The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has called for a thorough investigation into the activities of the security operatives, including military personnel, who are fighting insurgency in the North-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
The union is also demanding a probe into the utilisation of the funds disbursed for the operations.
This is coming even as the Secretary to Borno state Government (SSG), Baba Ahmed Jidda, revealed yesterday that the state government has spent over N10 billion in tackling the security challenges in the state.
The NLC, in a statement issued yesterday by its National President, Abdulwaheed Omar, also called for measures to properly equip and encourage the security personnel in the carrying out their duties in the areas.
“We are disturbed that despite huge resource allocations to security, the issue remains a serious challenge in Nigeria with the re-cent ambush and assassination of the Emir of Gwoza, Idrissa Timta, who was in company of two other emirs on their way to Gombe for the funeral rites of their late colleague, the Emir of Gombe, Alhaji Usman Shehu Abubakar, who died earlier at a London hospital.
“It is worrisome that these attacks are increasing, even as the Minister of Finance recently announced that N130 billion had been spent on security, especially on the military who have been saddled with the responsibility of confronting the prevailing armed insurgency in the North East by the Boko Haram insurgents”, it said.
The union further expressed worry over how the attacks were carried out, despite numerous security check points and the number of security personnel deployed in the zone.
“We believe government and indeed, all Nigerians must take interest in what could be the obstacles to our collective resolve and commitment to the war on terror that has all but brought socio-economic activities in parts of the country to a halt.
“We therefore call on President Goodluck Jonathan, as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces to institute a full scale, transparent, thorough and unbiased investigation on the activities and challenges of our security forces, especially in the North-east.
“We also call on the National Assembly to probe the financial allocations to the military and the utilization of these allocations, for clearly, the murder of the Emir of Gwoza has exposed the soft underbelly of these operations”, the statement urged.
In another development, the Borno SSG, in an interactive session with journalists in Maiduguri, said the state has received only N200 million contributions from the federal government since 2011.
Jidda explained that the money was spent in procurement of armoured personnel carriers, patrol vehicles, hundreds of trailers of petroleum products, provision of material logistics and intervention on area of accommodation to support security agencies in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency.
He said the state had earlier decided not to make public its expenditures on the fight against Boko Haram because Governor Kashim Shettima always restrained officials in order not to be viewed as embarrassing the federal government.
He said this was because funding security falls under the exclusive legislative list which makes it a constitutional obligation of the federal government.
The SSG said, however, that Governor Shettima reversed his earlier position given series of allegations leveled against the state by mischief makers, that the state government was not supporting the military.
“First of all, let me say we were pushed into making public, these things I am about to say. For three years we dealt with these challenges without any noise since the government was doing it for Borno people. Some people are being made to assume that a certain security vote is provided to state governments, this is not true.
“No state gets a dime from FAAC as security vote. Every State makes its own budget it intends to spend from its own normal allocations.
For security, no external funds from the Federal Government accrues to any state”, Jidda said.
“For us in Borno, we have spent over ten billion naira in the last three years to support security agencies in the counter-insurgency.
This doesn’t include our losses. We have lost thousands of citizens and in terms of material loss, we might be talking in tens of billions and in all of these Borno has received only N200 million from the federal government as support even we have been co-funding the security that is exclusive preserve of the federal government”, he declared.