By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
AGAINST the backdrop of the worsening security situation in the country, the Trade Union Congress, TUC, has asked the 36 state governors to render account on how they have been spending humongous amount set aside for security votes over the years.
TUC also told me governors to stop making security matters shrouded in secrecy.
This is as it has told the Federal Government to begin immediate process of cutting down cost of governance either by scrapping the Senate or House of Representatives rather than paying lip service to the matter.
National Treasurer of TUC, who doubles as President-General of the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government-Owned Companies (SSASCGOC), Mohammad Yunusa, stated this yesterday in an interview with select journalists in Abuja.
Fielding question on what labour unions were doing to help government in fighting insecurity,
Yunusa said, ”Let us look at the narratives before now. Government gives security votes to all State governors before now as Chief Security Officer of their States, and before now, that money is not usually accounted for.
”If you ask how they are using it, they will tell you that security matters are shrouded in secrecy, that you don’t need to see what we are doing with it. ”If you’re the chief security officer of a state, and you’re being given security votes, I don’t know how much that is given to you, I don’t know what you’re doing with it, how can I help you to secure the state? I don’t know what your programmes are.
”We are now changing the narratives to say no, if the security is the collective responsibility of every citizen, let the state governors share their plans with the citizens, so that we can key into that plan and secure our state.”
He argued that the only way to reduce insecurity is by fighting poverty in the land, saying investments will continue to elude the country if insecurity challenges are not properly addressed.
According to him, ”We have been saying it that government must cut down the cost of governance. Nobody can say, even the media, how much is spent by the Nigerian government on the bicameral legislature for example. You have the Senate, you have the House of Representatives, and if you look at their functions, they are duplicated.
”So, a government that is serious about cutting down cost, will now say, okay, let’s have only one legislature. Let’s have the unicameral legislature, then scrap House of Representatives for example. Then, whatever you’re pouring to that place, you can save it and divert it to do other things.
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”If you cannot earn more, you can at least save cost. That’s one of the strategies that can revive our economy.
”And then you have to find a way to reduce insecurity. No investor will invest in a place that is not secured, and as long as there are indices of insecurity in Nigeria, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will continue to elude this country. It is a function of government to protect lives and property. If they are unable to do it, that is the huge minus. If you want to grow your economy, you have to provide safety and security.’
”We believe that security issue is a collective duty of the citizens, but we have also been saying that there is a direct link between save economic well-being and security. Poverty spurs criminalities, and if you want to deal with insecurity, part of it is to fight poverty.
“The man that has not seen N2,000 in three months, if you give him N50,000 to go and kill people, he will do it.
”So, we have been saying it and we want to reiterate it that government has to reduce poverty even as a way of fighting criminality.”
Vanguard News Nigeria
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