Coalition of Civil Societies Call for Mass Action against Buhari May 26

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Gboyega Akinsanmi in Lagos and Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The Joint Action Civil Society Coalition/Nigeria Mourns has called on Nigerians to participate in a series of mass action across the country on May 26 against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to indicate their disavowal with the insecurity sweeping across the country.

The coalition of 127 civil society groups issued the statement yesterday titled: State of the Nation: A Call to President Muhammadu Buhari to Stop the Bleeding and Take Action to End the carnage.

Some of the notable signatories of the statement with hashtag #NigeriaBleeds included Yiaga Africa, Baobab for Women’s Human Rights, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), West Africa, Action Aid, African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD), African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) Alliances for Africa, Bimbo Odukoya Foundation (BOF), Cece Yara Foundation, Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), Centre for Women’s Health and Information (CEWHIN), CITAD, TAP N’Itiative, Women in Media and Communications Initiative and Women’s Crisis Centre, Owerri.

They also urged the public 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 as well as boycott all Democracy Day activities on May 29, 2021, in protest against the deplorable state of democracy in the country.

The statement was a follow up to the coalition’s last joint statement issued in February 2021, where it catalogued the assortment of mass atrocities plaguing the country, in particular: the unending insurgency in the North East with the military often bearing the brunt of the government’s security failures.
In the last statement, it had demanded that the President should step aside if he is not able to fulfil his constitutional duties or, that the National Assembly should initiate 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 again call on the 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 the welfare of all Nigerians, and pull the nation back from the path of destruction,” the coalition demanded.

It noted that insecurity has continued to pervade the country after a sharp increase of 43 per cent in mass atrocities in 2020.
The coalition noted that: “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 six geopolitical zones, there were escalated combustions of violence resulting in even more deaths.” It accused the government of meting out attacks and gross injustices against peaceful protesters by the security agents while terrorists who were carrying out mass murder, rape, maiming and kidnapping on women and children were feted, granted amnesty and paid by the government.

The civil societies coalition also pilloried the government for failing to bring to justice herdsmen and their financiers, who are perpetrating an onslaught on unarmed farming communities while also downplaying the criminality of the large scale terrorist attacks in the North-west.
It alleged other forms of insecurity to include 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.