…Says members’, Nigerians’ lives no longer safe
Lagos — The Central Working Committee, CWC, and the National Executive Council, NEC, of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, have in a joint statement condemned the state of insecurity across the country, urging President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on insecurity.
In the statement issued on Friday and signed by Comrade Festus Osifo, President, PENGASSAN, and Comrade Lumumba I. Okugbawa, General Secretary, the association said the lives of its members and those of millions of Nigerians are no longer safe.
Lamenting the dangerous effects of kidnappings, killings and assassinations, PENGASSAN said these have directly impacted its members and demanded that President Buhari “immediately” puts an end to killings.
The association said in the statement that it could no longer sit back and watch miscreants destroy the country.
The statement read: “As a responsible association whose activities are vital for the economic development of our dear country, we cannot sit back and watch miscreants masquerading under the togas of ethnic militias, regional or religious armies destroy the only country we can proudly call our own. We pledge our readiness to partner with you in your continued efforts to improve the security and general welfare of the Nigerian citizens.
“Your Excellency, arising from an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting where we painstakingly discussed the dire security situation in our dear country; we hereby highlight some of the cogent recurrent security breaches and proffer solutions to this hydra-headed monster.
“We have therefore, chosen this means to join millions of Nigerians to demand that you deploy the powers vested on you by the Constitution of the Federal Republic Nigeria to immediately put an end to the myriad of senseless and unprovoked killings of our brothers and sisters under whatever guise”.
The association mentioned the increasing attacks by bandits and other criminal elements on institutions in the zones where its members live and work – Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna, stating that recently, states under Port Harcourt and Kaduna zones were on the front burner with news of security threats, attacks, and killings.
The statement further read: “We must unequivocally restate the importance of these zones to the economic development and industrial peace of the nation and therefore must be protected at all costs.
“Your Excellency, kindly treat this communication arising out of our NEC deliberations with utmost importance because as leaders in this important sector, we are finding it increasingly difficult to put our members in check as their restiveness regarding the growth and rise of insecurity across the country is getting out of control. Consequently, your fatherly disposition to the issues raised hereunder will go a long way to allay their fears and reassure them that their concerns are being handled at the highest level of Governance.
“We also pledge our readiness and commitment to support your administration to reposition all vital sectors in your quest to bequeath a better country to the upcoming generation”.
PENGASSAN said it observed with total dismay the bloodbath currently ongoing in Kaduna, Zamfara, Niger and Plateau states without any meaningful solutions in sight or significant Federal Government interventions.
It said the Kaduna carnages is more worrisome given that there are an array of military and para-military institutions in the area. “Educational institutions in the state are also enmeshed in the murky water of the unending security threats in the land. Armed gangs have repeatedly struck some schools and universities, abducting more than 700 students. On Monday 31st of May 2021, 156 pupils from a school in Niger State were abducted with a N110 million ransom tag placed. On August 3rd, 2021, another 25 citizens of Kaduna State were gruesomely murdered by suspected armed herdsmen. Again, on August 15, 2021, the nation woke up to the unpleasant news of massacre of over 20 travelers with 40 persons still missing in Plateau. Also, coordinated attacks on communities especially in Plateau and Kaduna with farmlands and crops destroyed have since become a new ‘normal’.
“We demand the declaration of a state of emergency and a total overhaul of all the security apparatus within the states of Kaduna and Plateau to wipe out all criminal elements especially in Southern Kaduna. We also demand that the states should be empowered with a special Police Force that will enable them to take charge of security issues in their domain as the era of centralised policing is outdated. The states should be empowered to take charge of their security,” the statement said.
Other challenges the group mentioned as needing urgent presidential interventions include food security, youth employment, and foreign direct investments