Labour, Oshiomhole blame factory closures, massive sacking of workers, non-payment of salaries on worsening insecurity

*Ken Nnamani calls on Nigerians to unmask unknown gunmen killing security men, burning police station in Southeast

By Victor Ahiuma-Young & Johnbosco Agbakwuru , Abuja

Organised Labour and former governor of Edo State and Chairman of All Progressive Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday in Abuja, blamed the massive closure of factories, retrenchment of workers and non-payment of salaries as a major cause of the growing insecurity and hopelessness across the country.

This came as the former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, called on Nigerians to work together to unmask the “unknown gunmen” that had been perpetrating mayhem across the country, killing security men and burning police stations, especially in the South East.

They spoke at the 2nd Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, National Peace and Security Summit, in Abuja.

The theme of the summit was “Overcoming the Siege of Insecurity in Nigeria: Imperatives of Human and Physical Security.”

Giving reasons for the summit, President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, who expressed concern over plans to relocate the US African Command from Germany to Nigeria, said This peace summit is to interrogate the issues causing insecurity and find a lasting solution that can take the country of the woods of insecurity sooner or later.

Among others, he said “The summit is also looking at how best to support the armed forces in the prosecution of the anti-terrorism war. However, we are concerned about recent plans to relocate the US African Command from Germany to Nigeria. While we welcome intelligence sharing and ammunitions support to our armed forces, we warn that it will be counterproductive to replace our army with foreign soldiers. Nigerian Armed Forces are capable of surmounting the insecurity challenge if they are supported with adequate funds and technological equipment.

“Our political leaders should be ready to take responsibility for the actions they took while in office. There is a nexus between throwing workers out of their jobs and the resultant increase in unemployment and a rising wave of insecurity.

“The present high state of insecurity in Kaduna state has a lot to do with the penchant by the state government for throwing workers out jobs. As we Speak, from 2016 to date, over 29,000 workers have been thrown out of their jobs in Kaduna state. Also, tuition fees in Kaduna state have been increased by 100 per cent. What this means is that many children of the poor workers will not be able to attend good schools while the children of the rich are sent to study outside the country. The implication is that these children who dropped out of school will now be used by bad elements to perpetuate insecurity in the country. We call on the governor of Kaduna state to rescind the decision urgently.

Speaking, Comrade Oshiomhole, while lamenting massive closure factories across the country, and continued retrenchment of workers in large numbers, queried who are the bandits? Who are the bandits? I suspect, that those 35, 000 workers whose factories have been closed in Kaduna city, those whose livelihood has been taken away, what are they doing? What will their children and grandchildren be doing now? It’s common sense to know that an idle mind, is a devil’s workshop.

“I suspect that those Nigerians that we abandoned and not provided for them, as you can call them almajiri or beggers, they have all grown up. When you talk about unemployment, the biggest problem is having the biggest population of unemployable because they never had an opportunity of being taught by a qualified teacher.”

He wondered why the Lawmakers would prescribe N30,000 as minimum wage and President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law, some Governors for some reasons would sit and insist that the amount cannot be paid?

He said “When they deny workers such payment, can there be peace? I summit with International Labour Organisation that the condition for national peace and security does not necessarily need many bullets but decent jobs but when you are at an environment where jobs are being killed, jobs that do not exist cannot even be decent.”

The former NLC President said that the NLC would not succeed in its quest to educate those that had been benefiting as merchant of crisis as they could be tortured out of their businesses,

According to him, “It is criminal for any Governor not to pay workers as and when due. If the oppressed stop antagonising and organise themselves, and find a common unity across the country, that will be the beginning of laying the foundation for sustainable peace in Nigeria. The 36 state Governors are united. The oppressors are united against you (workers). When we are through with discussing the issue of insecurity, we can then start discussing the issue of security of wage and jobs.”

On his part, the former Senate President who was a co-chairman of the summit alongside the Pioneer President of NLC, Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu, among others, said “The peace of the nation is under threat especially in the south-east zone. There are very organized efforts to chase away policemen or security men. Burning of police stations, killing of policemen and soldiers. This magnificent building, if we removed the roof, if there is down poor, we will be beaten by the rain. And if there is sunshine, we will be almost roasted because we have removed the roof over our head.

“If we wait for the federal government to handle it alone, or government as a whole, we will be making a serious mistake. What is happening, after the security men and the policemen are chased away, and we have problems in our various communities, who do we run to? Nobody. The same people will come after us.

“Even if have the whole policemen in the world, we cannot win the war of the so-called unknown gunmen. We must have the law enforcement agency by identifying the unknown gunmen who are making life so miserable for us.

Nigeria is going through a phase which all hands must be on deck to find solution to our security challenge.”

He warned “that the danger is real and that people in authority are also nervous, stressing that we should dialogue with that are aggrieved because the dialogue is very important, we cannot achieve everything by force. Government should help by doing certain things that will make people at home. When making appointments, it has to be inclusive because we are all Nigerians. I make it in a way that some people feel they are not wanted. Even if you feel not wanted and you are destroying the little you have. You think you are punishing the federal government, you are punishing yourself and your community. We all have to speak up because our country is fallen apart.”

Speaking, Alhaji Sunmonu, contended that the root cause of the nation’s insecurity was the imposition of unitary government on the federal republic

According to him, “This is what is wrong. The 1999 constitution was imposed on us by the military. We can never be united if we continue to run a unitary system. ”

In his remarks, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, among others, said “The current security challenge requires concerted efforts. All Nigerians irrespective of political and religious affiliation must come together to defeat the common enemy.”

Vanguard News Nigeria 

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