The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned against President Muhammadu Buhari’s call on United State to relocate the US African Command from Germany to Nigeria, saying that the move would be counter-productive.
The congress equally warned that President Buhari cannot replace the Nigerian army with foreign soldiers.
President of NLC Comrade Ayuba Wabba, gave the warning at the 2nd NLC National Peace and Security Summit, held in Abuja on a theme: “Overcoming the siege of insecurity in Nigeria: Imperatives of Human and Physical Security.”
In his opening address, Comrade Wabba said: “We are concerned about recent plans to relocate the US African Command from Germany to Nigeria. While we welcome intelligence sharing and ammunition 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.”
He demanded that there should be a minimum requirement in terms of arms and ammunition, in terms of technology deployment and in terms of welfare.
The congress sympathized with the families over the death of five undergraduates of the Green Peace University in Kaduna State who were murdered by the bandits, adding, “we remember that the Chibok girls and the girl, Leah Shuaibu are still held in captivity by their Captors.”
On the role of the labour movement, he said, “the organised labour has the responsibility to represent and defend not only the interest of workers but also the national interest that bothers on national security.
“This summit is taking place against the backdrop increase in criminality as occasioned by terrorism, banditry and all shades of criminality including, kidnapping, abduction, and killing of our citizens.
“In the North East, Boko Haram insurgency is yet to be completely addressed, in the North Central, there is the farmers-herders conflict, and also the issue of kidnapping, in the South-South and South-East, there is the recent issue of criminals attacking armed forces and the police and carting away their ammunitions and in the North West, the situation is compounded with bandits sacking communities at will and taking over villages.”
Wabba said the peace summit is to interrogate the issues causing insecurity and find a lasting solution that can take the country out of the woods of insecurity sooner or later.
He said: “The temperament of this summit is supported by the International Labour Organization recommendation 205, dealing with empowerment and employment for decent work for peace and resilience which recognises the importance of decent work, promoting peace, preventing crisis situation arising from conflict and disaster, enabling recovery and building resilience.
“Recommendation 205 recognises that there can be no sustainable peace and security without respect for human rights and rule of law, including respect for fundamental principles and right at work and International labour standards.
“The summit is also looking at how best to support the armed forces in the prosecution of the anti-terrorism war.”
The former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, who is a co-Chairman of the event 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.
He said: “The peace of the nation is under threat especially in the South-East zone. There are very organised 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 help the law enforcement agency by identifying the unknown gunmen who are making life so miserable for us. Nigeria is going through a phase in which all hands must be on deck to find the solution to our security challenge.”
According to him, “the danger is real and that people in authority are also nervous,” adding, “we should dialogue with those that are aggrieved because the dialogue is very important, we cannot achieve everything by force.”
Former President of NLC and Chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu, said the root cause of the nation’s security was the imposition of unitary government on a federal republic.
He said: “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.”
Also in his remarks, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, said: “The current security challenge requires concerted efforts. All Nigerians irrespective of political and religious affiliation must come together to defeat the common enemy.”