21 June 2012

Nigeria: Killings in North - PENGASSAN Threatens Strike

Lagos — Oil workers under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN)have threatened to embark on a nationwide strike if the Federal government fails to tackle the attacks in parts of the North.

The oil workers said the industrial action will commence from its Kaduna zone, where many people were killed on Sunday.

The union's National Publicity Secretary, Deji Kolawole, in a statement expressed concern over the deteriorating security situation in the country, which has led to the decline in socio-economic activities.

The union said, the attacks on Christian worshippers in Kaduna and Zaria last Sunday and the consequent reprisal attacks on innocent Muslims, "represents a dangerous descent into anomie reminiscent of the horrific inter-ethnic and religious war that marked the violent break-up of the former Yugoslavia. Nigeria cannot afford to take this road to self-destruction, for when the rich make war, it is the poor that suffer".

The union urged the Federal Government to be alive to its responsibilities of protecting lives and property.

"We and indeed all Nigerians are tired of the president's usual swan song of expressing heartfelt condolences, condemning 'the dastardly act' and promising to "bring perpetrators to book" whenever attacks like these happen.

What Nigerians require of their government now is action in the face of constant attacks on the foundation and wellbeing of our country. The government should take a cue from countries that have achieved some success in tackling terrorism particularly, the North African country of Algeria, which was able to largely defeat the terror posed by Islamist militias in that country despite the seeming moral acceptability of their cause and the pervasiveness of their organisation.

The government must stop viewing this problem as a regional one and stop lamenting about inheriting the problem. Governments are put in place to solve problems not to join the populace in lamenting about them," the union said.

The union appealed to Nigerians to exercise restraint and cultivate the culture of peaceful co-existence in the face of the pervading violence.

It further appealed to traditional, political, community and religious leaders not to fuel the flame of conflict by making inflammatory statements.

"Rather, they should be voices of reason and moderation and assist security agencies in apprehending members of the Boko Haram sect and stamping out this cankerworm before it becomes a malignant cancer that may spell doom for our nation," it said.

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