Former Rivers State Attorney General and Commisioner for Justice, Hon Worgu Boms, has called for restructuring of the State in order to entrench lasting peace and unity.
Boms, who admitted that Rivers State has recently witnessed bloodsheds resulting from criminal activities ranging from political thuggery, cult activities, armed robbery attacks on innocent citizens and extrajudicial killings by law enforcement officers, said that in as much as the State seems to be having a little fresh air from restiveness following the security machineries put in place by Governor Nyesom Wike led government, there is need for more actions for the State to truly turn the corner.
The Former Attorney General spoke in his speech as a guest speaker at the 9th Annual Public Lecture organised by Journalists For Sustainable Development in Nigeria, (JSDN) a Non-Governmental Organisation held in Port Harcourt, with the theme “Rivers Of Unity, Peace and Love: Not of Blood.”
Boms noted that prayers, fasting and vigils are not enough to bring about a bloodless Rivers of unity, peace and love but that there must be a firm commitment from the government, stakeholders and all Rivers people, both residents and indigenes, which can bring about the desired changes.
He noted the need for right actions and urged the State government to make conscious policy of industrialization and create economic opportunities to bring lasting unity, peace and love in the state, stressing that unemployment contributed hugely to the restiveness experienced in the State.
Boms, who was the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice under Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s led state government, recalled that as a growing boy in Port Harcourt, the State was rated the most peaceful environment, noting that the State was booming with presence of so many international, national and local companies.
He said that then, there was no news of senseless bloodshed as many youths were engaged in one service or the other.
The former Commissioner wondered what went wrong that the State has been turned into a place non-habitable to live and do business because of fear of the unknown killer.
In his words, Boms said “In the past, growing up, I must say, crime was lower, far lower than it is now. Restiveness, restlessness, banditry and militancy especially of the brand we now know, not to talk of kidnapping, were almost unknown, unheard. To discuss, even seek Rivers of unity, peace and love, a Rivers where blood would not flow via murder and violence, without reference to the total, not virtual, but total collapse of the industrial and commercial sector, is to play the ostrich. It is even worse to think that by merely praying and fasting and engaging in religious night vigils for peace, unity, without more, it would be achieved. That would amount to the same way of thinking that you could measure the distance from Nigeria to the U.K, with a theodolite.
“It is obvious that our brightest bulb in the box, is to seek a way to reinstating the industrialisation that characterised this State. The government has a role, not by seeking peace with politicians and within the political class but through a conscious policy of industrialisation and creating the environment that makes business thrive. There should be conscious mass employment in the state, we cannot secure peace without justice, the most lack of economic opportunity is the cause of no peace in the state.
“If today, by whatever means, we are able to make guns disappear or highly inaccessible or highly restricted, such that access to firearms will be akin to accessing a needle in a haystack, there will be a dramatic decrease in the things taking away our unity, peace and love, there will be less or no blood. Guns, on their own, cannot shoot. They are innocuous when there is no human intervention, when the idle hands and brains are available either at the train stations, the farm fields, in offices and productively engaged, the numbers of persons interested in using gun to take away our peace, unity and love and replacing them with blood will be in shortage. We need to take a decision in this direction, that is where the government comes in more boldly.”
Boms added that “Rivers peace, unity and love sans blood which is our dream will attain greater possibility of being achieved if we hold the government to account, the individual member of the public to account and the judiciary to account”.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Director of JSDN, Mr Parry Benson, said that the aim of the lecture was to inform and educate the public on the need for unity, peace and love in the State.
“This topic, “Rivers of Unity, Peace and love: Not of Blood.” was carefully chosen because we want Rivers State to be in peace. We want Rivers people to be together. We want politicians to know that in as much of what they want, which is power, the key thing is to keep Rivers State in peace.”