No fewer than 127 civil society groups in Nigeria on Sunday fixed May 26 for nationwide mass action against the government of President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to stop the bleeding and carnage in Nigeria.
The groups, under the aegis of Joint Action Civil Society Coalition lamented that following its sharp increase of 43% in mass atrocities 2020, Nigeria has continued to experience a decline in security across the nation.
They said in the first quarter of 2021, the nation had recorded an all-time quarterly high of almost 2,000 fatalities from mass atrocities incidents across the country, saying that this week, across the 6 geopolitical zones, there were escalated combustions of violence resulting in even more deaths.
“In our last joint statement, we had issued in February 2021, we had catalogued the assortment of mass atrocities plaguing the country, in particular: 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,” the groups said.
They lamented 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 and inter-ethnic violence and the menace of political cult gangs and ethnic militia.
The groups demanded that Buhari 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.
“He should 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.
“We had also demanded that where the President fails to fulfill his constitutional duties as stated above, that he steps aside, or, that 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 said.
The groups said they were appalled to note that despite their strongly worded statement, President Buhari’s government has failed to heed their call to fulfill his role as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and Nigeria’s democratically elected President.
“We are therefore left with no other option than to take action to drive home our call to the government.
“We are therefore calling on all Nigerians to register their displeasure with the state of affairs across the country by participating a series of mass actions from Monday the 26th of May 2021, participate in solemn assemblies across the country to commemorate the 4th National Day of Mourning and Remembrance of Victims of Mass Atrocities on May 28th 2021 and boycott all Democracy Day activities on May 29, 2021 in protest of the deplorable state of our democracy.
“We again call on Muhammadu Buhari led national government and the state governments to rise up to their constitutional duties as enshrined in S14 (2)(b), to ensure the security and welfare of all Nigerians, and pull the nation back from the path of destruction,” they demanded.