With Joke Adeniyi-Jackson
The news of the attempted kidnap of a colleague and Publisher of Fresh Insight Newspaper, Mallam Abdulrasheed Akogun in Ilorin, Kwara State on Tuesday night, sent shock waves down my spine. This came days after Madam Elizabeth Omotosho, mother of the National Chairman of Labour Party, Mr. Mike Omotosho regained freedom from her abductors. The septuagenarian was kidnapped at her Tanke residence penultimate Sunday and released six days after. Also mortifying is the pathetic story of the Unilorin graduate (names withheld) who was abducted within Ilorin metropolis and whisked to a kidnapper’s den in Offa, where he was forced to drink blood and urine from unknown sources. He regained freedom by sheer Providence two days after his abduction. There are many stories flying around of yet to be verified kidnap cases in the state; one wakes up to unsavoury tales of criminal abduction of people within the state capital on daily basis, which has generated concern in various quarters lately.
Aside the rising wave of kidnap in Ilorin, there are other criminal acts like cult and ritual killings, armed robbery, car and motorcycle theft and burglary etcetera, which has constituted the growing insecurity in the state capital in recent time.
This development is no doubt in variance to what the ancient city of Ilorin stands and is known for.
Ilorin is referenced as the cradle of Islam and home of Islamic scholars. But, happening of late is fast undermining the hitherto piety status of the town.
“Ilorin the cradle of Islam is taking a turn for the worse and some people are saying it is being transformed.”
That was the opening remarks of a prominent Ilorin Islamic cleric, Alhaji Danboronu in his sermon at the Fidau for Alhaji Mahmud Elelu, father of the Rector, Kwara State Polytechnic, Alhaji Masud Elelu penultimate Tuesday.
People who have lived in Ilorin in the last two decades will appreciate the Ilorin of then than now in terms of security.
It could be said that western civilisation has infiltrated and destroyed the essence and spiritual fabric of Ilorin. The springing of strippers clubs in the state capital as well as the high prevalence of drug among youths, lend credence to the sad development. It would be recalled that some teenagers were arrested some months ago during an Indian hemp festival in Jooro area of the state capital. Incontrovertibly, drug abuse is responsible for all sorts of criminalities in the society engaged in by youths in Ilorin such as thuggery and restiveness like the famous Agbarere/Idi-Ape mayhem. This one can boldly say has impacted negatively on safety of lives and property, development and investment.
It is worthy of note that the traditional value system of the Ilorin people, which is characterised by collectivism, mutual harmony and coexistence, is fast eroding. New values have replaced the old order and a sizeable number of religious clerics of the two major religions who should be moral compasses are found wanting in their responsibility to the people.
From the foregoing, obviously there is a need for revival of traditional morality in order to protect and preserve the heritage of the city.
Sadly, the youth who are expected to be the promoters of culture are overwhelmed by foreign belief system.
Other factors to address in order to achieve this end are the high rate of unemployment, poverty, loss of social, religious and family values, weak security system and drug use among youths.
One of the measures to be taken is a vigorous public sensitisation on the dangers of hard drugs. There should be intensive campaign by relevant agencies and stakeholders in this regard.
To tackle the high rate of unemployment, the state government must create job opportunities and conducive environment for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to thrive. The youth employment initiatives should be sustained in order to capture more unemployed youth. It is also pertinent for government to initiate skill acquisition programmes for youth and women.
The family as well as the traditional institution needs to revive the social and family value through guidance. Parents have key roles to play. Family is the smallest unit of any society. If the family fails, then the society has failed. It is the parents’ duty to direct their children to the right path. So as the custodian of culture, traditional leaders must promote culture and customs of Ilorin.
On the part religious leaders must live what they preach, they should lead exemplary life worthy of emulation by their followers. They should inculcate in them virtuous values for better society.
The Ilorin Emirate Development Progressive Union (IEDPU), as stakeholder should organise programmes that could help address the challenges confronting the emirate as a result of antisocial behaviour of youths in particular. The more young people appreciate culture, the less worry about anti-social behaviours.
In addition, to overcome insecurity security agencies particularly the police must be seen to be proactive through credible intelligence gathering and surveillance. Then, modern technology must be employed in tackling crime in the state.
In conclusion, the Ilorin culture is invaluable and priceless. Therefore efforts must be made to ensure that it does not erode in the face of a western civilisation.