A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria has called for the boycott of Democracy Day and a march in protest against the rising insecurity in the country.
In a joint statement endorsed by 125 CSOs and private individuals on Sunday, May 9, the coalition bemoaned the spate of insecurity, rising higher than it was in 2020.
According to the Global Terrorism Index, no fewer than 1,606 people were killed in 125 fatal incidents, an average of 13 per incident in 2020, as Nigeria ranked third-most terrorised country in the world.
“Following its sharp increase of 43 per cent in mass atrocities 2020, Nigeria has continued to experience a decline in security across the nation,” the joint statement said.
“In the first quarter of 2021(January to March), we recorded an all-time quarterly high of almost 2000 fatalities from mass atrocities incidents across the country.”
The coalition said it was appalled that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had failed to key into the issues raised in its February statement that demanded that the President resign or the National Assembly initiate his impeachment for the country’s insecurity.
“Gross injustices by President Buhari’s government against the Nigerian people such that peaceful protesters are threatened and attacked by the government’s security agents while terrorists carrying out mass murder, rape, maiming and kidnapping of Nigerians including women and children are feted, mollycoddled, granted ‘amnesty’ and paid by the government.”
The coalition said granting amnesty was “tantamount to funding and supporting terrorists, encouraging murder and the decimation of Nigeria’s gallant troops and amounts to treason against the Nigerian State and people.”
The group said terrorist herder attacks on unarmed farming communities and reprisal attacks kept recurring because of government inaction and failure to bring the criminal herdsmen and their funders to justice.
It added that the terror war in the Northwest, “irresponsibly tagged by the government as ‘banditry’” indicated the government’s bid to downplay the large-scale criminality, and “industrial-scale” kidnappings and extrajudicial killings by state security agents in various forms of inter-ethnic violence and menace of political cult gangs and ethnic militia.
According to the group, President Buhari failed to end impunity for abuse of power and sectionalism through his appointments by balancing the need for competence with the federal character principle.
He also failed to take responsibility and end the persecution of the media and free speech, mobilise the rich Nigerian assets to address the insecurity situation across the country, or seek international cooperation to ramp up security assets, the group alleged.
This, it said, called for mass actions.
“We are therefore calling on all Nigerians to register their displeasure with the state of affairs across the country by participating in a series of mass actions from Monday the 26th of May 2021, participate in solemn assemblies across the country to commemorate the 4th National Day of Mourning and Remembrance of Victims of Mass Atrocities on May 28th 2021 and boycott all Democracy Day activities on May 29, 2021, in protest of the deplorable state of our democracy,” the statement said.
“We again call on Muhammadu Buhari led national government and the state governments to rise up to their constitutional duties as enshrined in S14(2)(b), to ensure the security and welfare of all Nigerians, and pull the nation back from the path of destruction.”
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