The Joint Action Civil Society Coalition, comprising 125 non-governmental organisations, has said that over 2000 Nigerians lost their lives in the first quarter of 2021 as a result of the worsening insecurity across the country.
The coalition berated the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for its inability to curtail the disturbing security challenges confronting the nation
The CSOs stated this in a joint statement titled, “State of the Nation: A Call to President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the bleeding and take action to end the carnage,” made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday.
Some of the CSOs which signed the statement are Civil Society Coalition on Sustainable Development, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Community Women’s Rights Foundation and Yiaga Africa.
They also included Gender Development Initiative, Nigerian Feminists Forum, Women Youths and Children Advancement Programme and the Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development, among several others.
They called 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.
They also encouraged Nigerians to 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.
They equally asked all citizens to boycott all Democracy Day activities on May 29, 2021, in protest of the deplorable state of the nation’s democracy.
Part of the statement read, “Following its sharp increase of 43 per cent in mass atrocities in 2020, Nigeria has continued to experience a decline in security across the nation.
“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.
“This week, across the six geopolitical zones, there were escalated combustions of violence resulting in even more deaths.”
The CSOs noted that they highlighted the various forms of insecurities, which were leading to the loss of lives across the country, in its last joint statement issued in February 2021.
Some of them, according to the CSOs, included the unending war in the North-East, and attacks on peaceful protesters by security agents while terrorists carry out mass murder, rape, maiming and kidnapping of Nigerians including women and children.
The groups noted with concern that terrorists were being granted ‘amnesty’ and got paid by the government.
“This is 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,” they added.
The statement also cited cases of terrorist herder attacks on unarmed farming communities and reprisal attacks in the face of government inaction and failure to bring the terrorist herdsmen and their funders to justice, as causes of loss of innocent lives.
Other instances they cited were, “Large scale terrorist attacks in the North-West irresponsibly tagged by the government as ‘banditry’ in a bid to downplay their criminality.”
They also included, “Industrial-scale kidnappings all across the country, extrajudicial killings by State Security agents in various forms, inter-ethnic violence; and menace of political cult gangs and ethnic militia,” among others.
The CSOs noted that in their February statement, “We had also demanded that where the President fails to fulfil his constitutional duties as stated above, that he steps aside, or, that the National Assembly initiates impeachment proceedings against him on grounds of gross misconduct as provided for in Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
They added, “We are appalled to note that despite our strongly-worded statement, President Buhari’s government has failed to heed our call to fulfil his role as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and Nigeria’s democratically elected President.
“We are therefore left with no other option than to take action to drive home our call to the government.
‘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.
“Nigerians should 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.
“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.”