Personal Security in Present Day Eleme: A Paper Presented to the Youths of the Redeemed Church of God, Aleto Eleme by Osaro Ollorwi on Monday 12th May, 2019
Before delving into the rudiments of personal security let us briefly describe insecurity; thereafter examine what security is, its origin, the importance of personal security in present day Eleme and conclude by advising ourselves on friendship selection and some qualities of true and lasting friendship.
What is Insecurity?
Insecurity is the tendency to feel fearful, anxious, unsafe, and apprehensive regarding present or future situations or circumstances.
On the other hand, the philosophy of security is concerned and associated with assets protection, crime prevention and loss prevention. The time and space met for this lecture will not permit us to go into the rudimentary process of explaining assets, crime and loss in security. It is assumed that we all have the basic knowledge of all these security terminologies.
Origin of Security
The origin of security has always been traced to the Holy Bible. The entire Christian Bible is concerned with the following:
a. How God protected Believers’ lives and properties yesterday;
b. How He is protecting them today; and
c. How He planned to protect them tomorrow and in eternity.
In the beginning God revealed the essence of security. He kept Adam and Eve and their family in a secured environment with all protective measures put in place – in the Garden of Eden. Adam and his family were only required to observe the basic security measures by obeying simple instructions and keeping themselves and properties out of harms’ way. But, this reliable security arrangement was breached when the mole inside allowed the enemy access, which resulted in deceit, lies, criminal conspiracy, and murder.
The cumulative consequences of the above include:
1. Separation of God from Adam;
2. Ejection of Adam and Eve from the beautiful Garden of Eden;
3. Withdrawal of security from Adam and his family;
4. Exposure of Adam and his family to varied security threats;
5. Assassination of Abel by his brother Cain, an abomination;
6. Cain did not only became a criminal at large, he declared wanted and death penalty pronounced on him; and
7. Crime, violence and loss became institutionalised in the society.
The aim of God for taking man and putting him in the Garden of Eden to work (develop) it and take care of (protect) it; Gen. 2:15 was defeated. The thief stole their peace and shattered their security; he brought envy and bitterness into the family, killed Abel, pursued Cain into exile and destroyed the first family, John 10:10. Let us heed the warning to “Be alert, be on the watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. ” 1 Peter 5:8.
Situation on Ground in Eleme
For some time now, the mass media have been agog with horrifying news of cold-blooded murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, and sundry crime-related reports. These mind-bogging news items that we are constantly bombarded with are the sad reflections of our daily experiences as a people, so much so that citizens and residents awaits each day with some replicated, unsure whether the next day would meet them alive.
The police on its part operating with limited manpower, technology and other vital resources are finding it very difficult to protect the citizens and residents. Every year, violence ends the lives of thousands of young people across the State. Their families are left to cope with the loss of a life barely lived and to face the future over-shadowed by violence.
The military regiment in Eleme is stack in-between delving into pure police duties or performing its core constitutional functions; thus slowing them down each time they swift into action. The military are not trained for policing, neither are they equipped for crowd or traffic control. Providing “aids to civil authority” when called upon to do so temporarily doesn’t make them law enforcement agency.
The dart of real-time information is not only reducing the competency of our troops but also rendering them handicap. Unfortunately, it appears the criminals have more real-time information than our security agencies courtesy citizens and residents whom the security agents are working tirelessly to protect.
The terrain is unknown to the security operatives coupled with the absence of streets name, unidentified roads and other undefined landmarks across Eleme.
Guns in Eleme
The dastardly killing of over 40 people between 2013 and first quarter of 2019 by cultists and the daily unlashing of mayhem on the communities by these hoodlums speaks volumes of how much we are trapped in the whirlpool of violence. It will be improper to name the victims of cult-violence in recent times in Eleme. But, these people are not supposed to die untimely. These youths whose parents work very hard to support their families are not supposed to wind up in body bags with their parents, relations and friends weeping over a tragedy that is too great and too final ever to overcome. Nor, are many of our youngsters supposed to endure their adolescence choking on the guilt and desire for revenge that comes when you watch your brother shot down by a cultist.
There are no more wars in Eleme or between Eleme and any of its neighbours. It is guns now. The number and sophistication of handguns in Eleme has doubled. Our youths too often resolve their trivial arguments by shooting one another to death. Often, the victims and the perpetrators are too young to even realize that death is not a television stunt – to be done and undone in a twinkling.
Despite the high level of poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, ignorance, underdevelopment, and above all, ungodliness in the area, it is estimated that over 500 of local and foreign made handguns are now in circulation in Eleme.
The key word here is “circulation”. Guns don’t stay where their owners put them. They exchange hands. Our youths know where to get these guns and they brag openly how easy guns are to be obtained. They borrow guns, steal guns, or buy guns for paltry sum. Statistics confirm that young people in Eleme have no trouble obtaining guns; and they carry more sophisticated arms than even the police. Thus, in Eleme, as in many Nigerian cities, a bloodbath is drowning thousands of young men who are supposed to live good productive lives – long lives.
It is for these reasons that the government, the police and those concerned with security have made the clarion call to the civil populace to assist the police with relevant timely information to check crimes and to apprehend criminals.
This message is no less important as we gather to discuss ways of obviating the menace of cultism, violence, armed robbery, kidnapping and other life-threatening crimes. Cult violence related crimes have indeed graduated from a tumour to a full-blown cancer in Eleme; and it is only the experts who can cure our society of the scourge of cultism. Cultism is a public health problem that is fast decimating a generation of our youths.
Cultism, Women and HIV/AIDS in Eleme
Apart from the mind-bogging cult-related violent deaths in Eleme, the impact of cultism on women and future of Eleme is worrisome.
Women play both active and passive roles in cult activities and they suffer the most from cult violence. They are the mothers, aunties, sisters and daughters as well as initiates of these cultists and cult groups respectively who are trapped in an unending web of cult violence. Their roles depends on who they are to an individual cultist or cult group but many involve supplying of information, provision of food, ordinances, ferry of weapons across boundaries, and leading of special operations.
Women are also agents of Cult-Initiations. Cult groups are known to have sex with young women in turns as part of their initiation. That accounts for a renowned medical doctor in Eleme saying that Eleme is on the verge of extinction. He estimated HIV/AIDS prevalence in Eleme to be far above Rivers State average of 15.5 per cent. He lamented that if nothing is done and quickly too, in the near future the population of Eleme will be highly depleted.
Although, women remain a minority of street cultists and perpetrators of cult violence, they increasingly suffer the greatest harm. They are faced with specific and devastating forms of sexual violence; they are the first to be affected by infrastructure breakdown as they struggle to keep families together and care for the wounded; and many are forced to turn to sexual exploitation in order to survive and support their families. What next?
Managing Personal Security in Eleme
Personal security management is assessing the security risks around you, developing strategies to prevent or mitigate threats that can harm you, your family and property. Some of these threats are cult or terrorist attacks, kidnapping, robbery, rape, fires or break-ins. It is also concerned with designing emergency response plans should these events occur; assessing programme effectiveness and familiarity with the acceptable security protocol.
Knowing Dangerous People
The first step to managing personal security is to know dangerous people. It is not easy to learn how to spot a dangerous person. You need to learn to listen to and trust your instincts when something a stranger says or does makes you feel as if you are at risk of harm. Dangerous men exhibit behaviours that communicate their belief that they are justified in what they do. In addition a dangerous man can have absolutely no intention of harming you physically, but in other ways be it emotionally, sexually or criminally.
Understand Risky and Dangerous Actions
Listen to your instincts and learn how to spot a dangerous person. Dangerous people look just as normal as people who are not a threat to you or others. Their danger to you does not have to include physical danger. They can be a threat financially, spiritually, emotionally, or sexually. Control is an example of danger sign. If someone wants control over you, mentally, economically or emotionally, this is a warning sign. Also, beware of lies being used to gain dominance.
Walk away or push the person away if his physical actions or verbal communications tell you he is dangerous to you. Even though society has taught you to be polite and accommodating, when someone is dangerous and you are picking up on this, you can be rude as you rebuff his advances.
Also, act proactively when you are out at night. If you are walking through a parking garage or down a dark street, have your keys interlaced between your fingers in a tight grip should you encounter a man you don't know. If a man is following you, look for an open business so you can seek help. If you carry mace, make sure to have the kind that does not freeze in cold climates.
Personal Security: Helping Yourself and Family 1
Work with your family, in your neighbourhood, and in your community.
Work with your family, in your neighbourhood, and in your community.
Recognize that violence has many causes. Some are immediate, e.g.:
a. A specific argument,
b. Easy availability of a weapon,
c. A situation in which an aggressor thinks violence will bring quick rewards,
d. An anger that sees no other outlet.
Some are less direct for example:
a. A community tolerance of high violence levels, reinforced by:
1. Violence in news and entertainment media. Some are
2. Individual inability to see another way to settle disagreements
3. Peer pressure that measures or boosts self-esteem through violence.
Personal Security: Helping Yourself and Family 11
1. Make yourself, family and things safer from violence a priority.
2. Work with your own children, with other kids you care about, and with teens and adults you care about to reduce the risk that you or someone you love will fall victim to violence. In other words:
a. Children should learn not to hit, kick, or bite.
b. Children must know the real consequences of violent events and entertainment.
c. Teach children how else a conflict might have been settled, what the angry person might have done instead, what unseen or unspoken consequences violence might have.
d. Let children lay out their thoughts about violence. This helps them learn how to think through this and other issues.
e. Encourage your child to approach you about a real or possible danger. You may be a neighbour, an aunt or uncle, or a grown-up who happens to be nearby. Suddenly a child comes to tell you something is wrong. How can you handle it helpfully?
f. If the child has found a weapon or a possible weapon or describes some other immediate danger; go to the scene at once, if you’re not putting yourself at risk.
g. Children should avoid name-calling and teasing. These can easily get out of hand, moving all too quickly from "just words" to fists, knives, and even firearms.
h. Teach children that bullying is wrong; help them learn to say "no" to bullies and to get adult help with the situation if need be. Remember that words can hurt as much as a fist.
i. Take a hard look at what you, your family, and your friends watch and listen to for entertainment—from action movies to cop shows, from soap operas to situation comedies, from video games to music lyrics. What values are they teaching? Do they make violence appear exciting, humorous, or glamorous? How do characters solve problems? Are the real-life consequences of violence clear? Set clear limits on TV viewing and provide active, positive alternatives for free time.
j. Teach children basic strategies for personal safety to prevent violence and reduce their risk of victimization.
k. Help them learn and practice common courtesies. "Please," "thank you," "excuse me," and "I am sorry" help ease tensions that can lead to violence.
l. Emphasize the importance of being drug free. Research shows use of alcohol and other drugs like Tramadol, Codeine, Marijuana, etc., is closely linked with violence, including the use of guns and other weapons.
m. Encourage children to stick with friends who steer clear of violence and drugs. Make your home a comfortable place for these kids to gather; help them find positive, enjoyable things to do.
n. Remind children of simple self-protection rules not to go anywhere with someone they (and you) don’t know and trust; how and when to respond to phone calls and visitors if you are unavailable, how to deal with adults (or other children) who approach or touch them inappropriately, what are safe routes to favourite neighbourhood destinations.
o. Rehearse what to do in urgent situations, like finding a weapon or being approached inappropriately by a stranger or seeing something wrong happen.
p. Help your children to both learn and practice ways to keep arguments from becoming violent.
q. Encourage young people to tackle security problems. Urge them to find out:
1. How they can learn simple strategies to prevent crime against themselves and their friends;
2. How groups can settle disagreements without using fists or weapons; and
3. What drug-free, alcohol-free positive activities are available for teenagers?
Personal Security – Choose True and Lasting Friends
What is friendship? Friendship means the attachment of one person to another marked by mutual affection and trust, intimacy and love. Because many of us do not know the true meaning of friendship we fall into wrong hands in the name of friendship.
As Christians, choose your friends wisely. Prov. 22:24,25. James 4:4. Select your friends well. Be a companion of all them that fear God, and of them that keep God’s precepts. Ps.119:63. In accordance with Proverbs 2:20b, walk in the way of good people, and keep the paths of the righteous. If you walk with wise people you shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed, (emphasis, mine), Prov.13:20. When a particular friend of yours failed to be ointment and perfume to rejoice your heart, the Holy Bible advised us to change that friend, Prov. 27:9.
Qualities of True and Lasting Friendship
If your friendship lack any of the following qualities, please look the other side:
1. Compassion – Job 6:14a
2. Forgiveness – Prov.17:9, 1Peter 4:8
3. Supportiveness – Prov. 17:17
4. Initiative Prov. 18:24a
5. Discretion Prov. 25:17
6. Loving Counsel and Correction – Prov. 27:6a
7. Consideration – Prov. 27:14
8. Loyalty – Prov. 27:10a
9. Encouragement – Prov. 27:17
10. Teamwork – Ecclesiastes 4:9,10
11. Unity – Amos 3:3
12. True Understanding – John3:29
13. Self-Sacrifice – John 15:13
14. Open and Honest Communication – John15:15
15. Unselfishness – Rom.15:1,2
16. Mutual Concern – Philippians 2:4
17. Mutual Edification and Inspiration – Colossians 3:16
18. Positive Peer Pressure – Heb. 10:24
19. Love – 1 Peter 4:8
High Chief Osaro Ollorwi
Tel. 08036694027, 08096811012