Over 100 Groups Call For Protests, Boycott Of Democracy Day Activities Over Insecurity

A group of individuals, human rights societies and non-governmental organisations under the auspices of Joint Action Civil Society Coalition/Nigeria Mourns Secretariat has called on Nigerian citizens to embark on a series of mass actions to demonstrate their displeasure against President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

The group described this as necessary, saying the country under Buhari’s watch has been plunged into catastrophic security crisis.

It therefore asked Nigerians to boycott Democracy Day activities as the nation has lost its democratic values.

This was contained in a press statement released by the group and made available to SaharaReporters by human rights lawyer, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu on Sunday.

In the statement entitled: ‘State of the Nation: A Call to President Muhammadu Buhari to the Stop the Bleeding and Take Action to End the Carnage,’ the group enumerated a catalogue of security issues in the country, which saw Nigeria recording nearly 2, 000 deaths between January and March.   

Starting the statement with #NigeriaBleeds, the group noted that there are extrajudicial killings of citizens by security agents, thereby urging the President to address the issue, among others.

Over 100 groups signed the statement including Action Aid, Advocacy Cenre for Development, Bimbo Odukoya Foundation, CEE-Hope Nigeria, Concerned Nigerians, Daria Media Foundation, Women’s Right Health Project and Enough Is Enough (EiE) Nigeria.

“Following its sharp increase of 43% in mass atrocities 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 2, 000 fatalities from mass atrocities incidents across the country. 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.

“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, inter-ethnic violence; and menace of political cult gangs and ethnic militia; and in that statement we had called on the government of General Muhammadu Buhari to take immediate actions 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 statement read partly.

The group reiterated that the Presidency has abused its democratic powers, by muzzling the media and free speech and hounding those criticising the inadequacies of the present administration. 

“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.

“Take responsibility and end the persecution of the media and free speech both of which are foundations of a democratic state.Mobilise 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.

“We are appalled to note that despite our strongly-worded statement, President Buhari’s government has failed to heed our call to fulfil 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 28, 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,” the statement added.

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