The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has endorsed the state of emergency declared by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. Abdulwahed Omar,NLC President said in a statement on Thursday that in view of reported seizures of territories, audacious attacks on sensitive targets, wiping out of communities, deadly cross-border attacks and other acts of mindless violence by insurgents, Congress considers the declaration of emergency as an appropriate response.
“We agree that the level of bloodletting and the co-ordinated and audacious cross-border attacks if not decisively checked are capable of over-running, over-whelming and balkanizing the country.
“As a pan-Nigerian organisation which believes in the inalienability, inviolability and indivisibility of Nigeria, every action necessary should be taken to preserve its sovereignty against all acts of terrorism and insurgency.
He urged the FG to spell out the rules of engagement clearly.Said Omar “we must warn that the government must clearly understand and spell out the rules of engagement to which the troops and other security personnel must strictly adhere or be called to account. This is purely an internal security challenge, which if not initially mishandled requires more guile than brawn. It makes little sense for our troops to violate, alienate or annihilate the very populations they are out to protect.
“How government troops handle this sensitive assignment will determine the speed and quality of their victory as well as decide the ranking of Nigeria in the comity of nations. The tragic incidents at Baga and Bama which drew global condemnations are instructive enough.
“Although government has not dissolved the democratic structures in the affected states, the declaration of emergency should not be a tool for dealing with perceived political enemies.
NLC added that “The emerging internal security challenges make imperative the need to modernise or re-equip our police force. It should be obvious now to the government that prolonged military exposure to internal security management carries with it certain risks.
“While the Congress insists that government must firmly address the issues of corruption, poverty, illiteracy, disease, unemployment and electoral injustice, it is concerned that the border communities often seem to breed insurgents or offer sanctuary to insurgents.
Also the congress condemned “ the renewed violence across the land , especially the mass killings at Baga, Bama, Bayelsa and most recently, at Alakyo in Nasarawa state and Agatu in Benue State. They leave a sour taste in the mouth, as the incidents are unprecedented and dehumanizing.
“We however call on workers and the Nigerian people not to despair or panic. We cannot be overwhelmed if we resolve not to be. Even this trying moment shall pass away.
In the same vein, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), South East Zone has commended President Goodluck Jonathan for declaring a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa state, saying the action signals a new and decisive showdown against Boko Haram.
In a letter of solidarity to his North East counterpart, the National Vice Chairman Colonel Austin Akobundu (rtd.) commended President Jonathan for consulting all relevant stakeholders before taking the action, adding that his decision to leave the elected government structures in the three affected states intact confirms his legacy as a truly democratic leader.
Colonel Akobundu described the declaration of state of emergency in the three states as both timely and popular and shows that the President and Commander-in-Chief is on top of the security situation.
The National Vice Chairman condemned the position of some opposition parties which called on the National Assembly to reject the state of emergency and advised them to desist from seeking cheap popularity from serious national issues.
He commended the Military High Command, the officers and men of the Armed Forces, Police and Security Services for their diligence and sacrifice in fighting terrorism and for protecting the territorial integrity of the nation despite unwarranted criticism from certain individuals who place self-ambition above the national interest.
The National Vice Chairman charged the leadership of PDP in the North East to support the President and the security agencies and to rally the political class to deny the terrorists a comfort zone in the North East because the confrontation is standing between the people of the zone and the enormous benefits of the Administration’s Transformation Agenda.
In a related development the Council of Ogoni Professionals (COP International, USA) has commended President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for his decision to declare “State of Emergency” in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States yesterday, Tuesday May 14, 2013 as a way to ending the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. “ Although this declaration is long overdue, we are impressed that he has finally decided to take a bold and decisive step that will send a clear message to Boko Haram insurgents, their sponsors and like groups that atrocities committed against law abiding citizens and foreigners in Nigeria will no longer be tolerated.
Comrade Anslem D. John Miller , in a statement for and on behalf of COP Intl. USA said “As law enforcement agencies map out their strategy to carry out this new assignment of ensuring tranquility in the affected States, we call on the Nigerian government to put in place effective strategy that guarantees protection of lives, security of properties, and a smooth return to peace in the region. Albeit, we support this state of emergency, but we also want to use this opportunity to caution the administration against the blanket use of emergency rule always because Aso Rock is no stranger to the deplorable security situations threatening the fabric of the country and as such, the government needs to be proactive in dealing with such threats rather than being reactionary.
The council also appealed “to President Jonathan to ensure that the recent killings in Baga, Borno State by the Nigeria military is properly investigated and culprits brought to justice. The killings in Baga should not be swept under the carpet like the atrocities committed against the Ogoni People in the aftermath of the May 21, 1994 Giokoo killings by the Major Paul Okuntimo’s led Rivers State Internal Security Taskforce. We call on the Nigerian government to take responsibility of this atrocity committed by its soldiers against its people and to adequately rehabilitate and compensate the bereaved families of the victims.
“The umbrella body of all Ogoni professionals in the United States seizes this special opportunity to remind the Nigerian government, especially the leadership of the Nigerian Senate and the House of Representatives that a practical way of resolving the lingering Ogoni crisis is to create “Bori State” for the Ogonis and its neighbors in the ongoing Constitutional Amendment Exercise. The proposed Bori State will be economically viable based on the enormous natural and human resources endowment of the area, and will not constitute a liability on the coffers of the Federal Government as it is in the case of many states in the federation now,”the statement said.
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