Insecurity: Buhari has abdicated his responsibility-CSOs
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A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) says President Muhammadu Buhari has abdicated his constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property of Nigerians due to his poor handling of rising insecurity in some parts of the country.
The coalition has also condemned the use of taxpayers’ money to pay ransom to criminal elements terrorising school children in the North-West part of the country.
These were contained in a statement made available by the CSOs to The ICIR on Sunday.
“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,” the CSOs said.
“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.”
They alleged that the Buhari’s administration had left Nigerian troops fighting the menace of Boko Haram in the North-East to bear the brunt of his 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, mollycoddled, granted ‘amnesty’ and paid by the government,” parts of the statement read.
Such actions, according to the statement, “was 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.”
The statement equally noted that terrorist/herder attacks on unarmed farming communities and reprisal attacks were a result of “government inaction and failure to bring the terrorist herdsmen and their funders to justice.”
While decrying the alarming rate of industrial-scale kidnappings all across the country, extrajudicial killings by state security agents in various forms, inter-ethnic violence, the menace of political cult gangs and ethnic militia, the statement flayed the large-scale terrorist attacks in the North-West, which the government had “irresponsibly tagged as ‘banditry’ in a bid to downplay their criminality.”
The coalition demanded that the president take urgent and immediate steps to remedy the situations by providing political and moral leadership for the security crisis and ensure governmental actions were humane in tandem with Section 17 (2) ( C ) of the Constitution.
It also asked that the Nigeria Police Council (NPC}, established by section 153 of the Constitution, be empowered to administer, organise and supervise the Nigeria Police Force as stated in the amended 1999 Constitution, adding that the NPC should also be called to meet regularly to address the crisis of insecurity in the country.
They called on the president to “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.”
While tasking Buhari to mobilise the country’s rich assets to address the insecurity situation across the country and seek international cooperation to ramp up security assets, it stressed that “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.”
Also, the coalition asked the president to take responsibility and end the persecution of the media and free speech, both of which were foundations of a democratic state.
In the instance the president failed to uphold his constitutional duties of securing lives, the coalition demanded that “he step aside or the National Assembly should initiate 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.”
Some of the CSOs which signed the statement included the 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), among others.