By Victor Ahiuma-Young & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
NIGERIA Labour Congress, NLC, yesterday said nothing could justify the weekend senseless and barbaric killing of over 100 persons in Barkin-Ladi and Riyom local governments of Plateau State by suspected killer-herdsmen, saying “even in a full scale war with another country, the statistics are numbing.”
This came as United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, called for the sack of all the heads of the nation’s security agencies and a total overhaul of the security system.
NLC in a statement by its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, argued that if the allegations that the attacks went on unchecked for hours, then something needed to be done about the reaction time of the country’s internal security operations in the state.
According to the statement: “The Nigeria Labour Congress is deeply saddened by the renewed violence in Barkin-Ladi and Riyom Local Governments of Plateau State and their environs leading to the killing of over 86 persons (as per police report) by suspected killer-herdsmen at the weekend. We are disturbed by the range of targets, the duration of these attacks and the scope of casualties and destruction. Even in a full scale war with another country,the statistics are numbing.
“Therefore, for the umpteenth time we condemn these killings in their entireity. They are senseless and barbaric and threaten to shatter once and for all the bonds of brotherhood and peaceful co-existence.
“Accordingly, our security, though stretched, must be seen to do more to restore the confidence of the civil populace. If the emerging allegations are true that the attacks went on unchecked for hours, then something needs to be done about the reaction time of our internal security operations in the state.
“Beyond this, the Federal and Plateau State Governments in consultation with the parties to this bloody conflict should design a frame work for an enduring peace. The governments should quickly move to rebuild these communities and restore shattered lives as well as put an end to this anarchy.
“In spite of the fact that emotions understandably run high at the moment, it is important to appreciate the fact that reprisal attacks cannot bring the much needed peace. Peace lies in dialogue and in squarely addressing the underlying causes of the problem.”
Similarly, ULC in a statement insisted that the heightened fears of insecurity of lives and properties of Nigerians and daily wastage of lives and properties across the country especially in the North East and North Central, could no longer be acceptable under any guise.
It said: “While we await the immediate arrest and prosecution of the individuals involved in this dastardly act (though it may be wishful thinking as usual), we urge Governments at all levels to take positive steps to address and create frameworks that would guarantee the lives of the masses and peoples of Nigeria. That is the least they can do for us as citizens of this nation unless government has other reasons that are not immediately known to us for allowing this carnage.”
The statement by its President, Joe Ajaero, lamented that “This mindless butchering of about 200 persons is the height of the exacerbated security challenges threatening our nation. It is a clear demonstration of a total system failure in governance at all levels in Nigeria. It shows that Government in Nigeria has collapsed completely. The near helplessness and wringing of hands by those in charge; the buck-passing and the blame game leaves us deeply worried and aghast. A serious sign of a failing state if not a failed state.
“It is mindboggling to see the entire national security apparatchik lying prostrate in the face of this rabid wantonness. It is unbelievable that the same security agencies to which billions of Naira are allocated annually cannot stop the continued extermination of lives of fellow citizens in these numbers.”