The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has warned that the rapid advance of extremist Boko Haram in Borno and Adamawa States threaten the reputation of the Nigerian military, and has urged the government to do all it can to reverse the tide.
The NLC said the federal government must urgently provide funding and other support needed by the armed forces to address an expanding insurgency that has killed more than 13,000 and has displaced hundreds of thousands.
The remarks are contained in a statement issued Monday by the NLC President, Abdulwahed Omar.
The NLC said it was worried about the recent incursion into some towns and villages, especially in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe in the North East region of the country, by insurgents.
It said that the violent attacks, reported seizures of communities and declaration of an Islamic republic, remain unacceptable and must never be allowed.
The congress also expressed concern at the speed with which the insurgents were overrunning communities even in areas reported to have heavy security presence.
Boko Haram has made vital gains in the last two weeks, sweeping through communities in Borno and Adamawa States, as soldiers struggle to keep them away.
Between Saturday and Sunday, the group seized Gulak, a town in Adamawa, the secretary to the state government said.
The insurgents had earlier taken over Gwoza, Bama, and some other parts of neighbouring Borno State.
The NLC called for an urgent intervention in the funding and provision of adequate equipment to the armed forces and proper policing of communities across the country.
The group said failure to ensure adequate funding of security agencies would be a monumental discredit to government under whose direction and authority the overall safety of all citizens was constitutionally placed.
It warned that the consequence of allowing any part of the country to be forcefully seized by any group would be overwhelmingly harmful to the collective unity and socio economic advancement of the country.
“It is time the armed forces prove their preparedness to protect and defend the Nigerian people and their territories by using all within their armoury to protect our territorial integrity,” the NLC said.
“We believe government can do more in ensuring the troops are well-kitted with modern weapons and all that is required to fight contemporary wars as the situation has obviously moved beyond mere insurgency,’’ the statement said.
It said that the credibility and professional image of the armed forces was also at stake globally.
The statement noted that the country’s forces have been widely acclaimed to have performed well during peace keeping operations in different parts of the world to be overrun by insurgents back home.
“We must never allow any part of Nigeria to be subjected to perpetual fear and nightmares, which the entire north east seem to have been boxed into,’’ said the statement.
The statement also commended the commitment of the security agencies to combat insurgency in the country.
Besides, the congress said that every part of the country was as important as other parts.
“Our collective interests and future would be subjugated if any part is taken by anti-Nigeria forces,’’ it said.