Youths drawn from the four clans of Ebubu, Onne, Ekporo and Eteo that make up Odido axis in Eleme Local Government Area have resolved to tackle the rising insecurity in the area.
The youths under the aegis of Odido Youth Forum who came up with the resolution at the end of a one-day workshop held at Ekara Town Hall, Onne decried the rising insecurity in the communities in Odido regretting that it is chasing away people and investors.
They also observed that the high rate of unemployment amongst youths in the area has become an issue of great concern for the people.
In a welcome address presented by Chanwi-Chu Obarinee, Secretary, Odido Youth Forum, he said the essence of the gathering was to review the level of moral, infrastructural and economic decadence of Odido land and also the migration of people from the area.
“So, we deemed it necessary to call this congress of Odido Youths for us to come together in unity and savage this insecurity that has been responsible for these and also to take stock and assess how Odido as an ethnic nationality has fared in politics, education, capacity building, infrastructural development, management of our common resources including what comes in the council and the numerous companies which Odido plays host to”.
He disclosed that the theme of the seminar is: “The insecurity in Odido land, perceived causes and the way forward”, adding that, from findings the causes of the vices can be traced to youth restiveness which in turn leads to cultism, prostitution, drug abuse and political thuggery.
In his speech at the event, Hon. Engr. Onungwe Teri-Chidi, Councillor representing Ebubu Ward condemned the high rate of insecurity and other negative social issues affecting growth of the communities in Odido and called for the sensitization of the youths on how to tackle and reduce the menace.
He observed that the meeting was summoned after several complaints from the people on insecurity and the deplorable state of things, stressing that it was necessary for all to come together to agree on a way forward. At the end of the session the youths came up with far-reaching resolutions to help tackle the menace of insecurity ravaging the communities of Odido and agreed to reconvene soon to re-examine the issues.
In an interview with Inside Eleme, Hon, Engr. Onungwe, who doubles as the Committee Chairman, youths, sports, education and community relations in the Eleme Legislative Assembly said the essence of the meeting was to address matters affecting the community, adding that the rising insecurity in the area was chasing people away from Odido land to other local government areas where security is tight.
He observed that the high rate of unemployment amongst the youths was at the root of the insecurity in Odido land, insisting that when the youths are not engaged meaningfully and gainfully, they become easy tool for criminality.
“When the youths don’t have handwork or jobs it will lead them into stealing and other crimes because like they said, ‘an idol man is the devil’s workshop’. So that has been the main reason why things are turning the way they are”.
Speaking on the perceived cry against the marginalization of the Odidos by their Nchia brothers, he advised that though the Odido people feel marginalized, they can always strike a balance since according to him, life is all about give and take.
“It’s all about understanding each other, not minding the minority and majority syndrome; they should know that they are all from one ethnic group”.
He opined that the answer to addressing the insecurity in Odido and Eleme at large is for the youths of the area to be recognized and carried along in the scheme of things.
“We thank God for giving the Odido youths forum a right direction to follow. This has been my agitation for the youths in this forum and I have tried to make it clear that Odido youths, Nchia and also the central youth body should be recognized in whatever the community is doing, in order to engender harmony, love and peace in the Community.
He advised the youths to embrace peace as according to him, no meaningful development can take place in an atmosphere of rancor and instability.
His words: “The youths in Eleme should do away with vices such as cultism, kidnapping, rape, stealing and killings of their fellow brothers. This evil perpetrated in our communities is driving away investors to other peaceful areas and it is not good for us”.
On his part, President of Odido Youths Forum, Comrade Sunday Sakanwi in an interview corroborated the views of other speakers at the event noting that insecurity in the area is fueled by unemployment, and called on the government and corporate bodies in the area to assist in providing job opportunities for the youths.
Hear him: “When job opportunities are not there in the community, it might lead the youths into cultism, prostitution, drug abuse and political thuggery”.
According to him, most of the leaders we have today are the ones behind the insecurity in the area because when job opportunities open up, they reserve it for themselves and families. So, how do you expect the youths to cope without having any daily or monthly income in their hands? So the leaders should try and do something about the situation faced by the youths”.
Also in an interview with the P.R.O. of Odido Youth Forum, Comrade Alfred Tem-Ollor, he said the government should create jobs opportunities to enable them stop involvement in violence.
Hear him: “Unemployment is one thing that brings atrocity in the society for example, if the youths don’t have any handwork or something that can keep them busy, it will create room to initiate them into evil acts such as robbery, cultism, stealing, rape and other things”.
He frowned at a situation that since the inception of Eleme Youth Council no Odido youth has been selected as the president, adding that even if they have vice, the vice will not be vibrant.
“We have been silenced for years, we want the leaders to look into it and put us in our right position. That is why we have gathered here today to carry out this peaceful protest without war and also for the people to hear our voices”.
Furthermore, he said stakeholders should do their job very well by knowing the numbers of persons that are due for employment and endeavour to provide them jobs. “We have so many companies around us, so the stakeholders should organize a meeting to know how many chances are reserved for the indigenes and when to fix in the new ones, by so doing, cultism and every other vices will stop”.
He urged the youths and people of Odido community to return back home and live in peace, saying that, they should not allow politicians to use them to achieve their selfish aims. He said most of politicians are the ones arming the youths with guns and after buying them guns to achieve their aims, they turn around and abandon them.