48 CSOs Task Tinubu to Declare Emergency on Kidnapping, Other Terrorism Forms

•2,423 killed, 1,872 abducted in eight months of president’s administration

•24,816 Nigerians murdered, 15,597 others kidnapped from 2019 to 2023

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

Forty-eight Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria under the auspices of the Civil Society Joint Action Group have called on President Bola Tinubu to declare a state of emergency on kidnapping and other forms of terrorism.

It added that there should be a timeline that the president should give to the security agencies to tackle insecurity.

The coalition lamented that at least 2,423 people had been killed, while 1,872 persons were abducted since the beginning of the Tinubu administration till January 26, 2024.

Addressing a press conference, yesterday, in Abuja on behalf of the coalition, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, also called on the president to promptly prosecute the 400 sponsors of terrorism arrested under the Muhammadu Buhari regime.

It  further urged the president to uncover and prosecute those responsible for the misappropriation of the $460 million earmarked for the provision of CCTV cameras in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The coalition lamented that over the past decade and a half, insecurity in Nigeria had spiraled due to a variety of violent phenomena, including but not limited to terrorist activities in the entire northern region of the country.

It also listed 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.

The CSOs noted that these forms of insecurity have jeopardised the security and wellbeing of Nigerians, and had progressively deteriorated over the years.

It pointed out that endemic insecurity has persisted over the last three administrations, including that of Buhari, who as a former military general, had gained public trust to run as president by promising to curb the then fledgling insecurity.

The coalition stated: “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 in spite of 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 2 weeks of January 2024 alone,”

The coalition pointed out that several communities across the country, including the FCT were under siege, with entire families and in some cases, communities taken hostage.

It decried the fact that residents were being forced to flee due to repeated attacks by terrorists, kidnappers and other organised criminal groups. The coalition further lamented that kidnapping for ransom demands had become a disturbing norm, without appropriate response from the authorities.

For instance, it claimed that recently, 30 villagers were abducted in an attack on Tashar Nagule village of Batsari local government area of Katsina State.

This, it claimed, came on the heels of the abduction of 23 people in Kawu community in Bwari Area Council of the FCT on 11 January.

Similarly, it added that 50 people, including 36 women were abducted in an attack on Magizawa community in Kaura Namoda Local Government Area of Zamfara state.

The coalition stressed that over 400 people were killed in repeated attacks on communities in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau state, including the gruesome massacre of over 200 people in Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi communities in Mangu Local Government on the eve of Christmas in 2023.

It emphasised that road ambushes had made interstate travel more perilous, adding that reported incidents such as the abduction of 30 passengers near Katari along the Kaduna-Abuja highway and the kidnapping of 45 passengers in Orokam on the Benue-Enugu route underscored the gravity of the situation.

According to the coalition, even homes were no longer safe. Homes in rural communities in Northern Nigeria had for over a decade contended with terror pillages; and more recently, urban centers including the Federal Capital Territory, had witnessed a surge in invasions in which citizens were being abducted for  ransom even within the confines of their homes.

Failed by law enforcement, it said families were resorting to publicly crowdfund to pay ransoms without interference from the government.

“We note that the same government was quick to freeze the bank accounts of donors and recipients of funding for #EndSARS, but fails to take concrete action to protect citizens against organised crime.

“We are equally dismayed by the willingness of some political leaders and politically exposed persons to publicly support ransom payments; and question their values and alliances.

“Their actions and utterances reflect a lack of faith in the system of which they are guardians, and their nonchalant attitude towards the potential consequences, including directly funding future attacks.”

The coalition expressed  concern that the current administration has continued the legacy of failing to decisively deal with the atrocious onslaughts against citizens within the nation’s borders.

It stressed, too, that Nigerians who were being further impoverished by the escalating insecurity, now perpetually lived in fear of being attacked, abducted or killed.

“We, hereby, call upon President Bola Tinubu as the lead agent of government to urgently 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.

“Investigate the financial flow of organized criminal groups and identify the sponsors and  beneficiaries.”

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