PRESS STATEMENT BY THE CIVIL SOCIETY DELEGATION TO THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE IN NIGERIA
The Civil Society Delegation to the National Conference, and the entire pro democracy civil society movement in Nigeria continues to be alarmed at the deteriorating security situation in the country, boosted by the failure of governance at all levels, and amplified by the collective irresponsible actions and inactions of the political elite.
We are worried that two weeks after the abduction of 234 teenage school children, and days after nearly 44 of them, through their own efforts escaped from their abductors, not only has the entire security architecture failed to locate let alone rescue the pupils but also the leadership of the political elite has continued to engage in a shameless blame game, competing to make political gains out of our collective misery.
In country with more than 10 million out of school children, with a majority of them being girls, it is a shame that the political elite, its regime, and the security and armed forces over which it superintends are unable to assure our collective security, and ensure that we not only keep enrolled school pupils in school, but that we make the school environment safe enough to encourage and attract out of school children and their parents.
Furthermore, just over 14 days after the dastardly bomb blast in Nyanya Abuja, which left over 75 people killed and hundreds wounded and or missing, the nation has continued to be subjected to wanton acts of terrorism and criminalities that continue to leave scores of our compatriots dead, wounded, maimed, orphaned, widowed and traumatized among other things.
Yet in the face of these deepening monumental crises of existential proportions confronting our nation and people, the political leadership continues to be incapable of rising to the occasion, while the military and security forces along with the intelligence services continue to be dithering, as if overwhelmed by the challenge.
At such a critical moment such as this, it is incumbent on ordinary Nigerians to rise to the occasion, make their voices heard, and call the leadership to order.
This is such a moment, and we the civil society delegation to the ongoing National Conference, convened in part as a result of these existential challenges, rise up to collectively assert as follows:
· We demand that as a measure of the seriousness of the current situation that all political parties cease their premature and illegal campaigns for the 2015 general elections, and thus stop mocking our collective loss, dancing on the graves of our murdered compatriots, as well as trivializing the trauma of our collective grief.
· We call on the political leadership of all the parties to come together and take a common stand on the deteriorating security situation in our country. We insist that just this once they prioritise the collective interests of our people over their individual greed.
· We call on the security and intelligence services as well as the Police and Armed Forces to not only take practical steps to ensure the immediate rescue of the abducted school girls along with others languishing in the various detention dens of terrorist and criminal gangs across the country. We demand the establishment of a crisis center on this issue, open and accessible to the families and the public, and through which daily updates on the rescue efforts are given to affected families and the nation at large.
· Weeks after both the bomb blast in Abuja and the abduction of hundreds of school girls, there are no leads on what happened, how it happened, why it happened, etc; a demonstration of the failure of the security architecture in spite of the yearly trillion naira security vote in the country’s federal budget over the last few years. We therefore urge a complete and thorough overall of the security architecture in the country; and demand that immediate steps be taken towards ensuring mandatory and improved coordination among security services and agencies.
Signed for the Civil Society Delegation:
1. Femi Falana
2. Jaye Gaskia
3. Abiola Akiode
4. Ezenwa Nwagwu
5. Auwal Musa Rafsanjani
6. Joe Okei Odumakin
7. Kyauta Giwa
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