This generation sees Port Harcourt as a city of fear. No day passes without one hearing about ritual killings and rivalry clashes by cult members
Port Harcourt, known to many as the Garden City, and to many others as the city of enjoyment, is today a sad story to tell. Many generations past relived the wonderful experiences of the good days they lived in Port Harcourt .
Today, this generation sees Port Harcourt as a city of insecurity, fear, kidnappings and cult activities.
No day passes without one hearing over a dozen radio stations littered all over the state about ritual killings and rivalry clashes by cult members.
As our plane touched down in the city, one had expected to see a brand new airport. Instead, what I saw on the ground was an unfinished project that speaks of what jaundiced politics can do.
The way politics is being played in Rivers State does not augur well for any progressive development in the state without the assistance of the federal government.
As we stepped out of the arrival hall, a “sea” of heads enveloped the open space, these were young men and ladies scrambling for passengers to convey to their various destinations across the state.
Their aggressiveness told the story of survival in a harsh economy.
To every sensitive security analyst, the airport situation in any area gives a better idea of what the state would look like.
It is at the airport that you know if the residents are disciplined and have the fear of God in them, when items like bags and luggage are misplaced, and they are graciously returned, then you know the people are disciplined.
On the other hand, security personnel are also assessed from their activities at the airport. When they shamelessly demand and collect bribe from passengers. The first nauseating scene was along Airport Road, around Omademe, Omudiogha, Elele, Ozuaha, Ubima and Omerelu communities, where youths were seen smoking hard drugs like marijuana and other narcotic stuff. This writer was informed that some unscrupulous security personnel often provide a safe haven for these smokers who eventually attack passengers along the road.
It was observed that, where the youths were not involved in criminality and cultism, all they indulged was in illegal refining of crude oil.
This illegal trade of bunkering and refining has become a veritable pastime, which is very engaging and lucrative for the operators. It was gathered that most brand new cars on the road driven by young men were bought from the proceeds of illegal refineries scattered all over the state.
When the youth are not engrossed in illegal refinery activities, they are being recruited as political thugs or they act as kidnappers. In most communities like Diobu-D-line Government estate, Elekahia estate built by the government, Omudiogha, Elele, Ozuaha, Rumuekini and Alakahia, cult activities and robbery are rife.
It was very worrisome when the name of a former militant leader was mentioned as one of the second class traditional rulers in the administration of Governor Nyesom Wike. This is even more pathetic when there are calls for the overhauling of the traditional institution, which is being infiltrated by men of low esteem. One hopes that the wisdom in crowning an ex-militant as a traditional ruler would be seen as hanging a bone on the dog for safety.
The police is under the command of Mr. Zaki Ahmed, who is on record to have been posted to Rivers State since March 8, 2017, from Bauchi, a strategic and experienced operational officer. He is known to have drastically reduced the activities of criminals in the state. This notwithstanding, allowing a security officer to overstay on his beat could be very dangerous and compromising as this could have negative effects on his efficiency. There is one noticeable flaw in the security apparatus in the state, which is training and re-training of personnel and supervision, which is obviously lacking. No wonder the police commissioner completely forgot that he was a man under authority when he openly advised the Vice President in an address to reconsider his stand on his directive to the police to restructure the Special Anti-Robbery Squad ( SARS). He was quoted as saying, “It is not advisable to throw away the water with the baby without considering the good value of the baby.”
Ahmed the commissioner of police in Rivers State has thus shown that he is against the presidential directive to restructure SARS. Stories were told of the good, the bad and ugly activities of SARS members in the state. So heinous were their activities that even members of the public all over the country applauded the presidential directive. It is, therefore, rather unfortunate to hear a commissioner of police making a case for the SARS. Since his transfer to Rivers, the commissioner cannot deny that he has not be informed of the atrocities of some SARS operatives. The question is, how many of such erring members of SARS have been punished by him? Part of what is expected in the restructuring directive was to fish out the bad eggs from the squad. One, therefore, thinks that if the commissioner is not comfortable with the presidential directive, he should as well take a bow out of the police system, instead of using his position to attack, denigrate and scorn a presidential directive.
In all, the forthcoming political campaign towards the election may after all be another litmus test for all the security agencies in their readiness to stem the tide of cultism, political thuggery and killings in the state. One also commends the bond and the synergy among all the security agencies. It is heartwarming to hear of their operational cooperation, which one hopes would also transcend into stemming the activities of criminals around the state. One sure way of blocking all the illegal routes of importing firearms is by carrying along members of the public in whatever security activities in the state.
READ ALSO: 2 killed in Rivers cult war
Shark Dance at Tin-Can Island Port (1)
It is not always that sharks are seen around a seaport. Nor do people see a shark dance in the daytime without a purpose. In fact, study shows that sharks only dance (wiggle) when there is a prey in sight. Sharks ruffle the water before attacking prey, no wonder the Comptroller-General of Customs’ recent posting posting of M.B.A. Musa as the Controller of Tin-Can Island speaks volumes to many stakeholders operating at the port.
Recent developments at the Tin-Can port have vividly shown that the Customs is not only there to execute a hidden agenda but to stifle the economic activities of major stakeholders at the ports. This is not acceptable and should be viewed as the revised part of economic sabotage on an ethnic grouping. A visit to all the ports in Lagos shows that a particular ethnic group is at the receiving end of every policy recently churned out by the Customs. To many economic observers, the ‘Shark Dance’ at the seaports can be likened to the Python Dance on the land in the South-East part of the country.
(To be continued)