Warri Economic Collapse teaches Nigeria to refrain from war: Read

Warri was a big industrial hub of Nigeria from the 70s to the decade of the 90s. The city was among the most economically advanced and influential in the decades. The situation started going downhill in the late 90s when the city leadership began to disagree.

Warri was a big industrial hub of Nigeria from the 70s to the decade of the 90s. The city was among the most economically advanced and influential in the decades. The situation started going downhill in the late 90s when the city leadership began to disagree. The success and influence that the city amassed over several decades started to fade due to internal conflicts.

Here are some things that the people of Nigeria can learn from the example of Warri. It was one of the most prosperous industrial hubs in the decades spanning the 70s to the 90s. Warri Refinery, DSC, Delta Glass, NNPC, Shell, Chevron, Agip, Saipem, Schlumberger, Dunlop, and Halliburton were fully operational. Escravos & Forcados were at their peak.

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The city thrived full of zeal and zestful activities. People outside hardcore Warri called themselves Wafarians because of their affiliation with Warri. However, they were not Wafarians.

Multinational/Local Banks were present in the city. Some of the most renowned names included Citibank, FBN, ACB, and Savannah Bank. Business activities also thrived in the city. Warri Port was a beehive of economic activities. Entertainment and Nightlife were at their peak; Musicians, Live bands at Palmgroove Hotel, and Comedians held their sway. The notable musicians included Fela, legendary Don Baker, Majek Fashek,

Oritz Wiliki, Emma Grey, and Rex Lawson are some entertainers that made Warri spirited. Lido, Zina, etc., were comparable to their ilks anywhere. McDermot Road was busy with Maritime activities and contractors. Kingsway Mall offered anything sold in Lagos at that time. Meanwhile, Joma & Mosheshe were big fish distributors across the Niger Delta.

Rubber, produced locally, was used to make plastics and tyres. The town also grew and became an extended urban area 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 authorities relocated Warri Airport to Osubi for expansion.

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

Things started to go downhill from the late 90s. The community leaders and youth presiding officers began to fight over control/sharing formula for royalties from oil & businesses from settlers Itsekiri, Urhobo & Ijaw leaders & youths started fighting each other. The bloody fight began around 1999 and lasted until 2003 and 2004.

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The community leaders started imposing local taxes called “Deve” on all companies, industries, local businesses, buildings & projects.cLittle by little, the companies, frustrated, started leaving. This continued throughout the early 2000s till 2010. The companies kept on going, one after the other. The companies laid off their employees. Unemployment rose.

Several companies initially based in Warri left for Port Harcourt, Lagos, and 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% of all the big companies in the city had either left or closed down. Most of the young people have left Warri. The ones left are driving Keke, doing POS, Spa or Boutique, Beer parlour or hookup.

While the city is currently living in peace, the damage the greedy community leaders did to Warri still lingers on. Several prominent thinkers and people of Warri believe that it is almost irredeemable. Refrain from assuming that your city is indestructible if it toes the same route the city followed. The leaders never thought that the city would be this economically empty today while they were fighting then. Learn from Warri and protect our economies. We must learn and avoid things that will trigger war in our country, no matter how strong we believe we are. Businesses and investors go where there is peace than where there is war.

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