AFRICA/NIGERIA - Massacres and kidnappings: Civil society alliance calls for a state of emergency to be declared

Tuesday, 30 January 2024 violence   kidnappings   civil society   terrorism  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) – The declaration of a state of emergency to combat growing insecurity in the country is the appeal launched on January 29 by a coalition of 48 civil society organizations to the President of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu through Auwal Musa, executive director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC).
"Civil society organizations in Nigeria (...) are deeply concerned by the deteriorating state of security across Nigeria and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and therefore call on the Nigerian government to take actionable steps to end the endemic insecurity, mitigate further attacks by kidnap syndicates and terrorist groups, and, account for persons missing in these attacks", said Musa. According to Musa, insecurity in Nigeria has increased dramatically in the last fifteen years due to a series of violent activities in the form of terrorist attacks throughout the northern region of the country, banditry in the North West, violence among farmers and herdsmen in the Middle Belt, secessionist movements in the South East, piracy on the southern coast of the country, conflicts between different communities, political violence as well as violence by religious groups and kidnappings. Endemic insecurity has persisted over the last three administrations. including that of President Buhari, who as a former military general, had gained public trust to run as president by promising to curb the then fledgling insecurity. Mass atrocities fatality tracking across the country by Nigeria Mourns reveals that in President Buhari’s second term alone (2019 to 2023) at least 24,816 Nigerians lost their lives, and at least 15,597 persons were abducted. "It has now been 8 months since President Tinubu took his oath of office and yet, things have failed to improve", said the statement read by Musa and signed by the 48 civil society organizations. "Our tracking shows at least 2,423 people have been killed in mass atrocities-related incidents and at least 1,872 persons were abducted since the beginning of President Tinubu’s administration till January 26, 2024. We are particularly concerned about the upsurge in abductions, noting that at least 230 incidents, in most of which multiple victims were involved, occurred within the first 2 weeks of January 2024 alone (see Fides, 2/1/2024). "The government has continued to fail in its primary duty of ensuring the security and welfare of all citizens as mandated in Section 14(2) (b) of the Constitution, and in its obligation to enforce and fulfil its citizens’ right to life, according to Section 33 of the Constitution", the statement continued. Civil society organizations therefore call on President Bola Tinubu to "fulfil its constitutional imperative of safeguarding the lives of all citizens; declare a state of emergency on kidnapping and other forms of terrorism". Other measures requested include: improving the country's security infrastructure; Uncover and prosecute those responsible for the misappropriation of the 5460 million earmarked for the provision of CCTV cameras in the Federal Capital Territory; Create a register of victims of abductions and other forms of mass atrocities; investigate the financial flow of organized criminal groups and identify the sponsors and beneficiaries. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 30/1/2024)