January 30, 2024

Declare state of emergency on kidnapping, terrorism, others, CSOs tell Tinubu

I’ll justify the trust Nigerians place on me – Tinubu

File: President Bola Tinubu

By Gabriel Ewepu

ABUJA – A coalition of Civil society Organisations, CSOs, under the auspices of a joint action group, Community of Practice Against Mass Atrocities, and, Nigeria Mourns have called on President Bola Tinubu, to declare a state of emergency on kidnapping, terrorism, and other forms of criminality to end endemic insecurity as Nigeria is under siege.

The CSOs numbering 48 during a world press conference, on Monday, tasked the Tinubu-led Federal Government to mitigate attacks by kidnap syndicates and terrorist groups, and also account for persons missing in these attacks.

Speaking on behalf of the Coalition, the Executive Director, CISLAC, Awual Rafsanjani, said that several communities across the country including Abuja are under heavy attacks, and Nigerians are apprehensive and agitated.

Rafsanjani said the coalition is seriously worried as Nigerians are being forced to flee their homes due to attacks, kidnappers, and other organized criminal activities, and added that the only option left is for the government to take the fight seriously to the hideouts of the criminal elements with actionable measures to stamp them out.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director, Cedar Seed Foundation, Lois Auta, pointed out that the constitutional responsibility of Tinubu as President is to safeguard the lives of Nigerians.

Also, Auta said the Tinubu-led administration should investigate the financial flow of organized criminal groups and identify the sponsors and beneficiaries.

And she added that the government should uncover and prosecute contractors who allegedly misappropriated the sum of $460 million earmarked for the provision of the CCTV cameras in the Federal Capital Territory, therefore citizens should be engaged in best practices for ending insecurity, and disincentivize ransom payments.

They said, “Over the past decade and a half, insecurity in Nigeria has spiraled due to a variety of violent
phenomena, including but not limited to terrorist activities in the entire northern region of the
country, terror pillages otherwise known as ‘banditry’ in the North West, farmer-herder violence
in the Middle Belt including the Benue Valley, secessionist struggles in the South East, piracy in the southern coast of the Country, inter-communal attacks, political violence, cult gang
violence and kidnapping.

“These forms of insecurity have jeopardized the security and wellbeing of Nigerians, and have progressively deteriorated over the years.

“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.

“This alarming trend has continued despite President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s assurance at the beginning of his presidency in May 2023 to tackle insecurity. It has now been eight months since President Tinubu took his oath of office and yet, things have failed to improve.

“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 two weeks of January 2024 alone.

“Several communities across the country, including the Federal Capital Territory, the seat of government itself, are under siege, with entire families and in some cases, communities taken hostage. Residents are being forced to flee due to repeated attacks by terrorists, kidnappers, and other organized criminal
groups. Kidnapping for ransom demands has become a disturbing norm, without appropriate response from the authorities.”

However, the Coalition recommended that “We hereby call upon President Bola Tinubu as the lead agent of government to urgently: Fulfill its constitutional imperative of safeguarding the lives of all citizens; Declare a state of emergency on kidnapping and other forms of terrorism.

“Enhance the country’s security infrastructure by conducting an audit of the responsibility
matrix within security agencies and departments of government, bolster their capabilities
and deployment of technology to effectively address the evolving challenges of insecurity; Promptly prosecute the 400 sponsors of terrorism arrested under the Buhari regime.

“Uncover and prosecute those responsible for the misappropriation of the $460 million earmarked for the provision of CCTV cameras in the Federal Capital Territory; Implement more decisive measures to promptly secure the release of all abducted victims; Create a register of victims of abductions and other forms of mass atrocities; Recognize and address the floundering economy, corruption, and human rights violations as exacerbating factors of Nigeria’s insecurity.

“Engage citizens on best practices for ending insecurity, including disincentivizing the
payment of ransoms. Provide holistic psychosocial support for abduction survivors and their families;

“Promptly investigate and decisively prosecute all individuals implicated in fueling insecurity, and investigate the financial flow of organized criminal groups and identify the sponsors and