By Victor Ahiuma-Young
PETROLEUM and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has petitioned Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, deploring the worsening insecurity in the country, saying, it has degenerated to a very high level hoisting an atmosphere of uncertainty over safety and security of lives and property in the country.
In an open letter to the President, President and General Secretary of PENGASSAN, Comrades Babatunde Ogun and Bayo Olowoshile, respectively said it was clear that the security agencies lacked basic capacity and adequate surveillance infrastructure to nip worsening insecurity in the bud.
The association demanded that government immediately fund, equip, overhaul and reposition the security agencies in the country to enable them combat crime and generally provide adequate safety and security of lives and propertyin the country.
According to PENGASSAN, â€œthis is worsened by the obvious inability of the government at all levels of governance to institute necessary protective mechanism that can guarantee adequate security in the country.
â€œToday, virtually all parts of the country are bedevilled with one crisis or the other. Our Association wonders the impact of the security agencies, from the Police, State Security Services (SSS) to the military charged with the responsibility of ensuring security of lives and properties in the country.â€
â€œRecords before us attest to the fact that they have failed by the shoddy handling of the recent crises in various parts of the country.
â€œIt was reported that in spite of the fact that the security agencies especially, the SSS and the Nigerian Army Command in Jos had a fore knowledge of the recent crisis in Dogo Nahuwa, Ratsat and Jeji,Â innocent Nigerians yet lost their lives and properties to the politically motivated sectarian violence in the towns and the subsequent April 6 killing in the same Jos, amongst others.
â€œThis obviously suggests beyond reasonable doubt that the mounting security challenges in the country are above the capacity of our present security agencies.
The recent death of Elder Statesman and the former Second Republic Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, as a result of shock from an armed robbery attack is yet another sad pointer to the deteriorating level of security in Nigeria. Recent events in the Oil and Gas Industry have further given credence to the failed state of the security situation in the country.â€
â€œWe recall how, PENGASSAN, like other Nigerians rejoiced with the present administration at the initiation of the Amnesty Programme in the Niger Delta. However, the slow pace of the implementation of the Amnesty Programme has resulted to the resurgence of kidnappings and attacks on our members and Oil and Gas installations in the Niger Delta region.
Our members and their families have continued to be victims of such attacks, kidnapping incidents and even murder for no other reason than working in an industry that sustains our Nationâ€™s economy. In early March 2010, there was a bomb blast in Warri during a planned forum to discuss issues about the Amnesty programme. Also, in the same month, two PENGASSAN members, Messrs Danjuma Bashir and Malabu Ahmad, of NNPC-NPDC in Benin, Edo State who were declared missing were four days laterÂ found dead in a bush near Mosogar in Delta State.
They were murdered by unknown persons on their way to Abraka for a weekend post_graduate programme in circumstances that revealed copious police laxity and suspected complicity. Some days later, another member in Total E&P was also kidnapped and very recently, Mrs. (Dame) Lenu Laura Nwizug, the mother of another PENGASSAN member in NLNG was kidnapped in her hometown, Buan in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The kidnappers are demanding for N50 million as ransom money from our member before the mother will be released. From all these, it is clear that the security agencies, (the Police, SSS and Military Intelligence etc) lack basic capacity and adequate surveillance infrastructure to nip these cases in the bud.
This situation must not be allowed to continue. Accordingly, we demand that Government should as a matter of urgency fund, equip, holistically overhaul and reposition the Security Agencies in the country to enable them combat crime and generally provide adequate safety and security of lives and properties in our country as in other climes in our league where such basic Government responsibility over citizens is being du