Fighting Insecurity can breed Insecurity
By Samuel O. Onungwe
17th June 2021 witnessed the inauguration of the new government at the grassroots across the 23 local government areas of Rivers State. At Eleme Local Government Area, the people overwhelmingly voted the former youth leader and caretaker chairman in the person of Emere Hon. Obarilomate Ollor. Coincidentally, that was the day the age long Mmubete Bridge along the Eleme section of the East-West suffered another subsidence. On his return from his swearing-in at the Government House, Port Harcourt, the perennial neglect of Eleme people despite their friendly disposition to the several multinational companies on the land, which continually generates billions of Naira to the federal and state governments. Hon. Ollor was moved to declare a 14 day ultimatum to the Sen. Akpabio’s ministry of Niger Delta which is saddled with the responsibility of fixing the road. Although, the decision of the LGA chairman to sponsor Eleme youth to that effect has been stayed, the need to urgently remodel and rebuild the road cannot be overemphasized.
Insecurity is the bane of development as no significant achievement can be made in a society fraught with insecurity. It is beyond doubt that the duty of the government is to protect life and property. Hence, the Rivers State government took a decisive decision to raze unapproved shanties and markets at the end of a stipulated time after a supposed thorough analysis of security reports at its disposal. This proactive measure by the Rivers State government whenever there is threat to security and breach of peace is commendable.
At Eleme Local Government Area, keying into the vision of the His Excellency Governor Nyesom Wike, the Eleme LG boss, Emere Hon. Obarilomate Ollor has reiterated his resolve to beef up security in the land. Eleme residents except those at Akpajo having suffered years of untold insecurity which culminated in the massive kidnap, armed robbery and eventual relocation of many from Eleme land to the nearby Obio Akpor, Port Harcourt, Okrika and Oyigbo local government areas. These displaced residents understand the value and need for peace and security. Little wonder, the entire Eleme people and responsible residents are fully in solidarity with the new LG administration in consolidating on the gains of the immediate past administration of Barr. P. W. Okparaji Ph.D who invested in the fight against insecurity through conventional and community policing and now the safe haven of criminal and centres of criminality is being demolished to completely purge the entire LGA of social vices which until now discouraged investors from trouping to this choice destination. This action of the third tier of government will lessen the burdens being faced by men and women who in spite of the gigantic architectural edifices built on spacious land have been forced to be squatters in strange land not so befitting as their homeland. They would pay huge sum of money as rents and complementary fees for sanitation and security yet those areas lack adequate space for waste water disposal, wash their cars, and cater for children recreational needs in the compound let alone provide space for gardening and laundry needs as common at Eleme. This is one of the major reasons Elemes are never shy to support the current administration which has since its inception has moved from total dependence on physical measures to adopt double therapy approach otherwise known as combination therapy. Eleme recently, witnessed electoral ward to ward cleansing as the people led by the LG boss, traditional rulers and eminent men and women of God handed over the entire Eleme land to God Almighty to liberate Elemes and residents from the shackles of paucity and social vices in the midst of prosperity having mobilized all and sundry to the designated venues.
This demolition exercise saw the fall of the renowned trailer park market and the notorious Achara shrine. Also, demolished were the unapproved Mmmubete abattoir, Aleto and the outlawed manufacturing outlets and mechanic workshops along the Eleme section of the East-West road. The displaced suspected criminals having lost their dens to the demolition exercise would expectedly move into the neighbourhood to lease houses. Consequently, the LG boss has cautioned landlords from renting out or leasing their estates to men of questionable character as he advised that the landlords or caretakers should ensure that only accredited persons were offered accommodation. To fortify the place for peaceful coexistence, he promised to set up vigilante groups with men of integrity who would collaborate with the Police authorities and other security agents to secure the Eleme territory. And with a sense of responsibility, the LG chairman, then called on criminals willing to turn a new leaf to approach him for rehabilitation and reintegration into the society.
But like every coin which has both sides, the demolition was never devoid of complaints as some residents have argued that their assets which did not fall into the category of things earmarked for demolition were erroneously destroyed to their surprise. Those which got to the ear of chairman who is always filled with compassion have been assured some relief in order to get resettled peacefully. Another resident who identified himself as a family man, member of the ruling PDP and a jobless doctoral scholar at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka has also, reported that his building was mistakenly destroyed and appealed for help.
From the foregoing, it could be seen that the demolition was never flawless as many people who had until now were self employed have been pushed out of business which remarkably had taken years to build following the short notice given to them. The few days of notice be it weeks, cannot be said to be adequate to properly communicate to customers and properly relocate for a hitch free continuity of an established business. At a time when government at all tiers find it difficult to provide jobs for the teaming populace in the labour market having spent fortunes in the higher institutions and satisfied the compulsory NYSC scheme as well as adequately compensate retirees, one has to be cautious in carrying out such demolitions. This is hinged on the fact that many have been pushed into streets to face the biting of the sun and the beating of the rain despite being bread winners and benefactors to their friends and relatives. Ordinarily, one would think that the government would have considered adequately policing areas along the Aleto section of the East-West road where small and medium scale manufacturing of metal doors, windows and gates, Mmubete abattoir until an industrial park is setup possibly at the boundary area of Agbonchia/Ogale versus Oyigbo and of course a modern abattoir set up before the demolition. Echieta Nchia at present is highly congested and the need to establish an international market around the trailer park axis cannot be overemphasized. An Eleme adage tells us that, good and evil work hand in hand and it could be recalled that despite the criminal activities at trailer park, over the years it has become a computer village at Eleme serving those in the Rivers South East senatorial zone and parts of Rivers East zone. At a time when the only way into the senatorial zone seems to be the failed Eleme section of the East-West road coupled with the heavy vehicular traffic around the Indorama and Mmubete area, we must count our losses as well as our gains as regards to the demolition. Who does not know that trailer park area also, served the purpose of automobile clinic to the motorists among others? Who does not know that trailer park area served as terminal to board vehicle to the neighbouring Uyo and Eket cities? Who does not know that the Eleme LGA generated some revenue from the merchants doing business there? It is therefore, an opinion that whenever such occasion comes up, the wheat should be painstakingly sieved from the chaff otherwise; it would amount to throwing away the baby with the bath water. Members of the ‘opposition’ are hereby, called to duty for without constructive criticism development may be one sided.