From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Over 70 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have declared that both the federal and states government have failed in their responsibility to keep the country secure from incessant banditry, kidnappings, armed robbery and terrorism.
The CSOs, who expressed concern about the level of insecurity, called on the National Assembly to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to perform his duty of protecting the lives and property of Nigerians.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, the CSOs, warned that amnesty for terrorists and kidnappers should stop, insisting that the huge ransom paid to criminal gangs is used to purchase arms and ammunition to attack Nigerians.
It described as callous the call by Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi that Nigerians should not “be cowards” but to stand up to armed bandits.
“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 has 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. 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; 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; take responsibility and end the persecution of the media and free speech both of which are foundations of a democratic state; mobilise 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.”