By Henry Uche
Following the socio-economic and Political unrest in the country in recent time, Civil Society Organiztions (CSOs) have made a demand from federal government to put a stop the unfortunate incidents happening in the country.
In a communique delivered by Civil Society Joint Action Coalition which comprises: Global Rights; 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) among others, the group said, the federal government should rise up to its inevitable responsibility of Protection life and properties as enshrined in the constitution or abdicate its offices.
According to the letter, they said, “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 organizations, 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 organize 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; granting 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.
The CSOs affirmed that, “Federal government should 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.
They added that Nigeria is completely under policed and 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. 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 Defense, 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 pauperized 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, this is not what we bargained.
“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. Since, armed robbery, kidnapping and murder or culpable homicide are state offences. All arrested suspected should be prosecuted by State Attorney Generals.”