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.
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THE ROLES OF BUSINESS IN PREVENTING VIOLENCE IN ELEME

images1Manish Mundra, MD, INDORAMA EPCLmgbeteEPCLEPCL1THE ROLES OF BUSINESS IN PREVENTING VIOLENCE IN ELEME

This article attempts to consider the appropriate role of the profit-making free enterprise system in helping to alleviate the causes of cultism and other violent crimes in Eleme.

The free enterprise system is a crucial element in any programme for improving conditions in any society. Eleme as host to over 200 multinational and national corporations has been described variously. Some authorities have christened Eleme as “The Industrial Hub of Nigeria”, some referred to Eleme as “The Capital of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas”, and while officially Eleme is known as “The Heart of Nigeria’s Economy”. Yet the primary problems of Eleme over the years have been chronic unemployment and underemployment, especially among the youths.

Agreed, Nigeria is a middle income, mixed economy and emerging market, with expanding financial, service, communications, technology, and entertainment sectors; but oil and gas remains the mainstay of the economy and still accounts for more than 90% of GNP. In 2014, Nigeria ranked as the largest economy in Africa and 21st largest in the world in terms of nominal GDP. This disclosure explained the contributions of private sector to Nigeria’s national economic development.

The concept that the private sector be involved in overcoming the challenges of poverty and crisis in urban and rural areas is not new. The civilized world testified to its potency in solving the problems of crimes and social decay. It is called “Private-Public-Partnership”. A partnership between the government and private industry to train and hire the hard-core unemployed persons helped solved American Whites and Negroes employment dichotomy, bridged the gap in their standard of living, and eliminated the falsehood and flimsy excuse that the Negroes are unemployable. It can also work in Eleme.

“Business and industry are our last hope”, said Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, the eminent Negro Psychologist and Educator. “They are the most realistic elements of our society. Other areas in our society – government, education, churches, labor – have defaulted in dealing with Negro problems”. These problems range from segregation, discrimination, slums, poverty to violence. The situation in Eleme today is no different. The crisis in Eleme is a result of nearly 60 years of inequities. The conditions that breed despair and violence in Eleme (in addition to the above) include ignorance, deprivation, poverty, unemployment capped with unending environmental devastation. The marginalization and subjugation of the hapless people of Eleme is enough to force the impatient youths to carry arms. Eleme suffers both local and national oppression. The Eleme people are not Negroes but in reality, we share almost the same experiences and problems due to our powerlessness and disadvantaged position, as minority-of-the-minorities endowed with abundance natural resources. Eleme is oil rich but deeply impoverished area.

The cult clashes and other violence crimes going on in Eleme today is an outbreak of a longtime suppressed anger against perceived abuse orchestrated by oppressive and exploitative maneuverings by business and industry operating in Eleme on one hand and the corrupt Nigeria government on the other hand. People naturally need decent lives, freedom of self-discovery, and not a kind of a forced all-good white-washed behavior. Poverty, rights infringement, frustration, cultural dislocation, social-economic marginalization, religious alienation, and environmental degradation are salient crimes that generate salient violence.

Unfortunately, Eleme and Eleme people are complicit in the whole episode. Eleme’s definition of “Host Community” is the most obsolete, myopic, and self-centered in the whole world; and this has always been to the advantage of corporate organizations. Our “Host Community” by definition is always limited to immediate family or two, exempting all other members of the larger Eleme community. We are blinded to the fact that it is the entire Eleme community at large that bears the brute of environmental pollution and social decay that arise from the company’s activities in Eleme.

The segregation and discrimination inherent in our concept of “Host Community” makes mockery of Eleme when considered from the backdrop that the population of Eleme indigenes is less than 200,000 people. “The smaller the size of the ‘community’ the better”, a Public Relations Manager of one of the companies in Eleme told me in a chat recently. Penny Wise Pound Foolish!

The private sector has the capacity to make a solid contribution that can address the ongoing violence in Eleme. Some of the areas in which they can contribute include:

  1. Job Training and Employment.
  2. Economic Development.
  3. Promotion of Entrepreneurship Culture.
  4. Provision of Low-Cost Housing.
  5. Education.
  6. Value Reorientation.
  1. Job Training and Employment Companies desirous of solving the security challenges facing Eleme could hire the so-called “hard-core” unemployed, and engage them in “on-the-job-training. The aim is not only to keep these youths off the streets but also to give them skill, make them earn a living, and equip them to be employable in the future. This deliberate policy to make the hard-core unemployables to become employable persons is economically viable and socially honorable compare to a situation where companies employ these persons and lay them off after sometimes without giving them skill or improving their educational standard to make them employable elsewhere. It is a disservice to the nation and also dangerous precedent when these persons that have been receiving monthly salary are rendered redundant without alternatives with which to move on in life. Another bad scenario that most companies operating in Eleme are guilty of is to place these youths on monthly salary, called “security fee”, for doing nothing. Experience has shown that once the payment is stopped, they take to arms to terrorize both their previous benefactor – the company – and the society; because they are neither useful to the company, nor to the society, nor to themselves.On the job training provides someone with what to fallback to after employment.
  2. Economic Development This involves corporate organizations creating a sort of “Eleme Economic Development Programme”, a joint central body to pull resources together to extend loans to indigenes to venture into viable businesses.Companies can also embark on infrastructural development such as roads construction, building and equipping of hospitals to render wholistic health services, provision of safe water and electricity among others.
  3. Promotion of Entrepreneurship Culture In order to develop and support the needed managerial capabilities in Eleme a number of small business programmes can be conceived and established, and loan programme made available to help institutionalized entrepreneurship culture in the area. This programme should be designed to enable companies: a. Participation with private lending institutions, b.Provide necessary guarantee for private loans, and c. Offer counseling and managerial assistance to grow and sustain the enterprise.
  4. Provision of Low-Cost Housing Poor housing is a major problem in Eleme. It is shameful to state that in oil-rich-Eleme people still live in Mud-Thatch Houses, with poor sanitary conditions. Companies can carry out joint ventures with public housing authority to construct low-income houses for Eleme citizens. This is more productive and beneficial than dishing-out cash on quarterly basis to people who only end up lavishing the money recklessly, with little or nothing to show for it.
  5. Education Education is a powerful instrument of socialization and individual refinement. Education is power. Eleme need education now and not further deprivations. Business and industry in Eleme will be creating a peaceful and stable society when they sponsor the provision of basic literary and mathematical skills training to their own disadvantaged employees and where necessary, to those of other companies.
  6. Value Reorientation Companies can act as institution of value reorientation and attitudinal change through the elimination of corrupt practices and exhibition of exemplary lifestyle. Eleme, a once disciplined and highly cultural society have been bastardized by the activities of some personnel of these companies. They indoctrinate our youths with money and questionable lifestyles. Their behavioural influences dictate social direction in Eleme. Therefore, the companies have an important role to play to ensure attitudinal change.   

 

Finally, companies can as well create a joint local clearinghouse groups to exchange experience gained with employment of “hard-core” unemployed and with investment in poverty alleviation. This will open up opportunities to those who are marginalized or restricted by the ill-conceived definition of host community, and eliminate all barriers to their choice of jobs, education, and housing.

All hands must be on desk to remove the frustration of powerlessness among the disadvantaged people of Eleme by providing the means for them to deal with the problems that affects their own lives.

INTELLIGENCE COLLECTION DISCIPLINES

Intelligence Collection Disciplines

Security is a fundamental objective of all states. The Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1990 (as amended) states that the primary aim of Government is security. To support that search for security, all nations use intelligence, to one degree or another, to enhance decision making. Intelligence therefore is concerned with the collection, analysis, production, communication and utilization of information about potential hostile states, groups, individuals, and activities. When intelligence services fail to provide the necessary ingredients for decision-makers to make informed-decisions, then something is wrong. One earliest outstanding feature of a failing state is the failure of its intelligence system.

There are several methods of collecting intelligence. Each method of intelligence collection is an intelligence discipline. These disciplines are generally categorized into Human Intelligence Collection (HUMINT) and Technical Intelligence Collection (TECHINT). Present Nigeria’s intelligence services can be described as far from being global in operations and structure. Even our regional and national intelligence interests are limited in almost all dimensions. Nigeria’s Military departments or departments of government responsible for the provision of intelligence required for military forces and their operations required urgent reorganization to keep up with the changing times. The same is applicable to all agencies responsible for collecting, analyzing, producing and communicating intelligence about domestic threats to security. Nigeria is fast growing and other states have their eyes on Nigeria. Nations around the world are not only competing on the socio-economic scales, but have perfected the art of turning disgruntled citizens of opponent nation against themselves to gain some real advantage over the enemy nation by accessing its secrets or destabilizing its internal systems . Therefore, our intelligence collection operations must be modernized, in depth, penetrating and extensive.

The following are the different ways of collecting intelligence known as intelligence disciplines:

1.     HUMINT

Human intelligence refers to information collected by intelligence officers. It involves the use of spies and requires men and women who know both the language and culture of the area to which they are assigned, who are comfortable living double life and can develop secure ways to exchange information in a manner that will not compromise the person providing it.

2.     TECHINT

Technical Intelligence initially means information about weapons systems but now it is used to refer to intelligence collected from the interception of a variety of electronic signals by the use of sophisticated technical means. Techint developed in response to three particular scientific and engineering advances namely: Development of wire-based electronic communications; Development of wireless electronic communications and Development of Aeroplane.

3.     SIGINT

Signal intelligence refers to all kinds of information collected through various electronic devices, including the following sub-disciplines:

4.     IMINT

Imagery intelligence means any photographic or digital images collected by orbiting (satellite) or ground-based (aeroplanes or unmanned Ariel Vehicles) systems.

5.     PHOTINT

Photographic intelligence was the earliest term for imagery intelligence used widely to describe both film and digital photographs taken from satellites.

6.     COMINT

Communication Intelligence refers to the interception of communications between two or more parties.

7.     TELINT

Telemetry Intelligence is the interception of data transmitted during the testing of various kinds of weapons systems.

8.     ELINT

Electronic Intelligence entails the interception of electronic emissions emanating from weapons and tracking systems.

9.     MASINT

Measures and Signatures Intelligence is a more recent form of SIGINT using more sophisticated device that can sense material used in various types of modern weapons.

10.RADINT

Radar Intelligence is concerned with information derived from the use of radar signals emanating from overhead satellites, aircrafts, or from ground-based sources.

11.      OSINT

Open Source Intelligence is the collection of intelligence information from a wide variety of publicly available sources (media, scholarly publications, government information and so on).

Let us conclude this discuss with a quote from the book, “The Art of War” by The Chinese General Sun Tzu (500 BC) as translated by Lionel Giles.

“What enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strive and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge. Now this foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits; it cannot be obtained inductively from experience, nor by any deductive calculation. Knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions can only be obtained from other men. Therefore, enlightened rulers and good generals who are able to obtain intelligent agents as spies are certain for great achievements.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear a hundred battles. If you know youself and not the enemy, for every victory you will suffer a defeat. If you know neither yourself nor the enemy, you are a fool and will meet defeat in every battle”.ollorwi.images

INSECURITY IN EBUBU: WIKE DEMOLISH TRAILER PARK NOW

Insecurity in Ebubu: Wike, Demolish Trailer Park Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NGO Sensitizes Students on Security

NGO Sensitizes Students on Security

A Non-Governmental Organization, Eleme Research Foundation has sensitized students of the Comprehensive High School, Alesa, Eleme on the need to be security conscious. The President of the Foundation, Chief Osaro Ollorwi tasked the students and teachers on the need to be conversant with their environment in order to detect and report strange persons and objects to their teachers or School management for prompt action before disaster hits. He also urged them to be conscious of the friends they keep, among others.

The body which works in collaboration with Red Cross Society of Nigeria, Pan-African Liberation International Incorporated, Cyber Action Team and Nigerian Institute of Security also enlightened the students on the evils meted to individuals through the Internet and advised them to be cautious while chatting and browsing on the Internet. Members of the team include Chief Osaro Ollorwi, President, Hon. Anthony Ogosu, Ogundu Godson Chibunkem, Godwin Stephen, Emmanuel Peters and Mrs. Patience Chinwi.

The Principal, Senior Secondary Section of Comprehensive High School, Alesa, Mr. Amadi Johnson Chinedu who was elated at the presence of the team thanked them for taking time to visit the School to carry out such sensitization campaign. He urged the team to keep the campaign on and extend it to Churches, Communities, etc.

In an interview with reporters, the Principal, Mr. Chinedu who stressed on the importance of being security conscious mentioned some challenges faced by the School. In his words, “the School has no gate; no security man to monitor those who come in the go out; the place is porous; we are faced with perennial flooding and the buildings need urgent renovation”.

He said despite the limited funding, the School management have been able to construct a makeshift bridge for the students as a result of flooding; we have also fixed protectors on the windows to ensure safety of School properties among others.

He also called on the Government both al the local and state levels to come to the aid of the School to ensure that the challenges are taken care of. He said they have written series of letters to the Rivers State School Management Board, Rivers State Ministry of Education, yet nothing has been done.

ImageImageImageto Chinedu, “we have also written to Alesa, the host community, and companies like INDORAMA Eleme Petrochemicals Company Limited, NNPC, PPMC, etc. but we have not gotten any response.

Also in an interview with newsmen, President of the Eleme Research Foundation and Leader of the Team, Chief Osaro Ollorwi, said one of their objectives is to sensitize the citizenry on the importance of direct participation in security of their lives and property. He said they are moving from School to School to sensitize both students and teachers; and intend to extend to Churches, Mosques, Markets, Community Based Organizations, NGOs and all sectors of the society with the aim of preaching the gospel of security consciousness.

He advised the Students and Teachers to know their neighbours, know their friends, and importantly, know the friend of their friend among others, so as not to be victimized or be connected with crime ignorantly. He finally enjoined them to call the attention of security agents when they notice strange faces or movements or objects including parked cars around their vicinity.

Cultism in Eleme: The Way Forward

ImageCULTISM IN ELEME: THE WAY FORWARD

  

INTRODUCTION

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

 

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

 

Of the five categories of cults in Nigeria namely: classical confraternities, mafia cults, female cults, godfathers’ cults and terrorists’ cults, two are present and operational in Ebubu. These are godfather’s cults and terrorist’s cults. Godfatherism is fast growing secret cult in Eleme, especially with the approach of elections. The godfathers lure these innocent youths with drugs and monetary inducement and further promises to shield them, give them political appointments and huge monetary rewards which usually turn out to be ruse.

 

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

 

The chiefs and elders’ attempt to use “Ogbe” to control arms bearing and other violent crimes failed due to high level of insincerity displaced by the traditional rulers, Chiefs and Elders. The fear by some of these chiefs that their family may be victimized due to their complexity in the cult crisis necessitated the quick removal of the “Ogbe”. And the secret revocation of the “Ogbe”, brought about the collapsed of traditional authority as things felled apart. However, efforts were marshaled by few traditional rulers who were at home with the assistant of the Executive Chairman of Eleme Local Government Council, Hon. Oji N. Ngofa to use intelligence and law enforcement resources to control these youths, which yielded positive results and provided the platform for the majority of the Traditional Rulers, Chiefs and Elders on self-exile to return home.

 

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

 

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

 

CAUSES OF CULTISM IN EBUBU

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

 

1.      Intermittent Communal Crises between Eleme and Okrika

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

 

2.      Chieftaincy Tussle and Acrimony among the Chiefs

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

 

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

 

3.      Rivalry among Youths’ Body

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

                                                

 

 

4.       Social Decay

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

 

5.      Unemployment

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

 

6.      Illiteracy

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

 

7.      Desperate Politicians

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

 

8.      Laxity on the Parts of Law Enforcement

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

 

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

 

9.      Drug Abuse and Addiction

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

 

10.       Arms Proliferations

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

 

 

11. Influx of Displaced Waterfronts’ Residents

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

 

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

 

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

 

Conclusion

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Ebubu Requests for Police Post

The people of Ebubu in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State of Nigeria have called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to establish a Police Post to check rising cases of cultism, armed robbery, rapping and other crimes in the area. In a letter to the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, the Traditional Rulers, Chiefs, and Elders pointed to the recent rival cult clashes in the area which left several people dead and disrupted the socio-economic life of Ebubu for almost two months.  

The letter reads in part, “The Traditional Rulers, Chiefs and Elders of Ebubu met yesterday over the cult crisis that left many people dead and the social and economic life of Ebubu disrupted and resolved to request for permanent Police presence in the area”.

They noted that the ad-hoc arrangements of drafting in the police during emergencies have failed to check emerging security challenges in the area, stressing that the distance between the Eleme Divisional Police Headquarters in Ogale Nchia and the Nonwa Police Station in Tai Local Government Area “is so much that these criminals capitalized on it to perpetuating their crimes”. The presence of security’s red spot like the Trailer Park in Ejamah Ebubu, its proximity to other emerging criminals breeding centers like Onne Port (FOT Junction), Eleme New Town in Ogale, and AP in Alesa, combined to put so much pressure on the existing security resources in Ebubu thus the urgent need for permanent police post in the area.

“We also wish to point out that the former Ebubu Health Center is vacant. The Center has also been inspected and found suitable by the former Eleme Police DPO, Mr. Fienyobo Sinclair earlier this year and was donated for use by the force”, the letter explained.

It is also evident that the traditional rulers, chiefs, elders, and elites of Ebubu have made former physical presentation of their demands to the Rivers State Deputy Commissioner of Police in Port Harcourt yet nothing positive have come out.

It is very unfortunate that such an important request that bears on the peace and security of a people has received no attention. The continue delay, silence and inaction of the Rivers State Police authority on this issue calls for concern by all well-meaning people of Ebubu and Eleme.

The provision of security is the sole responsibility of the Government and not traditional rulers that are neither recognized nor paid nor empowered through whatever means by the Government to execute security functions.

Having provided adequate accommodation and agreed to cooperate with law enforcement authorities, it is the opinion of the custodians of the people’s culture and tradition that if their request is granted the rising cases of insecurity in Ebubu will be checked and lasting peace will return to the area.