(By Paul Bazia)-Ikwere and Emohua Local Government Areas of Rivers State have been in the news for very wrong reasons lately. The kidnapping and robbery cases are beyond the ordinary.
When it happens, all we do is start the blame game. The opposition will attack the State Government, the Government will blame the opposition, the people will blame the security agencies- especially the Police.
Blame games don’t solve the problem. Those concerned must accept responsibility first before working out ways to change the trend.
The big question is: how did we get here as a people? Growing up as a little boy in Rivers State, you could know the people within your environment what people do for a living.
Children were seen to belong to the community, and it was the responsibility of the members of community to train every child. Children were then seen to be the mirror of their families and the way a child behaved outside was seen as a reflection of his upbringing.
OUR FAMILIES HAVE FAILED.
As parents your son came home for Christmas with a Lexus 350 and you go to Church for thanksgiving without first asking how he got the money? You see a young man whose last paid job was as commercial bus conductor come home with an exotic car, goes to clubs and buys Black label like pure water.
Growing up, I saw a young man who was a Supervisory Councilor in a local government in Rivers State in the 1990s, ended his tenure with just a Rechargeable Radio and his friends mocked him as a failure.
If you mock a politician for not stealing, what do you expect? Today we have sets of politicians who are in politics solely for personal gains and not for the good of the society.
The family has failed in its duty to instill good morals in children in their early days. We are therefore what our families have made us to be.
Parents are too busy making a living, that children are sent to day care, left with nannies. Will you blame them? Times are hard, they have bills to pay. Is that all that is to life?
OUR RELIGIOUS BODIES NEED TO DO MORE
I know that every one will be judged by the lights revealed to him. The high level of ungodliness in our society today makes it hard to understand if people still believe what they are thought in worship places any more. We need soul searching to determine whether people now go to religious gathering for fun or the miracle?.
Scriptures enjoin believers to seek first the Kingdom of God and it’s righteousness then all other things shall be added but today we go to Church for the extras , not the main thing. The fear of God has taken the back seat. If not how do explain the kidnap of full bus load of persons- not once, not twice for ransom, by our people?
OUR COMMUNITIES HAVE FAILED TOO.
The young men who carry out these criminal activities live with us. We are Africans; we are our brother’s keepers. When we notice deviant behaviour in other people’s children, we say what is my business? When the boy grows up and begins to kidnap people, it will be your business.
OUR community leaders and youths should be able to know when unwholesome activities are going on in their domain and report same to security personnel. If they kidnap people from other places and keep them in your community and you keep quiet because the victims are not your people, they will some day kidnap you and your people and send them to other communities. It is important that we act today to prevent that day from coming.
THE GOVERNMENT HAS EQUALLY FAILED
It is the responsibility of the Government to secure lives and properties. This does not start and end with a strong police force or military.
I attended public schools all my life. Children from the rich and famous families attended the same schools with kids of the not so rich. You benefit from them, Since they could afford to buy all the recommended books, those who could not afford borrowed from them, as they studied together but the story is no longer the same today. Children of the rich and famous go to private schools while others go to public schools with decayed infrastructure, poorly motivated teaching staff.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has been on strike for some time now and the politicians are busy with campaigns. The children are out of school and some of them will join in campaigns, but after the campaigns, what next?
Federal Government did a needs assessment of the University System and realized that over a trillion naira was required to improve the system. Then President Goodluck Jonathan promised that Government will inject 230 billion naira into the system yearly and paid part of the first tranche of 200 billion, but 30 billion has been outstanding for that tranche till today. ASSU is presently on strike and the students are idle. The ladies will hustle money for grades- prostitution is not out of it, while the guys can be thugs, or steal, or even kidnap to buy grades when ASSU finally ends the strike and lecture resumes.
If the Government fails in it’s duty to provide quality education for her citizens irrespective of the circumstances of their birth, what do you expect ? multiplication of deviants!
When the students go through the hurdles of education, they end up on the streets without jobs. Will you blame them if they are not employable? No. Our educational system is not wired to train us to create jobs.
When you learn a trade, getting access to capital to start is story for another day. If you manage to start, lack of power supply make you over spend. You are left with little or nothing as profit, yet you have bills to pay.
A government that can not provide basic education and medical care at all levels, I mean will end up having citizens that believe they owe government no responsibility. If you provide water for yourself, provide your own security, send your kids to private schools and fuel your generator have you not become a government of your own?
To fight insecurity, government must look inwards by providing the basics like education, health care, electricity, roads and water, not forgetting job creation or conducive environment for business to thrive.
Finally, security is everyone’s business. Those who are happy with the growing insecurity in any part of the country or in Rivers State because of political reasons must reconsider because politics will come and go but our state and nation is all we have. Running away does not solve the problem; let us join hands with who ever God places over us per time to make our society better.
It would be recalled that the killing of the leader of Ahoada- West legislative Assembly, Ekele Fyneface Chikobi Cohen (EFCC) on Thursday on his way back from political campaigns in Port Harcourt has sparked so much outrage in the state that Governor Nyesom Wike has vowed to work with security operatives to ensure that his killers are apprehended.
Paul Bazia is a Port Harcourt based commentator on current affairs.