The Fall Of Warri And Lessons For Lagos, Others

The Fall Of Warri And Lessons For Lagos, Others

The increasing dislike for other ethnic groups by some Yoruba indigenes in Lagos State is becoming a thing of serious concern among other tribes, especially the Igbo globally. This has sparked a gradual movement and relocation to the South- East and South-South for development. Today, Enugu, Asaba, Owerri and Uyo, towns in Anambra are hot-beds for the circumstantial migration which will soon ignite development in infrastructure to sustain the population. It then means that with functional seaports and international airport, Inter-connected rail system, modern logistics facilities, Lagos is on its way to being a deserted state with time like Warri in Delta State. The Warri story is a lesson taught to war mongers in Lagos.    

War destroys cities: Every Nigerian city or aspiring city should learn something from the collapse of Warri as oil city.

Warri was a big industrial hub in the seventies and nineties.

 Among the companies located there, according to this author were:Warri Refinery, NNPC, , Delta Glass Company Plc, Shell Petroleum,  Chevron Nigeria, Schlumberger, Dunlop, Agip, Saipem, Halliburton were in full operation back then. Escravos & Forcados were at their peak.

The city thrived. The city was full of zeal and zestful activities. People living outside hardcore Warri called themselves Wafarians because of propinquity to Warri even though they were not Wafarians. To be a Wafarian was to belong to supposedly a unique lifestyle.

Multinational and local banks were present, Among them, Citibank, FBN, ACB, Savannah Bank.

Business activities thrived. Warri port was a beehive of economic activity

Entertainment/Night life was at its peak, musicians, Live bands at Palmgroove Hotel, Comedians held their sway: Fela, legendary Don Baker, Majek Fashek, Emma Grey, Oritz Wiliki, Rex Lawson were a few of many of the entertainers who made Warri ebullient.

The town was full of life and it thrived.

McDermot road was busy with Maritime activities and contractors. Kingsway Mall offered anything sold in Lagos at that time.

Joma & Mosheshe were big fish distributors across the Niger Delta. Rubber produced locally, was used to produce plastics and tyres.

The town grew in size and became a conurbation with people coming from all over the country to settle down in Warri for economic activities.

The Airports were super busy, Escravos, Forcados & Warri Airport. The Warri Airport was even relocated to Osubi for expansion.

Warri was reveling in its glory. Warri Port was fully operational and served as an economic booster for the city. It served businesses in Warri, Benin, Asaba & Onitsha. The Port created huge employment opportunities for locals and the state.

Things started to go downhill from the late 90’s. The community leaders and youth chairmen began to fight themselves over control and sharing formula for royalties that came from oil & businesses from settlers.

Itsekiri, Urhobo & Ijaw leaders & youths started fighting each other. The bloody fight started around 1999 and lasted for years till 2003/2004.

The community leaders started imposing local taxes called “Deve” on all companies, industries and local businesses, buildings & projects.

Little by little, the companies frustrated, started leaving.

This continued throughout the early 2000’s till 2010. The companies kept on leaving, one after the other. The companies laid off their employees. Unemployment rose.

More companies left for PH, Lagos, Akwa Ibom. They laid off more staff. Unemployment increased still.

Today all that is left in Warri, is a shadow of its glorious past. 95 per cent of all the big companies in Warri had either left or closed down .Most of the young people have left Warri.

The ones left are driving Keke, doing P.O.S, Spa or Boutique, Beer parlour or doing hookup.

There’s peace now, but the damage the greedy community leaders did to Warri, still lingers on and is almost irredeemable at this point.

Do not assume that your city can not be destroyed if it toes the same route Warri followed. Warri leaders did not ever believe that Warri will be this economically empty today while they were fighting then. Learn from Warri and protect your economies

Have you asked why big economies like US, China,etc will never allow war in their countries?

You must learn and avoid things that will trigger war in the country or state no matter how strong you believe you are. Businesses and investors go where there is peace than where there is war.

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