Nigerian Lives Matter: A Call to the Federal Government of Nigeria to Fulfill its Primary Constitutional Responsibility of Securing the Nation

Friday, April 1, 2022

 

We, as civil society organisations and citizen groups across Nigeria note with concern the worsening state of insecurity in Nigeria. We, therefore, call on the government to take urgent steps to fulfil its constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property as enunciated in Section 14 (2) (b) and Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended); and in fulfilment of its obligation under Article 3 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

 

This call has become necessary in the face of escalating attacks and wanton killing of thousands of Nigerians in different parts of the country.  Most recently, in the past month being the bombing of the Abuja-Kaduna train and the Gidan train station; the brazen attack on the Kaduna airport, the take-over of the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway Road by terrorist groups; the siege on nine communities in Giwa Local Government Area Kaduna state which resulted in the loss of over 100 lives, with an unspecified number of persons abducted from their homes during that invasion; the increased attacks in South-East Nigeria, in particular, Imo state; the attack on Nnewi South LGA of Anambra state and the burning of the LGA secretariat; the escalation of gang wars in Lagos and Ogun state; the killing of over 65 persons in Kebbi state; the attack on Kwali Area Council of the FCT and the abduction of a traditional ruler. The list appears endless.

 

All of these signal a total collapse of the country’s security architecture.  The apparent nonchalance by the government evidenced by its unending fruitless statements raises concerns about its commitment to ending this siege that continually compromises our individual and collective security as Nigerians. We are appalled to note that despite the continued assurance by the Presidency and the nation’s Security Chiefs that the country had technically defeated terrorists, and that the nation had become considerably safer, our experiential reality as shown in the few examples shared above tells a different story.  Nigerians are increasingly living in constant fear and are apprehensive of becoming victims of mass atrocities both in public and private spaces.  They can no longer sleep at home in peace or travel without fear of being abducted or killed. Parents are choosing to keep their children away from schools for fear of them being abducted. No one feels safe.

 

While we commend the National Assembly for its proactive steps to summon the heads of security agencies who are directly saddled with the responsibility of securing Nigerians, we note their timidity in assertively demanding that the Presidency and service chief be accountable. We strongly condemn the failure of the service chiefs to honour the invitation by the National Assembly as it underscores their lack of accountability to the People that they have sworn to protect, and the level of priority they attach to their duty of securing our lives as Nigerians. We, therefore, urge The National Assembly to be bolder in its oversight function and demand accountability of the Executive and its agents.

 

We note the associated violence and mass atrocities that have over the years characterised Nigeria’s electioneering process on the altar of politicians’ ambitions. Particularly, in the year running up to the general elections and therefore warn our politicians to desist from combusting our already flammable polity.

 

We note with a sense of deep sadness, the government’s failure to gauge the mood of the nation, when right after the Abuja-Kaduna train bombing, it focused its energy on mobilizing supporters for the World Cup Qualifying match, shutting down government offices by 1pm on the day of the match and providing free buses to supporters with great fanfare. Worse still, failing to honour our recently departed compatriots by a simple act of mandating players and officials to wear black armbands in their honour.

 

While we appreciate the media’s constraints in the face of continued repression of press freedoms by the government, and the financial constraints of conducting detailed investigations, we remind them that as the 4th realm of government, they owe Nigerians a duty of timely truth, of demanding accountability of duty bearers and amplifying citizen voices and healthy debates on the building and preservation of our nationhood.

Given the foregoing, we call on the government to take urgent and deliberate action to:

  • Live up to its constitutional duty of ensuring the security and welfare of all Nigerians;
  • Review the nation’s security architecture and be more proactive in building the capacity of intelligence agencies;
  • To be humane in its actions as mandated by Section 17(2)(c) of our constitution;
  • Account for the abducted, the missing, and the dead in the Abuja-Kaduna train bombing;
  • Take immediate action to rescue all abducted persons;
  • Conduct an independent inquiry into the immediate and remote circumstances that enabled the successful bombing of the train; and in particular, to investigate the claim by the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to the effect that some persons frustrated his efforts towards providing critical surveillance infrastructure for the rail track with a view to identifying the people that are deliberately sabotaging government efforts; as well as
  • Take deliberate action through responsible leadership in addressing the immediate and remote circumstances that are festering terrorism and other forms of mass atrocities across the country.

 

Finally, we call on all Nigerians to remain vigilant, there’s no better time than now for us all to unite in demanding accountability from the government. It is apparent that we are in a state of active warfare, and that this war is against ‘we the people of Nigeria’: young, old, southern, Eastern, Western and Northern. Therefore, we must all rise to contend for the soul of our country from the hands of insurgents and political miscreants. We must all take particular care to refrain from misinformation that will escalate insecurity, and be bold in our call to collectively demand accountability from the government, knowing that no one is safe till everyone is safe.

God bless Nigeria

Signed:

 

Accountability Lab Nigeria
African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD)
African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL)
Alliances for Africa
Amaka Chiwuike-Uba Foundation (ACUF)
Building Blocks for Peace Foundation (BBFORPEACE)
CEE-HOPE Nigeria
Centre for Accountability and Inclusive Development (CAAID)
Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), West Africa
Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED)
Centre for Impact Advocacy  (CiA)
Centre for Information and Technology Development (CITAD)
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
CLEEN Foundation
Connecting Gender for development(COGEN)
Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA)
Dorothy Njemanze Foundation (DNF)
EE Centre
Elixir Trust Foundation
Engage Diaspora Foundation
Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE Nigeria)
FEMBUD
Gender and Community Empowerment Initiative (GECOME)
Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative (GERI)
Gender Relevance Initiative Promotion (GRIP)
Global Rights
Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF)
Help Initiative for Social Justice and Humanitarian Development
Highfortress On Economic & Civil Liberty Initiative (HECLI)
Initiative for Social Development in Africa (iSODAF)
Make A Difference Initiative
NOPRIN Foundation
OnlineHubNG
Partners West Africa – Nigeria (PWAN)
Proactive Gender Initiative (PGI)
Rainbow Watch and Development Centre (RWDC)
Raising New Voices Initiative
Rape is a Crime
Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC)
Safe Space Initiative
SBM Intelligence
Sesor Empowerment Foundation
Spaces for Change
Tap Nitiative
Vision Spring Initiatives, Lagos Nigeria
We The People- a Centre for Social Studies and Development
Women Advocate Research and Documentation Centre
Women Africa

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