staff-turnover. Deadline-driven project work and stressed-out managers take their toll on IT workers.

Bullying in Legal Profession

Bullying in the legal profession is believed to be more common than in some other professions. It is believed that its adversarial, hierarchical tradition contributes towards this. Women, trainees and solicitors who have been qualified for five years or less are more impacted, as are ethnic minority lawyers and lesbian, gay and bisexual lawyers.

Bullying in Medicine

Bullying in the medical profession is common, particularly of student or trainee doctors and of nurses. It is thought that this is at least in part an outcome of conservative traditional hierarchical structures and teaching methods in the medical profession, which may result in a bullying cycle.

Bullying in Nursing

Even though The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives believes that all nursing personnel have the right to work in safe, non-abusive environments, bullying has been identified as being particularly prevalent in the nursing profession although the reasons are not clear. It is thought that relational aggression (psychological aspects of bullying such as gossiping and intimidation) are relevant. Relational aggression has been studied among girls but not so much among adult women.

Bullying in Teaching

School teachers are commonly the subject of bullying but they are also sometimes the originators of bullying within a school environment.

Bullying Generally

Bully as simply “forcing one’s way aggressively or by intimidation”, may generally apply to any life experience where one is motivated primarily by intimidation instead of by more positive goals, such as mutually shared interests and benefits. As such, any figure of authority or power who may use intimidation as a primary means of motivating others, such as a neighborhood “protection racket don”, a national dictator, a childhood ring-leader, a terrorist, a terrorist organization, a cult group or even a ruthless business CEO, could rightfully be referred to as a bully. According to psychologist Pauline Rennie-Peyton, we each face the possibility of being bullied in any phase of our lives.

The author Ben Shapiro claims that Liberals employ bullying to intimidate and silence their Conservative opponents in an ongoing culture war. The same scenario is playing out in Nigeria as the ruling APC is employing bully to intimidate and silence PDP opposition members, masquerading as anti-corruption war.

Impacts of Bullying

Bullying has a negative impact on everyone involved: the target, the bully and the bystanders.

Impact of Bullying on Victim

In the case of School Bullying, students who are bullied are more likely to:

  • Feel disconnected from school and not like school.
  • Have lower academic outcomes, including lower attendance and completion rates.
  • Lack quality friendships at school.
  • Display high levels of emotion that indicates vulnerability and low levels of resilience.
  • Be less well accepted by peers, avoid conflict and be socially withdrawn.
  • Have low self-esteem.
  • Have depression, anxiety, feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Have nightmares.
  • Feel wary or suspicious of others.
  • Have an increased risk of depression and substance abuse.
  • In extreme cases, have a higher risk of suicide, however, the reasons why a person may be at risk of suicide are extremely complicated.

Bullying Contributing Factors

Contributing factors to being bullied may include:

  • Depression
  • Family problems
  • History of trauma
  • Belonging to a minority group, where isolation or lack of community support is an issue.

Impacts on Perpetrators of Bully

Students who frequently bully others are more likely to:

  • Feel disconnected from school and dislike school
  • Get into fights, vandalise property and leave school early.

Recent Victorian research has shown that bullying perpetration in Year 10 is associated with an increased likelihood of theft, violent behaviour and binge drinking.

Impacts of Bullying on Bystanders

Students who witness bullying may:

  • Be reluctant to attend school
  • Feel fearful or powerless to act and guilty for not acting
  • Have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety
  • Have increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs.

Impacts of Bullying on Schools

When bullying continues and a school does not take action, the entire school climate and culture can be negatively affected. Bullying impacts on student learning and engagement, staff retention and satisfaction and parental confidence in the school; this can lead to:

  • The school developing an environment of fear and disrespect
  • Students experiencing difficulty learning
  • Students feeling insecure
  • Students disliking school
  • Students perceiving that teachers and staff have little control and don’t care about them.

Prevention

Bullying prevention is the collective effort to prevent, reduce, and stop bullying. Coping with bullying can be very difficult. First, understand that you are not the problem. The problem is the bully. Like everyone else in the school or neighbourhood, you have the same rights to everything, including freedom and safety. Doing nothing might suggest to him that there is no problem. Be very firm and say it straight to his face that you do not like what he does. Act brave.

Sometimes you can ignore him to let him know that you really do not care about his comments or insults to you.

Below are a few more tips that can help.

Avoid the Bully.
If you have to go to a place (bathroom, canteen, games room, locker room) where you may meet the bully, try going with a friend. Do not go alone. Try to make friends with those who use the bus, hallway or waiting room so you can move with them.

Stay Calm and Be Patient.
Bullies feel good when they are challenged or when you lose your temper. Ignore him and walk away. If he teases or laughs at you, try counting up to 10 slowly in your mind and head for the exit. This trick is great for temper control and you always come out stronger in the end.

Tell an Adult.
Adults like your teacher, parent, neighbour, or even older friend can help. They usually have good advice and ways of ending that bully’s activities.

Make Friends.
Bullies tend to pick on people who do things alone. Try and make friends with more than one person and try to move with them. There is always strength in numbers.

Look Out for Your Friends.
Yes, that is what real friends are for. If you see someone bullying another, you need to do something about it. There is a wise saying that goes “evil thrives when good people do nothing” If you feel you are strong enough to face him, you can tell him that what he is doing is wrong. Do not go and fight him, just make your point. You can also encourage the victim to report it and stand by him as a witness.

Remember that you should never do to others what you would not like others to do to you. This means you should stay well away from gangs and groups that gossip, laugh and kick others.

Bullying Prevention Tips for Parents
More than half of youths who are bullied fail to tell an adult about it. Parents have a role to ensure that schools and communities are safe and fair for their own children. This means helping the child to identify, reject, report or help another person being bullied is as important as training your child not to bully others.
Here are a few things parents can do.

 

    1. Communicate with Children
      Parents must find time to speak and get to know their Children. Talk to them every day about anything. Tell them how your day went and ask how they did. Tell them your problems and try to get them to offer suggestions to you. This way, you can also get them to open up and tell you their problems too. Most importantly, talk about bullying and the need to report it as soon as they identify one.

 

    1. Raise children to be Respectful and Helpful
      Right at an early age, parents must stress on the importance of good values. Teach them to respect their peers, be kind, resilient, and responsible for themselves and others, to know how their actions can affect others and so on. Help them to appreciate that personal success is not everything, but the ability to care for, help, contribute and make a positive impact in society is more important.

 

    1. Teach Children How to Respond to Bullying
      Parents must listen to their Children. Get them to be calm to tell the whole story. Let them know you are concerned. Try to develop a plan with them. Do not be too quick to jump into the school or confront the perpetrator’s parents. Offer simple solutions that will encourage him to work on the problem. Most importantly, keep a close eye on them and learn more about how they are improving or overcoming the problem.

 

    1. Work together with your Child’s School to Stop Bullying
      The idea of discussing bullying with school authorities can be overwhelming. But not working with them is worse. Try to be present at Parent–Teacher meetings to raise your concerns. Find out what the school policies are, and if there are anger, stress and emotional management classes for Children. Ask about how these classes are done. Ask about how support staff (e.g.. bus drivers and janitors) can help. Ask about how you can also help them to make the environment safe for every kid in the school.

 

  1. Cyber Bullying
    In this modern era, the internet, computers, and mobile phones are common ways of networking and having access to each other. But this also comes with a very serious threat. Bullies these days use the computers, internet and phones to:

    1. Send threats, taunting or teasing e-mails to you.
    2. Spread gossip or rumors.
    3. Impersonate (pretending to be someone) online to get you to
      e-mail things that will embarrass you or put people in trouble.
    4. Texting hurtful or rude comments to someone’s phone.

The Internet is virtual (that means it is not something tangible that you can touch). This encourages evildoers and bullies to remain anonymous to hurt others. Anyone at all (including the person that sits next to you in class or in your neighbourhood) can anonymously use the Internet to send you dirty, embarrassing and dangerous messages, and you will never know. This means we all need to be careful and vigilant.

If you think you are being bullied online, tell an adult immediately. These days, people can be identified and arrested.

Below are a few things you can also do:

  1. Avoid unsafe websites. If your dad or mum is watching your activities online, do not stop them. They are doing so to protect you.
  2. Don’t share personal information (email passwords and others) with someone you don’t know or don’t trust. Change your passwords often.
  3. Do not post your e-mail address on a public message board or in a chat room. Keep your email away from the public.
  4. Do not join, comment on funny things that people post online. Stay away from trouble. If you are not sure of something, get someone to read over before you post things online.


Do not Record or Take Photos of Bad Things

These days many young people have phones or computers or devices that can take photos or videos. These devices are all connected to the internet and very often people type, text, photograph, videotape and publish to their friends via the internet even before they get a chance to think of what they are sending and what that can do to them.

The danger is in Leaking. Leak means something gets out of your control without your permission and you have no way of getting it back.

Never text or type, take any photo or make a video of any silly thing, either of yourself or your friend, on any device. Once that is recorded, it can spread like wildfire because it is electronic content and can easily be shared by all. Sometimes it is not your intention to share it, but what if you lose your phone and a stranger gets hold of it, or a friend happens to see it on your computer, or your phone is hacked? If it gets viral (leaks onto the internet) it can never be controlled, and it can haunt you for the rest of your life!

Can you imagine what can happen if there is a video/photo or text going around with you or a friend in it, drunk, or naked, or in a boy-girl act, or in a situation that is very bad? How would you feel? How would your parents feel? How would you handle that?

This is why it is very important that you stay away from recording texts and photos and videos of yourself and others doing wrong or silly things in the first place.

Do Not Hurt Someone by Posting
Each time you want to post something (text, photo, video) onto your Facebook or Instagram or internet, think carefully about how that will affect you and others. Ask yourself:

  1. Is it fair to everyone?
  2. Is it descent?
  3. Are you proud of it?
  4. Will it hurt someone’s feeling?
  5. Will it damage someone’s reputation?
  6. Is it safe?

If you think this way, you are more likely to be safe and also, you will be helping to keep your friends safe.

You also have to encourage your friends to stay away from such behavior. Look out for your friends and ask them to do the same for you, but always remember that the best and safest way now, is that DO NOT text, photograph or videotape any incident of yourself or your friends that can get you into trouble.

NEED FOR NIGERIAN CROSS-CULTURAL COUNCIL ON SECURITY

Need for Nigerian Cross-Cultural Council on Security

The first priority of any government is to protect the safety and security of its citizens both at home and abroad. The Federal Government of Nigeria is constitutionally charged with protecting Nigerians and their communities, businesses and interests. The Federal Government is also responsible for developing policies and providing the necessary institutions, procedures, and strategies for ensuring public safety and emergency preparedness.

The preservation of national security is a multi-faceted endeavour that requires cooperation across a diverse range of initiatives and programmes. The Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) is responsible for coordinating work in counter-terrorism, critical infrastructure, cyber security and transportation security. The NSA is also envisaged to engage with Nigerian citizens to ensure that our country’s national security efforts reflect and benefit the interests of all communities.

Protecting our communities from the threat of terrorism is of the utmost importance to the Federal Government of Nigeria. Guided by Nigeria’s counter-terrorism strategy, the Office of the National Security Adviser coordinates efforts to align government activities according to the four elements that underpin the strategy aimed at preventing, detecting, denying and responding to terrorism.

The success of our counter-terrorism efforts depends on collaboration with all levels of government, including State and Local Governments, law enforcement agencies and civil society organizations. The renewed agitations among the various ethnic groups, proliferation of arms, inflow of illegal aliens, existence of small cells of terrorist groups, dwindling economy coupled with rising army of unemployed youth spell grave danger for the country.

In fact, one of the toughest jobs facing our national security agencies today is routing out Boko Haram and ISISL cells that may already be in place in several cities and towns of Nigeria. Evidence abound that Boko Haram and ISISL are making frantic efforts to affiliate and spread their tentacles across religious and cultural boundaries to destabilize nations and implement a radical form of Muslim Fundamentalism. They believe that they are on a mission from God to war against the infidels. Towards this end, these Islamic terrorist groups need not be underestimated; they can do anything, including procuring and supplying weapon of mass destruction (WMD), especially as they consider Nigeria their enemy. Be it known that they will continue their religious jihad against us as long as there is a breath of life in their bodies. Therefore, it would be foolish for Nigerians not to be extra vigilant and be prepared to response appropriately to any coordinated terrorist attacks against our nation.

It is therefore time for the Office of the National Security Adviser to create a Nigerian Cross-Cultural Council on Security (NCCS) in order to engage Nigerian community leaders on matters related to national security. The group should be designed to provide advice and perspectives to the relevant security agencies, focusing on emerging developments in national security and their impact on Nigeria’s diverse and pluralistic society.

The Federal Government of Nigeria should as a matter of urgency counter the spread – or proliferation – of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons by preventing the acquisition of related goods and technologies, advanced knowledge and expertise and financial support by illegal CBRN weapons proliferators. This advice is also necessary now in the face of rising agitations for autonomy by diverse groups.

Efforts must be intensified to prevent disruptions of critical infrastructure which could result in catastrophic loss of life or adverse economic effects, and significantly undermine the safety and wellbeing of Nigerian communities. The Federal Government of Nigeria must work with partners to strengthen the resilience of Nigeria’s vital assets and systems such as our electricity grids, transportation, communications and public safety systems.

In order to embrace the full advantages of cyberspace, Nigeria must guard against those who would attack our digital infrastructure to undermine our national security, economic prosperity and quality of life. Towards this end, the Federal Government of Nigeria must work closely with domestic and international partners as part of the global effort to protect critical assets and information and combat cyber crime.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has created a clear authority for government institutions to share national security-relevant information with other designated ministries, departments and agencies that have national security responsibilities.  This must be made more functional and effective to allow for faster access to critical information when swift action is required, while respecting Nigerians’ security and privacy.

A system of alerting the citizenry of possible risk of terrorist attacks must be put in place. That is, a dedicated functional communication and information disseminated advisory structure is needed now to inform Nigerians of the levels of risk of terrorist attacks at any point in time, as is obtainable in the US.