Nigerians And Labour Unions Must Defend, Mobilize And Organize For A Day Of Action Against The Continuous Killings

By Tunde Yusuf

Endemic Kidnapping, Banditry, Farmers and Herders conflict, Illegal mining activities, terrorism and massacre have become perennial occurrences, resulting in 5,060 Nigerians killed across various states of the federation in less than seven months, according to BEACON CONSULTING based in Abuja. The continuous loss of lives, means of livelihood, and properties across the six geo-political zones have been attributed to various reasons, ranging from the increasing unemployment rate, extreme poverty and hunger, low budgetary allocation to the educational and health sectors, lack of industrialization among others, have further worsened the living condition of the Nigerian masses, in the renewed hopelessness agenda of the Tinubu regime.

Both past and current administrations have always made ineffective and inadequate security programmes and policies that prioritize the security of our ruling elites, multinational businesses and organized crimes by state actors and non-state actors, at the expense of the Nigerian masses and the welfare of rank and file members of the armed forces. This has led to a situation where Nigeria cannot meet up with the United Nations (UN) proposal, the ratio of one police officer to four hundred and fifty citizens. 

The entire security network, including the Department of State Security Service (DSS), Police, Army, and Air Force, among others, runs an apparatus whose entire architecture is incapable of taking advantage of existing technical know-how (both hard and software) to complement intelligent gathering and detect and apprehend criminals. However, they were quick to clamp down on #Endsars protesters and identified the “NO GREE FOR ANYBODY” slogan as a security threat to the power that be.  

Endemic Kidnapping, Banditry And Terrorism

From the Federal Capital Territory, where we have headquarters of various armed forces, kidnappers and bandits have continued to make life miserable for most families, as children and parents have either been killed or captured, as their families are not capable of paying millions of naira demanded as ransom. The response of the government has always been to condemn the act and payment of ransom by family members without any measure put in place to track funds paid as ransom so as to apprehend and prosecute the criminals. 

While celebrating the return of five out of the six Al-Kadriyar sisters, First Lady Oluremi Tinubu attributed their safe return to prayers and divine intervention. But the politicians like herself do not sucum to devine intervention for protection but are surrounded by rank-and-file members of the security forces. This clearly exposes the deceptive use of religion to negate rationalism and place the working masses at the mercy of kidnappers, who harbour no mercy whatsoever for their victims.

At a time when advanced technology like Artificial Intelligence, advanced technological gadgets and improved welfare, training and intelligent gathering are used to back human efforts to enhance the security of lives and properties, our ruling elites are telling us to pray while they themselves take advantage of the paraphernalia of the state to give themselves all of the protection they need. 

The cabals, state actors, and non-state actors have continued to run an economy that thrives on the lives and blood of working masses through the stealing of our mineral resources to their international partners, while the oppressors continue to experience unending horror.

Continuous Increase in Unemployment Rate and Underfunding of the Educational Sector by the Tinubu Regime

One of the key indicators which has led to the endemic insecurity in Nigeria is that there are millions of out-of-school children and youths who are not productively engaged in any sense. Instead of taking measures to check this, the Tinubu regime embarked on a deceptive measure by changing the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) methodology of calculating the unemployment rate through a new definition of employment to be those who work for “1 hour per week” as oppose those who work for at least “20 hours per week”. So this is what has given us the official figure of 4.1 %, as against the 40.1 % unemployment rate in Nigeria for 2023.

The reality is that kidnappers, bandits, terrorists and politicians have continued to recruit from the pool of wandering and jobless Nigerians. Effects of neoliberal policies dictated to the Tinubu regime, by World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), subsidy removal, devaluation of naira, and bank recapitalization have led to multinational companies like BOLT FOOD, SANOFI-AVENTI NIGERIA, and GSK PLC. UNILEVER, among others, to shut down, thereby leading to a continuous increase in the unemployment rate.

More so, the education sector, a key indicator of human development that refines citizens in character and learning, with a multiplier effect on economic development and reduction in the level of insecurity, has also been neglected with the deceptive student loan scheme. Parents can no longer meet the needs of students in universities, while prospective students and students across various universities are dropping out of school. With the increasing cost of living, inflationary pressure and low purchasing power parity of the minimum wage, the insecurity situation will continue to worsen, as witnessed in various parts of the country.

  Massacre In Plateau State

The home of peace and tourism has continued to experience unabated massacre, with the utter failure of the security apparatus to track, arrest and prosecute the perpetrators to serve as a deterrent to criminals, even though allocation to security budget is the highest in previous years and 2024 budgets (where 1.5 trillion nairas was allocated to the ministry of defence). This is aside billions of dollars that have been allocated in the last two decades to corrupt politicians and ministers, while security votes to state governors have either been syphoned or mismanaged. 

These killings, historically on the plateau, are one too many and show that illegal mining of various mineral resources is a multi-million dollar venture with many untouchable and those with direct links with the powers that be. According to Dele Alake, the minister for mineral resources, illegal mining is an organized crime perpetrated by the cabals.

When it comes to making profit and accumulating wealth, which is what capitalism is all about, the value of human life is insignificant as proceeds from natural resources come first and remain the permanent interest of the ruling elites and their imperialist counterparts. This is the real primary motive fueling the unending insecurity while working people are massacred indiscriminately. 

In Barkin Ladi, Bokkos and Mangu local government areas in the Plateau state, more than one hundred and ninety-five Nigerians were killed, three thousand injured and more than ten thousand displaced (Vanguard Newspaper 28, Dec. 2023). Despite several distress calls by residents to the military and police authorities during these attacks, which lasted for more than 24 hours, nothing whatsoever was forthcoming to repulse the attack or was subsequently done to arrest the alleged marauding militia.

Again, another thirty people (mostly children and women) were massacred in Mangu local government on the 25 of January 2024, a few days after the previous massacre, at a time when the governor of the state, Caleb Mutfwang, declared a curfew. Yet politicians, generals and commanders in the armed forces continue to condemn the act without taking proactive measures to prevent the massacre from reoccurring.    

In the same vein, in the first week of 2024, residents from various parts of Abuja staged a peaceful protest to draw the government’s attention to the plight of residents who are repeatedly being killed by alleged Fulani herders. In various parts of the country, kidnapping, rape, and robbery have been on the rise, from Plateau, Lagos, Delta, Nassarawa, Niger and the Federal capital territory, where insecurity of lives and properties has continued as a result of anti-people policies of the regime.   

Nigerians and Labour Unions Must Defend, Mobilize and Organize for a Day of Action Against the Continuous Killings

It is clear to all Nigerians that the Nigerian ruling elites, as represented by APC and PDP, have failed in their primary responsibilities of protecting lives and properties. Women, young people and working people in Nigeria must rise up to resist the continuous killings by organizing democratic defence committees in the various communities to defend themselves against these murderous attacks in the face of the failure of the Nigerian government and military to protect them. In this regard and the spirit of solidarity with the protest in Abuja against kidnappings, NLC and TUC must call for a day of mass action against these killings, kidnappings, and the extreme poverty and unemployment in the country that are fueling these crimes!