CULT CRISIS IN EBUBU: CARETAKER COMMITTEE TO THE
Following the drastic measures adopted by the Executive Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area, Hon. Oji N. Ngofa on the lingering cult crisis in Ebubu Clan, which has cost the area ten lives, by summoning stakeholders for crucial meeting a Caretaker Committee has been constituted to check cult crisis and bring lasting peace to the area.
The meeting which held in the instances of the Council Chairman with the chiefs, elders, youths, opinion leaders and other stakeholders of Ebubu Clan and lasted for two days made heart tootling revelations centering on lapses on the part of both the traditional rulership and youth leadership in the clan. While advising the chiefs to take their responsibilities concerning maintenance of law and order at the grassroots seriously, the meeting noted that the abandoning of strategic decisions by the chiefs at crucial periods to avert problems contributed to fuelling the cult crisis.
As a way forward, after due consultation, the Council Chairman constituted a Caretaker Committee headed by Comrade Atoseobari Ojinga (Egbalor). Other members of the committee include: Trust Nkporon (Egbalor), Charles Bebe (Agbeta) Sunday Chichi (Agbeta), John Oguru (Ejamah), William Adanta (Ejamah), James oluka (Obolo), and Dabour Levi (Obolo). The committee which has one year life span is charged with the responsibilities of:
1. Liaising with appropriate law enforcement agencies to mop up arms in youths’ possession in the clan;
2. Ensuring lasting peace among the youths in Ebubu Clan;
3. Producing a Constitution to guide youth activities in Ebubu; and
4. Plan for a credible Ebubu Youth Council election.
Meanwhile, the Ebubu Council of Traditional Rulers, Chiefs and Elders has suspended the Paramount Ruler of Ebubu Clan, His Royal Highness εmεrε Emmanuel Osaroeke Bebe and in his place appointed Chief Isaac Osaro Agbara as Chairman Ebubu Council of Traditional Rulers, Chiefs and Elders with a mandate to henceforth convene all meetings of the Council and run its affairs until normalcy returns to the area, “to avoid the repetition of Gioko experience” said כnε εh Odido VIII, Paramount Ruler of Odido Kingdom, His Royal Highness εmεrε Obarinwite Nchimonwi.
The decision which was taken at the second burial of late Chief Oluka Nwafor was subsequently ratified by His Royal Majesty King Dr. S. O. Ejire, כnε εh Eleme X, King of Elemeland.
In the meantime, the various cult groups have started to turn in their arms. According to the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee, Comrade Atoseobari Ojinga, “the various cult groups are responding to the directive to submit their weapons. On Thursday, the cult groups from Agbeta returned their weapons – guns and ammunition – while Friday saw cultists from Egbalor doing the same. The response has been very encouraging and I am happy to say that there is relative peace in Ebubu now”.
Professor N. E. S. Lale expressed confidence in the Caretaker Committee headed by Atoseobari Ojinga to deliver on the assignment, stressing that Comrade Ojinga is an experienced and tested youth leader. He also commended the Council Chairman, Hon. Oji N. Ngofa for his concern for the Ebubu crisis, observing that “Eleme people have never had it so good, with his style of leadership”.
It is now the duty of the various stakeholders in Ebubu Clan to avoid a repetition of the ugly experience of the past which led to breakdown of law and order, and work towards ensuring lasting peace in the area. This, they could do by constantly and continuously monitoring the Caretaker Committee and calling them to order whenever they are derailing. The chiefs on their part are also advised to institute an effective and efficient peer review mechanism to prevent what might be detrimental to the fragile peace in the area.
The Rivers State Government should also consider the request of the chiefs, elders and opinion leaders of Ebubu Clan concerning establishing a Police Post in the area. Considering the rapid industrialization that is taking place in the area and uncontrollable influx of people from various parts of the world and the country into Ebubu Eleme the request for a police station in the area is not out of place but a priority. Police presence is a good deterrent.
While appreciating the efforts of the Council Chairman to checkmate the menace of cultism in Ebubu in particular and Eleme in general, it is pertinent to call on all concerned stakeholders to ensure that the passion and zeal demonstrated this two days (Monday 11th and Wednesday 13th March, 2013) in the course of searching for workable solutions to the problems of cultism is not abandoned midway as that will be more disastrous.
It is also important to call on the Government to consider addressing those long term factors that gave rise to cultism in the area such as illiteracy, unemployment, and frustration in addition to the short term solutions being implemented.