Says democracy in danger
Wants well meaning Nigerians to intervene
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, Monday, condemned attacks on facilities belonging to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and security agents in parts of the country by armed militias.
Speaking with Vanguard on the current spate of insecurity across the country, the Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani, said those who are perpetrating violence and their sponsors are endangering democracy some patriotic Nigerians from the civil society circle and media industry paid the supreme price for it to be restored.
Rafsanjani said: “Those who are doing this they are very conscious of their action, and it is basically to sabotage democracy because if you destroy facilities if Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, you threaten election not to hold, you are invariably undermining continuation of democracy, and that should not be allowed to happen.
“I think government needs to take proactive measures and other strategies to peacefully deescalate what is going on.
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“Government should get community, religious, opinion and leaders including professionals in Nigerians to appeal to those perpetrating the attacks on INEC facilities and their sponsors.
“I want government to arrest, investigate and prosecute their sponsors, and if government fails to do this these people will stop and send democracy away and their plan achieved.
“I believe politicians are behind these attacks, but they should know that they are the greatest beneficiaries of democracy. The Nigerian Civil Society and media have sacrificed their lives, time and energy to demand and canvass for the demilitarization of Nigerian politics.”
He also lamented that, “We have democracy now, and Nigerian CSOs and media including the ordinary people have become the victims of the sacrifice they have made to ensure that we have democracy. But few people have hijacked power and they are doing terrible things that even in military time it did not happen.”
He also warned that, “Vandalisation of INEC offices and attack on security formations will not go well for us as citizens; we need the police and other security agents to move freely and go about our legitimate businesses.
“If you destroy police facilities what are you going to replace them with or with your own militia? It is high time or politicians who are sponsoring militias whether in the north, south-east, middle belt and south-west to stop this evil missions they are sponsoring young people.
“The truth of the matter is if we don’t stop this madness going on across the country those who are clamouring to destroy the country they would have succeeded. Investors would not come, and Nigerians would not be able to visit one another.”
However, he advised that government should recruit more personnel into the police and Nigerian military to tackle growing insecurity across the country, but should provide what it takes to make them effective and efficient to protect Nigerians.
“If the government lacks personnel to combat these criminals let it recruit competent, qualified and honest young Nigerians into the Nigerian Police Force, and military so that they can reinforce the already depleted number because part of our challenges is that we do not have enough policemen and also in the military”, he said.
He also urged government on the need to change tactics, “There is need for government to change its tactics, and politicians need to understand that the country first must exist before they think of personal benefits.
“If the country is not working and they continue to prioritise materialism above effective and responsive governance then the government will remain in chaos and crisis.
“I want to appeal to community and religious leaders as well as professionals and even the politicians to help in deescalating the ongoing violence in Nigeria. the violence cannot be deescalated by only the police or the military but will involve all well meaning Nigerians to offer constructive advice engage those who are perpetrating the violence.
“Also to ensure that the rule of law works, fairness and justice are in place and practiced because one of the causes of violence in the country is as a result of injustice, and this has made some people to constitute themselves as criminal gangs to destroy government facilities, security formations and even killing security personnel including kidnapping innocent Nigerians.
“Let us reduce the cost of governance; all the monies diverted and stolen by politicians that government has recovered should be ploughed into security for a Nigerians to go to school and go about their businesses”, he stated.
Meanwhile, he called on Nigerians not to be sentimental for persons who have taken laws into their hands and are terrorizing other Nigerians under the guise as agitators and freedom fighters.
“I appeal to Nigerians to stop expressing sentiments for people who are clear criminals, and if people, who are involved in criminal activities, let them allow the security agencies to investigate them and if they are involved in illegal things they should be discouraged from doing that. If not Nigerians will be under constant attacks by these people. Let them keep religious and ethnic sentiments aside”, he added.