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Coalition of 68 Civil Society groups demands urgent action on security, says Buhari “has failed to protect Nigerians”

A coalition of 68 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Sunday declared that “this government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, has failed to protect Nigerians.”

Saying that it is the “primary duty” of government under Section 14 (2)b of the 1999 Constitution to provide for the welfare and security of Nigerians, the coalition said it holds “President Buhari solely responsible as the buck stops at his desk. 

The 68 Civil Society organisations therefore called on President Buhari to take immediate steps to provide political and moral leadership for the security crisis and ensure governmental actions are humane in tandem with Section 17 (2) ( C ) of the Constitution;

Other demands of the group include the following:

“The Nigeria Police Council established by section 153 of the Constitution is constituted by the President, IGP, Chair of Police Service Commission and the 36 state governors. The NPC is empowered by the Construction to administer organise and supervise the Nigeria Police Force. The NPC should be called to meet regularly to address the crisis of insecurity

“End impunity for abuse of power and sectionalism through his appointments by balancing the need for competence with the federal character principle. In this way, he will demonstrate that every part of Nigeria matters as sectional appointments appear to fuel sectional violence;

“Amnesty for terrorists and abductors should stop. Huge ransom paid to criminal gangs is used to purchase arms and ammunition to attack communities. As security  is technology driven the Government must acquire the necessary equipment to deal with the menace of terrorism, banditry and abduction.

“Take responsibility and end the persecution of the media and free speech both of which are foundations of a democratic state.

“Mobilize  our rich Nigerian assets to address the insecurity situation across the country and seek international cooperation to ramp up security assets. And

“Where the President fails to fulfill his constitutional duties as stated above, we demand he steps aside or  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.”

The coalition, in its statement titled ‘National Security: Buhari & Governors Have So Far Failed,’ noted that “Nigeria is in dire straits.  All over the country, Nigerian citizens, including children, are killed daily by terrorists and criminals as well as in extra-judicial killings by state actors with the government doing little or nothing about it. The government, through the Minister of Defence, has instead callously abdicated its responsibility and called Nigerian citizens ‘cowards’ and urged Nigerians to ‘defend themselves’.

“Kidnapping for ransom has assumed an industrial and deadly scale never witnessed on the African continent. Our children are no longer safe in schools and Nigerian citizens and communities are now pauperised by terrorists who extort huge ransoms while murdering their hostages. We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, what has now become the government’s standard state policy of using taxpayers’ money to pay terrorists thereby funding and encouraging terrorism and criminality. 

President Buhari and his government have failed in their primary duty under Section 14 2(b) of the 1999 Constitution which is ensuring the security and welfare of the Nigerian people. Instead, under their watch, Nigeria is now a catalogue of bloodletting with:

“The unending war in the North East with our troops often bearing the brunt of this government’s security failures;

“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, molly coddled, granted ‘amnesty’ and paid by the government. This is tantamount to funding and supporting terrorists, encouraging murder and the decimation of the Nigeria’s gallant troops and amounts to treason against the Nigerian State and people;

“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;

“Large scale terrorist attacks in the North West irresponsibly tagged by the government as ‘banditry’ in a bid to downplay their criminality;

“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.

The coalition therefore stated that “Section 14 of the Constitution has imposed a duty on the State i.e Federal Government, States & Local Governments. All Governments should invest in the security of life and property of every citizen. And since, armed robbery, kidnapping and murder or culpable homicide are state offences.  All arrested suspected should be prosecuted by State Attorney Generals

“Nigeria is completely under policed. As a matter of urgency, more security personnel should be employed, trained and motivated to defend the society. When an American citizen was recently kidnapped in Niger State no ransom was paid. Yet, a team of US troops  invaded the country, killed two of the kidnappers and freed the abducted American!

“We remain hopeful as citizens of Nigeria and call on all Nigerians to keep hope alive as we bond together and build a nation where true peace and justice reign.”

Some of the signatories to the statement include Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Centre for Democratic Research and Training (CRDDERT), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), Socio-Economic Right and Accountability Project (SERAP), Zero-Corruption Coalition (ZCC), Partners on Electoral Reform, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), National Procurement Watch Platform, Praxis Center, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civil Education (CHRICED), Social Action and Community Action for Popular Participation

Others include Borno Coalition for Democracy and Progress (BOCODEP), Global Rights, Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE), YIAGA Africa, Tax Justice and Governance Platform, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria, Women In Nigeria, African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD), Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre(RULAAC), Women Advocate Research And Documentation Centre, Community Life Project, Nigerian Feminist Forum, Alliances for Africa, Spaces  for Change, Nigerian Women Trust Fund, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa and 38 other organiisations.

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