CSOs urge Tinubu to declare state of emergency on insecurity

CIVIL society organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria have appealed to President Bola Tinubu to declare a state of emergency on the nation’s insecurity. 

Expressing concerns over worsening wave of insecurity across the country, the group advised the Federal Government to further recommit to tackling the menace.

The CSOs, under the auspices of Civil Society Joint Action Group, stated this during a world press briefing on Monday, January 29, in the Federal Capital City, Abuja.

While highlighting the implications of insecurity that had overwhelmed the country, particularly in the northern region, the organisations offered 11-point recommendation for the Federal Government.

The ICIR reports that Nigeria has continued to grapple with cases of insecurity, with many citizens reported dead and over 380 persons kidnapped between December 1, 2023, and January 3, 2024, across the country under President Bola Tinubu.

With the recent cases of kidnapping and ethno-communal clashes in Plateau state, the country has been further plunged into crisis, leading many Nigerians and stakeholders to question the competence of the competence of the Tinubu-led Federal Government.

Briefing journalists on the state of insecurity in the nation, the Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa, stated that several forms of insecurity had jeopardised Nigerians’ well-being and progressively deteriorated over the years.

Musa said insecurity had been endemic and longstanding in the last three administrations, noting that in the second term of the Buhari government, no fewer than 24,816 Nigerians lost their lives, and at least 15,597 persons were abducted, according to Mass atrocities, fatality tracking across the country by one of the CSOs – Nigeria Mourns.

He highlighted that the trend had continued despite Tinubu’s assurance at the beginning of his presidency in May 2023 to tackle insecurity. 

“It has now been eight months since President Tinubu took his 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 persons were abducted since the beginning of President Tinubu’s administration till January 26, 2024. We are particularly concerned about the upsurge in abductions, noting that at least 230 incidents, in most of which multiple victims were involved, occurred within the first two weeks of January 2024 alone,” the statement added.

“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. Residents are being forced to flee due to repeated attacks by terrorists, kidnappers and other organised criminal groups. Kidnapping for ransom demands has become a disturbing norm, without appropriate response from the authorities,” he said

While listing different attacks recorded in the past few weeks, Musa stated that road ambushes made interstate travel more perilous for citizens.

“Reported incidents such as the abduction of 30 passengers near Katari along the Kaduna-Abuja highway and the kidnapping of 45 passengers in Orkam on the Benue-Enugu route underscore the gravity of the situation. Even homes are no longer safe. Homes in rural communities in Northern Nigeria have for over a decade contended with terror pillages, and more recently, urban centres, including the Federal Capital Territory, have witnessed a surge in invasions in which citizens are being abducted for ransom even within the confines of their homes,” he noted.

According to him, many families have resorted to public crowdfunding to pay ransom due to the failure of law enforcement agencies.

In the same vein, the Executive Director of Cedar Seed Foundation stated that the organisation was dismayed with the willingness of some political leaders and politically exposed persons to support ransom payments publicly, adding that their actions and utterances reflect a lack of faith in the system of which they are guardians.

According to her, their stance would embolden perpetrators and further erode citizens’ trust in their government’s capacity and sincerity.

    She also pointed out the plight of people living with disabilities, who would be unable to run for safety when faced with insecurity, particularly kidnappings on highways.

    “Obtaining education has become a risky venture for learners, teachers, and parents due to school abductions. Businesses are also suffering from the effects of this state of affairs.

    “Farming communities are losing their resilience against perennial pillages, and traders can no longer ply roads safely. Foreigners no longer feel safe to visit and invest, and far too many resources that could have been invested in businesses are being paid out as ransoms and fortifying private security,” she said.

    Setting agenda for the Federal Government

    Meanwhile, the group urged the Federal Government to urgently secure Nigerians’ lives by doing the following:

    • Fulfil its constitutional imperative of safeguarding the lives of all citizens;
    • Declare a state of emergency on kidnapping and other forms of terrorism;
    • Enhance the country’s security infrastructure by conducting an audit of the responsibility matrix within security agencies and departments of government, bolster their capabilities and deploy requisite technology to address the evolving challenges of insecurity effectively;
    • Promptly prosecute the 400 sponsors of terrorism arrested under the Buhari regime and prosecute those responsible for the misappropriation of the $460 million earmarked for the provision of CCTV cameras in the Federal Capital Territory:
    • Implement more decisive measures to secure the release of all abducted victims promptly;
    • Create a register of victims of abductions and other forms of mass atrocities;
    • Recognise and address the floundering economy, corruption and human rights violations as factors exacerbating of Nigeria’s insecurity;
    • Engage citizens on best practices for ending insecurity, including disincentivising the payment of ransoms.
    • Provide holistic psychosocial support for abduction survivors and their families;
    • Promptly investigate and decisively prosecute all individuals implicated in fueling insecurity;
    • Investigate the financial flow of organised criminal groups and identify the sponsors and beneficiaries.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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