Gov. Peter Obi: Jobs as antidote to insecurity and criminality in Anambra

Mr Peter Obi, Anambra Governor

          By Emeka Chiakwelu

The fundamental role of government, which is without doubt the most
important function of government, is the protection of life and property.
Anambra State’s center of normality is being swept away and distorted by
insecurity. The adverse effect of this phenomenon contributed immensely
to the retardation of economic growth in both urban and rural areas of
Anambra State. Capital flight, poor harnessing of human capital and
dwindling of home coming of Anambra Diasporas can all be attributed to
insecurity in the state.

To liquidate the ugly head of kidnapping and armed robbery in Anambra
State, the massive unemployment must be tackled head-on by Governor Peter
Obi. The government of Anambra State should generate jobs by itself to
fight against apathy and hopelessness among the youths that led them to
criminal enterprise.

There are many positive developments and good news coming from Anambra
State. The leader of Nigeria, President Good luck Jonathan was in Anambra
State to commission new industries including Orient Petroleum, SABMiller
brewery and Onitsha Inland water port.

Governor Obi deserved some credits for facilitating the process and by
making sure that these industries came to fruition. There are criticisms
to be made but this article is not about that, for I am more interested in
finding the ways to elevate standard of living in Anambra State and to
slow down joblessness among our youths. There is time and season for
everything but for now let us finish the job at hand, which is to find
ways to provide jobs to the people of the state especially the youths.

The new industries in the state will surely make a difference by providing
jobs to the people. Notwithstanding, the new jobs will not change the
picture of unemployment in the state nor absolutely reverse the state of
unemployment among the youths. Without doubt, it is a down payment and a
foundation to build on. With same spirit of revitalization, new ideas and
breakthrough can be lunched to make a real dent on joblessness in Anambra
State. Therefore kudos must go to those that are working for a new reality
in the state including the responsible citizens of the state, business
community and Governor Obi.

The stubborn truth is that unemployment among the Anambra youths is
overwhelming. Those in the age bracket of 18-27 years have it real bad. I
do not have any credible statistics to back up my assertions but my wild
guess is that unemployment among the youths should be over 60 percent.
When those that returned back to school for advance degrees as a result of
unemployment are factor in, the number will be probably higher.

And here lies the major problem of Anambra State – the high and massive
unemployment including underemployment among the youths do spur and
became the gate way to petty crimes that eventually led to kidnapping,
highway robbery and massive insecurity in Anambra State. Therefore this is
not the time to fold our hands and continue to pray for manna to fall from
the sky. God help those that help themselves.

Governor Peter Obi must take the bull by its horns and raise some revenues
to create jobs for the youths. With the recent admission of Anambra as an
oil producing states, more revenue allocations will be coming to the
coffins of the state. The types of jobs that the government can create
more quickly are as follows:

a) Environmental Enforcement Officers (‘Refuse Police’)

b) Traffic Wardens

c) Building Inspectors and Code Enforcement Officers

The job responsibility of the Environmental Enforcement Officer or ‘Refuse
Police’ is to enhance and protect the environmental and ecosystem
integrity of Anambra Sate. They will be parading on foots and bicycles
looking out for those that are throwing rubbish and wastes on the street
and into the storm drains. The officers will safeguard the refuse disposal
containers and enforce the proper discharge of refuse. They will visit
numerous auto repair workshops in Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi and others making
sure that stores are kept clean and spent oil are kept with best
management practice and disposed properly.

Traffic Wardens will be helping the police to make sure that traffic rules
and regulations are maintained and obeyed. Traffic Warders can be of
great important especially in rural areas and places were the presences of
traffic law enforcement officers are limited.

Building Inspectors and Code Enforcement Officers will be inspecting
buildings in urban areas and making sure that the houses are kept clean
and maintained to the standard of the original building plans. In most
cases especially in Onitsha houses are left deteriorated and paints become
worn out. To make Onitsha a tourist destination, the building codes must
be maintained.

The main intention for calling for these jobs to be created is to uplift
the quality of life of the youths thereby occupying their idle minds and
bodies. You know that “Idle mind is devil’s workshop”. The idea is to
give the youths less time to dabble into criminal enterprise. We cannot be
naïve to believe that these jobs or any jobs for that matter will
eradicate crime in a society. But by providing these jobs, the government
will fulfill its own portion of social contract thereby compelling the
people to live up to the responsibilities of citizenship.

This is not time to argue and critic these proposals to death. Of course
in capitalistic society government does not necessarily create jobs but
government makes the environment for job creation to thrive and propitious
by having a conducive economic landscape. By offering youths these job
opportunities, the government is laying the foundation for the economy to
thrive when insecurity and criminality are minimized.

Emeka Chiakwelu, Analyst and Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol
Organization.Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is
foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden
the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote
and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment,
human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.

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