By Sunday Oyinloye
Disturbed by the deteriorating security situation in Nigeria, a coalition of 48 Civil Society Organisations says the attitude of the government towards addressing insecurity is encouraging bandits and other criminal elements to continue their mass atrocities even as the coalition fingers corruption as another factor that makes the battle against terrorists appear to be a war that cannot be won.
It fears that the entire country is slowly grinding to a halt due to insecurity
Addressing a World Press Conference in Abuja today, the CSOs lament that Nigerians have been left at the mercy of criminal elements who daily kill or kidnap them, and collect ransoms when indeed they could be tracked, stressing that those in authorities appear to have compromised.
The CSOs in their address read by the Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani and President Network of Women with Disabilities, Lois Auta said endemic insecurity has persisted over the last three administrations including that of President Muhammadu Buhari who as a former Military General had gained public trust to run as President to be able to curb insecurity.
The coalition however laments that “In President Buhari’s second term alone (2019-2023) 24,816 Nigerians lost their lives and at least 15,597 persons were abducted.
“This alarming trend has continued in spite of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s assurance to tackle insecurity. It has now been 8 months since President Tinubu took oath of office and yet things have failed to improve. Our tracking shows at least 2,423 people have been killed in mass atrocities related incidents and at least 1,872 were abducted since the beginning of President Tinubu’s administration till January 26, 2024,
“Several communities across the country including the Federal Capital Territory, the seat of government itself are under siege with entire families and in some cases communities taken hostage” It said
The coalition which condemned the killings in Plateau, Katsina, Benue and other parts of the country disclosed that road ambushes have made interstate travels more perilous and many businesses negatively affected, adding that since business owners in Nigeria cannot operate freely, the quest for direct foreign investment will continue to be a dream, until the security situation of the country is holistically addressed.
It described as pathetic the plight of persons living with disabilities asking “how will a blind person or lame escape during attacks by bandits and other criminal elements?”
While sympathising with victims of atrocities and their families, the coalition wants President Tinubu to as a matter urgency do 12 things which they believe will restore the lost glory of Nigeria as a secured nation.
It advised the President to declare a state of emergency on kidnapping and other forms of acts of terrorism, enhance the country’s security infrastructure by conducting an audit of the responsibility matrix within security agencies and departments of governments, deploy technology to effectively address the evolving challenges of insecurity, prompt prosecution of the 400 sponsors of terrorism arrested under Buahri administration and uncover as well as prosecute those responsible for the misappropriation of the $460 million earmarked for the provision of CCTV camera in the Federal Capital Territory.
The coalition also wants the President to implement decisive measures to promptly secure the release of all abducted victims, create a register of victims of abductions and other forms of mass atrocities , engage citizens on best practices for ending insecurity including discouraging the payment of ransoms, investigates and prosecute all implicated in fuelling insecurity, and investigation of the financial flow of organised criminal groups and identify the sponsors and beneficiaries among others.
It called on the government to fulfill its primary duty of protecting lives as mandated by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.