“Secure Nigeria, Account for the Missing and the Dead”
The Community Of Practice Against Mass Atrocities, and the Joint Action Civil Society Committee under the aegis of Nigeria Mourns, condemn in strong terms the increased spate of insecurity across the country; and call on the Nigerian government to take actionable steps to mitigate further attacks by terrorist groups, and to account for the missing and the dead of the recent terror incidents, especially, the Abuja-Kaduna train bombings.
Between January 1, and March 30, 2022, Nigeria recorded at least 1,545 persons killed, and at least 1,321 persons abducted by terrorists. We also note with alarm recent major incidences across the country including:
- The killing of more than 65 persons in a single attack by terrorists in Kebbi state;
- The continued siege of communities in Southern Kaduna which has resulted in more than 100 victims in the past week, in spite of the fact that Kaduna state is home to at least 21 military bases and formations;
- The continued siege on communities in Niger state, including the takeover of the Suleja-Abuja Road by terrorists in the past month;
- Resumed attacks in Bassa LGA of Plateau state;
- An uptick in cases of kidnapping across the country
- Increased reporting of ritual killings;
- The continued atrocities in the South East of the country, especially in Imo state;
- The attack on the Kaduna airport last weekend;
And most recently,
- The bombing of the Abuja-Kaduna train, and Gidan train station; and
- The takeover of the Kaduna-Abuja Express Road by terrorists
We are alarmed by the brazenness with which these “technically defeated terrorists” continue to compromise our individual and collective security as Nigerians. More importantly, we are concerned by the government’s apparent nonchalance evidenced by their actions.
For example, the deafening silence of President Muhammad Buhari, whose first public statement after the bombing of the train was to call for a stronger tax regime rather than to address the national crisis. On the same day, we noted with dismay, a circular issued by the office of the Head of Service of the Federation, a unit under the Presidency, which directed all Permanent Secretaries to mobilize support for the World Cup Qualifier between the Super Eagles and the Black Stars of Ghana by closing their offices by 1.00 pm on March 29, 2022, regardless of the trauma of millions of Nigerians, and totally ignored the tragedy which had resulted in the loss of valuable Nigerian lives. On this national occasion, our players did not wear black armbands in solidarity and were more concerned with filling the stadium with fans. We condemn the insensitive decision of the Nigerian government and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to host a match in the heat of these recent incidents.
Since the incident, the government has failed to account for the number of persons rescued, the missing and the dead, failing in its primary purpose as provided for in Section 14(2)(b) of the Nigerian Constitution that states that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government” and Section 17(2) (c): “governmental actions shall be humane”. We point out that the level of humaneness envisioned by our constitution is lacking in the actions of the government in each of these incidents, and that these actions rather suggest that the value for human life in Nigeria is now at its lowest and that the government is failing in its constitutional duties.
Given the foregoing, we demand that the government:
- Lives up to its constitutional duty of ensuring the security and welfare of all Nigerians.
- Account for the rescued, the missing, and the dead in the Abuja-Kaduna train bombing.
- Provide timely information and psychosocial support for the families of victims in all of the incidents noted above.
- Takes immediate action to rescue the abducted travelers and other victims abducted across the country.
- Conduct an independent inquiry into the circumstances of the bombing, in the light of the statement credited to the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amarachi, to the effect that some persons frustrated his efforts towards providing critical surveillance infrastructure for the rail track.
- Improve security intelligence and strategy.
- To conscientiously address the immediate and remote causes that foster terrorism and other forms of mass atrocities across the country.
We call upon all Nigerians to rise to our call for national solidarity with victims and to demand accountability of the government by:
Observing Friday, April 1, 2022, as a day of mourning and solidarity, demonstrated by wearing BLACK or GREEN clothing; and on subsequent Fridays till government shows more appreciable progress in dealing with the security challenges that have beset our country.
We remind all Nigerians that no one is safe till everyone is safe and that Nigerian lives matter.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
For the Joint Action Civil Society Committee/ Nigeria Mourns
- Auwal Rafsanjani
- Adamu Kortokoshi
- Redzie Jugo
- Ken Henshaw
- Iheoma Obibi
- Jaye Gaskia
- Chris Kwaja
- Ier Jonathan-Ichaver
- Ms. Abiodun Baiyewu