… Says insecurity leading to breakdown in governance
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THE Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Wednesday, at its National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Abuja, lamented the precarious state of insecurity and economic woes in the country.
President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, at meeting raised the alarm that hardly does any day passes by without one negative report of citizens either kidnapped or abducted for payment of ransom.
He said Nigeria had never been enmeshed in the grips of insecurity turbulence and crisis as being witnessed today.
According to him, “in the past two years or so, we have witnessed an intense resurgence of terrorism, armed banditry, kidnap-for-ransom, militancy and resource conflicts all over the country.”
He said the country was also faced with the challenge of criminals who hide under the camouflage of pastoralists to commit all sorts of crime against Nigerians, adding that the mindless bloodshed and misery that our current state of insecurity unleash points to a serious breakdown in governance.
In a communique read at the end of the meeting, he said, “There is no day in Nigeria that one form of violent crime or another is not reported. Many Nigerian citizens have been forced by the large scale spread of rural and urban violence to abandon their homes.
“Millions of Nigerians have become refuges in their own land. Many Nigerians yet to flee their homes have literarily become prisoners in their own homes as criminals have forced us into a state of perpetual tension and apprehension.
“Kidnap for ransom has been elevated to the status of jungle enterprise. The crime of kidnapping has become a no respecter of persons as the low and mighty are all vulnerable. Workers are also victims. Many of us no longer feel safe both at work and home.
“Perhaps, even more worrisome is the cataclysmic path that the current state of insecurity in Nigeria leads to. In response to the absence of a firm State response to the persistent confrontations between herdsmen and farmers, many Nigerians are beginning to resort to self-help.
“The tunes, discordance, reactions and counter-reactions from these informal frequencies have constituted in themselves new grand threats to the security, stability and sustainability of the Nigerian project.
“We cannot fold our hands and watch Nigerians engage themselves in ethno-religious squabbles. The dangers are too significant to ignore.
“When the security situation in the country started getting out of hand, we called for the rejig of the leadership of our national security apparatus. This call was neglected until things deteriorated abysmally. Now that we finally have new sets of service chiefs in play, we demand that the lapses of the old be identified and corrected.
“We call for a new verve of zeal and commitment in the war against terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, communal unrests and clashes. We must never get to that point where we surrender the initiative and paraphernalia of sovereignty to autonomous state actors and to forces of state capture.”
On the economic front, Labour noted that the emergence of Covid-19 has stripped Nigeria of its dignity, so much so that it was becoming increasingly difficult for the government of the day to manage the attendant consequences.
He alluded to insinuations by the International Labour Organization that the virus has wiped off 225 million Full Time Equivalent working hours from the labour market. In all, 114 million jobs were lost temporarily and a further 33 million jobs disappeared permanently due to COVID-19.
Wabba also stated that in Nigeria, the impact of COVID-19 is no less daunting as the Nigeria’s GDP shrunk by 34.1 percent
Stressing that the pandemic also led to a 14 percent increase in poverty headcount rate in Nigeria. About 27 million Nigerians fell headlong into poverty as a result of COVID-19.
His words, “As the infection rate and death toll from this current wave of the pandemic continues to soar, we owe it to ourselves and to Nigerian workers and people to continue to advocate for caution and care. The vicissitudes of these times also instruct us on gratitude.
“We remain grateful for the unquantifiable sacrifice, commitment and love shown by our frontline workers. You have astutely stood between us and a great plague of death and calamity. Even with scant regard for your welfare and poor reward for your efforts, you have admirably continued to render your profound services to the Nigerian workers and people.”