Famed security expert, and Secretary, Ebubu Council of Chiefs, Chief Osaro Ollorwi in this interview x-rays the causes of the high level of insecurity in Eleme. He submitted that the only way out of the malady is to go back to our African system of belief which regards spilling of blood as a taboo. He also spoke on other issues. Excerpts:
Inside Eleme: Good afternoon Sir, please for the benefit of our readers, can we know your name and position in Eleme local government area?
Chief Ollorwi: I am Chief Osaro Ollorwi, I am the Secretary of Ebubu Council of Chiefs and by the grace of God, I am a Security Expert and the Managing Director, Globis Consultancy and Management Consulting Firm based here in Eleme.
Inside Eleme: As a Security Expert, what is the professional approach to tackle the rate of insecurity in Eleme, especially the cultism and kidnapping happening often?
Chief Ollorwi: Security as we know is everybody’s responsibility. Security as a social phenomenon within a system known as community, local government, state, nation or world in general, entails people seeing their own protection and safety as important and adopting acceptable measures to ensure that this safety is guaranteed and relative peace is maintained. And so security is something that if we are looking at it, we should look at it from the wider perspective because something or so many things do give rise to insecurity. Insecurity or security is not a science that you can put in a bottle and begin to measure, but there are certain parameters to know if there is security in this environment or not, today we can boldly say that, there are wide spread insecurity in Eleme because of the happenings around us. Today we can put the issues of kidnapping, the issues of armed robbery, the issues of rape, killing and all sort of deviant behaviors.
This arises from social decay, when the system has decayed or the society has decayed, you should expect such things. This decay arises out of certain things, certain elements, take for instance, in Eleme, the rate of education in Eleme is very low and where there is a very low education standard, you should expect insecurity, now the level of unemployment among the youths of working age is very high, by the time you add the number of those underemployed that are working in those institutions that are below their personal standard, if you look at all this things you will begin to see the high number of youths that can easily be recruited for any evil act or to perpetrate any evil at any time. Now again if you look at Eleme, Eleme is a land that you can describe as a land of milk and honey, just like the land of Canaan. In such land that is flowing with milk and honey, the inhabitants of that land don’t have access to those milk and honey and because they don’t have access, the few of their leaders both traditional, religious, political and social that have access to this milk and honey see it as a responsibility to put the less privilege under control and it is the quest or process of the less privileged to pull himself out of the control, that you will see so many manifestations.
Again they are put under this control so they can easily use them, for instance in Eleme just as it is in other communities in Nigeria, you will see religious leaders going with these boys as their protectors, going with these security agents, you will see traditional leaders having all these boys around because of the level of decay in the society and this decay is coming from somewhere not only decay but something must lead to a social decay, now the political leaders also use these boys because in Nigeria, it is believed that power is all you need, that once you have power, you will have wealth, you will have connections, you will have fame, you will have status, you will have everything you can think of, and whatever you do to get that power, does not concern anybody, all what everybody needs is, have you gotten the power, and one of the ways of getting this power is to use this underprivileged boys to grab that power and once this power is gotten, the same boys that they have used in getting the power will be abandoned and be pushed to the street. They can no longer get to the man that used them; they can no longer associate with their age mates so they constitute a gang by gathering themselves. They will arrange themselves and call themselves street boys, you see the street, they will take it as their own columns, as their own territory and anybody who crosses or passes on the street will be a victim.
Whether you are a religious leader, a traditional leader or politicians, no matter any area you find yourself, they will now see you as a part of their problem so they will want to victimize you, street boys maintaining the their territory within the large society, and even when the political leader call them, they will not listen, the only time they can listen to the political leader is when the political leaders has given them N500,000 or One million naira to go and share. They share it within themselves and fight and they will also go back to the street. The money is not given to empower them, it is given to them to destroy them, and these young ones don’t know because the situation they find themselves is not their making. They were frustrated into it, and so they now depend on drugs, they believe they take consolation from drugs because they cannot meet up their social needs because they have been used and dumped by the politicians, by those who are supposed to protect them, by the people who are supposed to give them future, by people who are supposed to train them up and give them scholarships by those who are supposed to empower them, these people are not helping the youths to acquire skills but they are giving them drugs and arms, this is the situations we are having in Eleme today.
Inside Eleme: How can the people of Eleme handle the forthcoming election considering the crises that normally come up with election?
Chief Ollorwi: Yes, election is not suppose to come with crises, but election is a system that can be best defined as a way by which we choose the best leaders and give the best office to lead, but we have turned the process of election to a violence organized way that, it is the survivor of the fittest all over the country. It is just a thing for the most powerful, the most strongest, how many killers can you mobilize, what is the degree of violence can you put together in the society, election is not supposed to be so, it is supposed to be a very peaceful process that people are expected to choose their own leaders but in Nigeria, and Eleme for example is derived from the national level, the West wanted to drag power and they resulted to violence, it was that time the (OPC) Oduduwa Peoples’ Congress and other groups in the West unleashed terror in the society and power was handed over to Obasanjo, just to make peace, just to calm down violence, now other religions of the country came to realize that, the only way to grab this power is through violence, it was then we begin to hear the emergence of Boko Haram, the entire North East and environs was put into crises and that crises was so strong in all the days of former President Goodluck, he was managing that crises and himself through the same process of violence after the death of Yar’dua, the Niger Delta Volunteer Forces became very strong and they were bombing everywhere and it was agreed that Jonathan should go just for the purpose that oil will keep running in our pipeline.
That was how Jonathan became president through violence and Jonathan said instead of the country to burst, because the violence was very high even before the elections, result was announced, and so the same thing is applicable in Eleme at the local level and at the state level, what is the degree of violence you can mobilize, but it is not supposed to be so. I advised politicians to go back to the drawing board and we should begin to learn the principles of the democracy, we know that in so many year of military rules, it militarized the entire system and our psych was turned, but since the Civil War in 1970 we have passed through so many years and we are supposed to go back to our African way of thinking. An African man hates blood, the African man has honour, dignity and respect for human life, the African man loves his neighbours, the African have the communal interest but because of our quest for power at all cost, we have lost the value, the value now appear to be lost but it is still recoverable, so our politician needs to know that politics is a game of society leaders and once we have set it as a game of selecting leaders, we should play it by the rules, every game have a rule, maybe in Nigeria our politics is not played according to the rule. So my prayers and my appeal in this coming election, this 2019 election is that we should prepare for it and we should try to play it according to the rules, so that people can see the benefit of democracy.
Inside Eleme: Please Sir, can we know the rules you are referring to?
Chief Ollorwi: Election should allow people to exercise their power, it is the people that have the power so they should choose who to give the power truly without violence, without intimidation, without any harm, the enabling environment should be created so that people will come out and vote and not a situation where people are afraid to come out, people are disfranchise they are not allowed to exercise their franchise as Nigerians. In accordance with the Constitution, looking at the summary of the contents of the Constitution in a way that will not be beneficiary to us, while the summary of Nigerian Constitution is to benefit all, the primary aim of government is security and welfare of the people but our government are not keeping to that principle to ensure security and welfare of the people. So, if I am coming out with my voter card to vote, I will be secured and when I vote, my vote should count, but in today’s elections, voters are not allowed to vote and votes does not count, in most cases results are already prepared before people starts to vote, you will see that, as people are still on the line trying to vote, results are been announced. In a situation like that, people will not have confidence in the system. Now, you can see so many political parties, what happened during their primaries, if you look at it, how democratic was it, because once the foundation is faulty or the process of a faulty foundation, it must surely collapse, so we should allow free and fair election, we should allow the people to freely choose their leaders, you don’t stay in Abuja and choose a leader for Eleme people, it is wrong because the person you are choosing is going to rule the people and not you in Abuja. We should look at how people will benefit from our leadership ways, so as to encourage the people to come out and vote but on election days, you will see people going to farm, because many people don’t want to receive gun shots or bullet injuries because there will be no body to take care of them so because of that many people are afraid because of past experiences. So, we are pleading with politicians that, they should play the game in a peaceful and in nice procedure, so that the end product will be acceptable to all.
Inside Eleme: How can we tackle the rising rate of insecurity in Eleme?
Chief Ollorwi: Eleme today is fast growing into a metropolitan city, Eleme comprises of 10 Wards. As you know, these 10 Wards are packaged together in a cluster, there is so much gap within them and when you have a metropolitan city like Eleme where people from all area of life come in on daily bases seeking for greener pasture, they are coming in, and so many criminals are coming with them, do you know that destruction of the waterfront in Port Harcourt actually imparted Eleme negatively because most of the criminals from the waterfronts ended up at Trailer Park in Ebubu, AP in Alesa and so many other communities around Eleme, now Eleme today is a community that people you don’t know comes in, some communities once a stranger comes in, they will notice but that is not applicable in Eleme Local Government because there is no laid down procedure to identify who comes in, some Landlords don’t even know who comes into their compound or where the person coming in works or do for a living before giving out their house, that is why some people house is just a centre for criminals just because the Landlord don’t care. Now the traditional rulers who are supposed to be the custodian of the culture and tradition of the people have now forgotten their responsibility. There is a great gap in Eleme today between the culture and traditions with our traditional rulers because people see the traditional stools today as an institution of power and go for it not minding what is required from the person that occupies such a seat. Now when you don’t know the duties of your office, you cannot execute responsibilities, like one of our great musician (Fela) usually say, he said: “In Britain, their culture is their teacher, in Japan their culture is their teacher, in UK, their culture is their teacher, who is the teacher of Eleme institutions when our culture have been bastardised, who is supposed to direct us, it is our culture. The British House has written constitutions but they are guided by their culture, Eleme we don’t have a culture as at today, our culture has died, so there is nothing to check or do that can contribute highly to the lever of insecurity in the land, yesterday because of the lost culture in Eleme, nobody could go and steal your plantain before because the culture will hold the person (thief) responsible even when nobody sees him, the culture sees him but today even plantain that is planted in your house, they will cut it in your presence with gun pointing at your face, now who are the people to revive this culture, this are the duties of our traditional rulers. Now let us look at the aspect of the youths, the youths like I said have taken to the culture of violence, children now talk to their father and mother in a way or language of violence, you can see the five years old boy or girl carrying out high level of violence. I don’t know if you watch children when they play, most of their play this days is violence, their dance are violent, their songs that they sing is violence, the music they like listening to is violence, everything around them is violence, if you play videos film that does not carry out violence, the average child in Eleme today sees it like not important, so violence have gone in built in us, now the availability of arms, where does the arms usually comes from, that is where we need to ask our politicians questions, arms are not procured with (N5) Five naira, most of this youths bearing arms cannot afford even the ammunition, but they have this arms, they have the ammunitions, and if the police people recover one of those arms from this bad boys, this boys will bring out two tomorrow. Have our security agents taken time to investigate the source of this arms, now even when the criminals are arrested, do our security agents take time to investigate, or the investigation will be based on how much you can pay, so investigation is now monetized and as soon as that money is paid case closed, now that person is released into the system again, and the person that brings the information that led to his arrest will begin to face dangers of his life because it is the same security agents that will expose him (the person that brought the information), that this is the man who told us about you, you know we don’t know you, now what will you say about this or how do you see all this things, that man or woman that bought the information is already in danger because the next visit, they will visit the person will be to eliminate the person and now if you look at our security agents, they are not working in synergy, their activities are not coordinated, the police operate separately from an arm in the police force that is called the eagle team, the SSS operate separately from the Army because of the exercise of superiority, this arm is superior, this arm is also superior, so by the time they come together to device a centre strategy because their goal is the security of the people, the security agents don’t meet to get to strategize a means of handling security issues, if they get security information, do they share it between themselves because if security agents share security information among themselves, the rate of insecurity will be reduced.
Inside Eleme: What is your final word of advice for the people of Eleme?
Chief Ollorwi: My final word of advice is to the security agents, they should work together, they need to partner with each other, the police also should partner with the youths and the youths should always be observant of people coming into the community because unfortunately for the youths today, they are very mindful of their politicians and so in most cases they (the politicians) choose those that are loyal to them, irrespective of security check, security check are not carry out, such sensitive positions should entails security checks even before somebody occupies a position of a traditional ruler, during the selection of traditional rulers government as an institution responsible for the security and welfare of the people should conduct security check on who is coming into political office, but we don’t even conduct security check, but if it is in the position of INEC to do that, INEC is to tell the Police, SSS to carve out security check on this persons before we can clear him or her, but that is not done, the only check they do is to monetize the check, and now when you monetize everything at the end of the day, insecurity will increase, now the youths, both the elders, security agents and stakeholders should come together. Eleme is long overdue for an Eleme Security Stakeholders Conference, it is long overdue for all the stakeholders to come together to look at the security challenges in Eleme and begin to device means to tackle it because without security, there will never be any development, development cannot take place in a violent environment, an environment that is insecure, an environment that is decayed, development cannot take place or grow in a troubled environment but development grows in environment of peace, in environment of stability, in environment that people come together to think of the way forward.