22 January 2013

Nigeria: Mali - NLC Seeks Internal Protection From Terrorists

Photo: This Day
Nigerian soldiers

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the Federal Government to take adequate steps to ensure the protection of Nigerians from reprisals by terrorists' networks which may be borne out the ongoing AFISMA engagement in Mali.

This, it said in reaction to the weekend attack on Mali-bound troops in Okene, Kogi State which left four soldiers dead and many injured.

Speaking with THISDAY in a telephone conversation in Abuja Monday, the Acting General Secretary of the NLC, Chris Uyot, lamented that soldiers who were prepared for war were murdered so 'cheaply', when they had not even reached the war front.

"The movement of troops for such sensitive mission ought to be shrouded in secrecy known only to the military high command, not common knowledge. This shows how powerful the terrorists in Nigeria have become," he said.

He described the attack as shocking and unfortunate, adding that it underscores the need to overhaul Nigeria's internal security system.

In a similar manner, the NLC said the attack on the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, has exposed the lie in the claim by the government that the security forces have been able to bring the activities of extremists under control.

The NLC in a statement issued, Monday by the Acting General Secretary, Chris Uyot, called for an urgent over-haul and reorganisation of the nation's internal security systems to curb the threat posed by extremists.

"Kano, being a major industrial city in the northern part of the country is very strategic to the Nigerian economy and polity, and should therefore not be allowed to be held hostage by violent groups," it read.

It also expressed worry that if the Emir of Kano, who is one of the highest traditional office holders, and a leading traditional voice in the country can be so brazenly attacked, then regular citizens would continue to live in fear.

"Ordinary citizens will continue to live in fear and consequently the atmosphere of insecurity in the state and the country in general will grow deeper. This will certainly affect the free movement of persons and workers to their workplaces with grave consequences on freedom of movement and commercial activities," it added.

The NLC called on those responsible for the violent attacks to reflect on the dangers and damages which their actions posed for Nigeria's economy and future.

"While condemning these incessant attacks, we reiterate our commitment to dialogue, national peace and unity, and call on those responsible for these spate of violence and spectre of fear to reflect on the monumental and devastating damages their attacks have inflicted on the economy, and ultimately the negative impact on our collective future," the statement added.

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