Chimenem B. Worlu is the current Youth President of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State. In this session with EDITH CHUKU he expressed displeasure over the indictment suffered by Obio/Akpor Youths, the alarming cult killings, security challenges, unemployment in the LGA, among several other issues.
Youths have set Obio/Akpor on fire, Obio/Akpor is boiling, cult killings, robbery, kidnapping, pocket picking, crime, almost in every Obio/Akpor community. What is the problem?
Hmmmm. It's indeed a heart breaking scenario of deep concern, but the first thing I want to ask is who are these youths? The ones perpetrating these crimes, who are they? Where are they from? If I must borrow your word, boiling, who is cooking these bitter evil? What is their anger? Who aggrieved them? What measures did they receive that is worth taking human lives? Who are the ones perpetrating this evil? How are they linked to the various local governments and communities that they are keeping awake at night? Obio/Akpor communities are not left out of this crisis that is rocking the state but the truth is, those committing these evil are not even from the local government. Obio/Akpor youths are not involved, there is no connection, I can boldly tell you that Obio/Akpor youths are not the ones perpetrating these evils; 75 per cent of the crimes committed is not by Obio/Akpor youths. Check the recent killing in Choba, those involved are from different areas.
So, can you then tell us who these criminals are?
That question should be directed to the police, the security authorities, direct that to the government whose duty it is to secure our lives and properties. Go to Rumuokoro, Mile one, none of these hoodlums are from Obio/Akpor, investigate. It's so sad that the “no street trading” enforced by the government is like the usual paper tiger practice in Nigeria or better still mouth tiger, the state government has said there should be no street trading, there are agencies saddled with the responsibilities of ensuring that this order is strictly adhered to. But go to Rumuodara, go to tank, you can't drive freely, go to Igwuruta market, all these are contributing to aide these criminals to achieve their evil goals. If you are being pursued by hoodlums and you are driving, or even while you are trying to drive through the congested road, someone can just open your car and do whatever pleases him, take whatever he wants and leave without stress. Why? Because this is gradually becoming a jungle battle, survival of the fittest, it is bad, Rivers state, Obio/Akpor was not known for this. The governor should reinforce, security agencies should reinforce, operation no street trading should be strictly adhered to. Even the traders have blocked their ears because of money, a trailer or vehicle can just fail break and God forbid.
The question yet unanswered is who supplies arms to these guys, who sponsors their operations, who are their informants?
The security agencies should also react to that; they should have findings from their investigations and quickly get the culprits to curb this situation because it's spreading faster than ever.
Are you not in support of the assertion that these guys idol mind is a contributing factor to their criminal activities?
Well, the level of criminality and cultism in the state and Obio/Akpor in particular, to me, is not as a result of lack of job opportunities, it's not, I am a youth, being the Obio/Akpor youth president cannot make me fold my hands, am a civil engineer, practicing as a building engineer, I stand under the sun doing pegging, it's not about having a job or not, skill, talent is what pays more, I have friends from this state who are both skilled and unskilled so it's not lack of job, it's mindset, anyone that is corruption free, is corruption free. God will surely visit them.
Does that mean the rate of unemployment in the state is not a misnomer?
No, that is not even close to what I just said, the issue of unemployment lies on both government and companies, it's very sad that companies in Rivers state have no regard for indigenes, there are many multinational companies in Obio/Akpor, yet Rivers state youths are jobless while others are utilizing their talents, skills. Governor Wike should do something. Local government chairman should do something; they should address these issues. We don't need money or commission from any of these companies, just give us jobs, introduce skills, open opportunity for employment. The local content law from National Assembly gave us right for employment; every community where we have companies, our people should be employed. Apart from the companies and government, we are so unfortunate to have self centered CLOs in some of these companies who are CDC chairmen and chiefs. They are the reason behind this too.
You assumed office as the youth president of Obio/Akpor for some months now, so tell us, what are you bringing in?
My major project right now is the skill acquisition programme for Obio/Akpor youths. Each community is to send two representatives for this training, a friend will always say, do not invest on your children by buying and keeping properties for them, make them entrepreneurs. So in the youth arm, I want to change their mindset, they should acquire skills. A committee has already been set, each community has two slots, the programme is fully packed, no one in attendance will go back the same, I can assure you.