Nigeria lost over 2,000 citizens to worsening insecurity in the first quarter of 2021, Civil Society Organisations have said.
The Joint Action Civil Society Coalition, comprising 125 nongovernmental organisations berated the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for its inability to curtail the disturbing security challenges confronting the nation.
The CSOs stated this in a joint statement titled, “State of the Nation: A Call to President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the bleeding and take action to end the carnage,” made available to one of our correspondents in Abuja on Sunday.
Some of the CSOs, which signed the statement, are Civil Society Coalition on Sustainable Development, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Community Women’s Rights Foundation and Yiaga Africa.
They also include Gender Development Initiative, Nigerian Feminists Forum, Women Youths and Children Advancement Programme and the Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development.
They called on all Nigerians to register their displeasure with the state of affairs across the country by participating in a series of mass actions from Monday, May 26, 2021.
They also encouraged Nigerians to participate in solemn assemblies across the country to commemorate the 4th National Day of mourning and remembrance of victims of mass atrocities on May 28, 2021.
They asked all citizens to boycott all Democracy Day activities on May 29, 2021 in protest against the deplorable state of the nation’s democracy.
Part of the statement read, “Following its sharp increase of 43 per cent in mass atrocities in 2020, Nigeria has continued to experience a decline in security across the nation.
“In the first quarter of 2021(January to March), we recorded an all-time quarterly high of almost 2000 fatalities from mass atrocities incidents across the country.
“This week, across the six geopolitical zones, there were escalated combustions of violence resulting in even more deaths.”
The CSOs noted that they highlighted the various forms of insecurities which were leading to loss of lives across the country, in their last joint statement issued in February 2021.
Some of them, according to the CSOs, include, the unending war in the North-East and attacks on peaceful protesters by security agents while terrorists carry out mass murder, rape, maiming and kidnapping of Nigerians including women and children.
The groups noted with concern that terrorists were being granted ‘amnesty’ and got 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,” they added.
The statement also cited cases of 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, as causes of loss of innocent lives.
Other instances they cited were, “Large scale terrorist attacks in the North West irresponsibly tagged by the government as ‘banditry’ in a bid to downplay their criminality.”
Also, the BBC reported that residents stated that at least 100 were killed in Shadadi town in the Mariga Local Government Area of Niger State on Wednesday.
The British medium, however, stated that the 100 might include abductees.
The report read in part, “Some residents of Niger State in Central Nigeria told the BBC that gunmen attacked their towns on Wednesday, killing many people and kidnapping over 100. The Wednesday attack came just days after Governor Abubakar Bello confirmed that Boko Haram was active in his state.
“The worst affected by the latest attack is Shadadi town in the Mariga Local Government Area where eyewitnesses say thousands fled after what happened.
“According to the people in Shadadi, those killed in the Wednesday attack reached 100 although the Niger State government has not come out to deny the number, they are compiling figures.”
Although the Niger State government had failed to provide a figure last week, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, said during a webinar hosted by Lagos based Pastor, Ituah Ighodalo, that he was informed by the Niger State governor that over 40 people were abducted in Agaie community, one of the towns attacked.
El-Rufai had said, “What is happening in Zamfara and Katsina states is much worse than what has ever happened in Kaduna State. I spoke to the governor of Niger State just a few moments ago and he told me that 40 people were kidnapped in Agaie yesterday (Wednesday).”