A group of civil society organisations has condemned the federal and state governments for encouraging terrorism and abduction through ransom and amnesty for criminals and asked them to stop forthwith.
The 68 CSOs in a statement titled, “National Security: Buhari, governors have so far failed”, a copy of which was made available to Firstcallnewsonline on Sunday, noted that the federal government had callously abdicated its responsibility by calling Nigerian citizens ‘cowards’ and urging them to ‘defend themselves’.
They further stated that ‘government’s standard state policy of using taxpayers’ money to pay terrorists thereby funding and encouraging terrorism and criminality’, is an indication of failure.
The condemnation is coming on the heels of perceived governments’ payment of ransom to bandits for release of kidnap victims, especially across the North where cases of abduction is prevalent.
According to the CSOs, “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” but allowed Nigeria to become a catalogue of bloodletting.
“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,” the statement reads.
They advised Buhari 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.”
Read the full text below:
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.
Furthermore, Section 14 of the Constitution has imposed a duty on the State i.e FG, States & LGs. 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!
This government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, has failed to protect Nigerians as is their primary duty under Section 14 (2)b of the 1999 Constitution and we hold President Buhari solely responsible as the buck stops at his desk. As Civil Society organisations, we call on the President 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;
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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
- Community Action for Popular Participation
- 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
- BudgiT Foundation
- State of the Union (SOTU)
- Action International Nigeria
- Femi Falana Chamber
- HEDA Resource Centre
- Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution
- Organization Community Civic Engagement(OCCEN)
- Say NO Campaign—Nigeria
- Women In Media
- Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF)
- Sesor Empowerment Foundation
- House of Justice
- Molluma Medico-Legal Center
- Open Bar Initiative
- Tap N’Itiative
- Partners West Africa, Nigeria (PWAN)
- We The People
- Lex Initiative for Rights Advocacy and Development (LIRAD Nigeria)
- Centre for Impact Advocacy
- Dorothy Njemanze Foundation
- Raising New Voices Initiative
- Haly Hope Foundation
- Centre for Liberty
- Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution
- Adopt a Goal for Development Initiative
- Education as a Vaccine
- Stand to End Rape
- Invictus Africa
- Dinidari Foundation
- International Peace and Civic Responsibility Centre (IPCRC)
- Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development (FENRAD)
- Mowalek Centre for Sustainable Community Development
- Silverchip Fox
- Connected Development
- Srarina Initiative for Peace, Justice and Development (SIPJAD)