Gangsters have gradually taken over the streets of Akwa Ibom state capital, Uyo. Clusters of youths in ragtag dressing with uncouth languages are found in virtually every street corner of the city.
The situation is not unconnected to the influx and rapid growth of unemployed persons into the city. The situation is said to have been however different in past years. In the past, majority of them were accommodated by political office holders.
Notable politicians have however recently discarded the idle, unemployed and often unemployable youths. This is mostly because of dwindling allocation coming into the state which has directly affected the purse of the politicians. Another core reason is also the fact that most of the politicians who accommodated them are no longer occupying any public office.
Very few of the youths are presently said to be accommodated by politicians. They are mostly those ones with online and social network presence. This is because the political battle in the state has shifted ground from street fight to social network.
Some gangsters have been noted to dominate different pool and lottery centers where they bet to make a living. Some are seen around legal and illegal motor parks. In parks, they levied commercial vehicle drivers and also pickpocket travellers.
The most conspicuous are those who dominate beer parlors and palm wine joints from morning to night. These ones are said to be senior cult members and called ‘senior man’ by new initiates. They are mostly jobless and even unemployable and depend on taxation of new cult initiates. The tax is called ‘dues’, any defaulter is lured to secluded places and beaten mercilessly and their handy belongings such as phones, necklace and even shirts are taken.
As the mob increases with more violent returnees from nearby cities like Port Harcourt and Calabar, the possibility of deadly clashes prevalent in those societies cannot be rule out in Uyo if nothing is done immediately to gainfully engage them by the society.
The government, church and even parents must as a matter of urgency create activities capable of gainfully engaging these derelicts for the general peaceful coexistence of the entire society.