Members of the Civil Society Joint Action Coalition, a coalition of 44 civil rights groups, has vowed to shut down the country from Monday, May 26, 2021, along with other anti-government actions scheduled to express their displeasure with the state of Nigeria.
The coalition, in a statement titled ‘State of the Nation: A Call to Action’ and signed by all 44 members, on Thursday, decried how the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government had ignored its demand that it should provide good leadership amid the growing insecurity and other crises in the country.
It said, “We are appalled to note that in spite of 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 are therefore calling on all Nigerians to register their displeasure with the state of affairs across the country by participating in a national shutdown from Monday, the 26th of May, 2021, participate in solemn assemblies across the country to commemorate the 4th National Day of Mourning and Remembrance of Victims of Mass Atrocities on May 28th, 2021 and boycott all Democracy Day activities on May 29, 2021, in protest of the deplorable state of our democracy.
“We again call on the Federal and state governments to rise up to their constitutional duties as enshrined in S14(2)(b), to ensure the security and welfare of all Nigerians, and pull the nation back from the path of destruction.”
The coalition had in February called on the government to “end impunity for abuse of power and sectionalism through his appointments by balancing the need for competence with the federal character principle. In this way, he will demonstrate that every part of Nigeria matters as sectional appointments appear to fuel sectional violence.
“Take responsibility and end the persecution of the media and free speech both of which are foundations of a democratic state.”
Speaking on the level of insecurity in the country, it stated: “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 6 geopolitical zones, there were escalated combustions of violence resulting in even more deaths.”
In February 2021, they had catalogued the assortment of mass atrocities plaguing the country.
The issues highlighted by the group include: “The unending war in the North East with our troops often bearing the brunt of this government’s security failures, gross injustices by President Buhari’s government against the Nigerian people such that peaceful protesters are threatened and attacked by the government’s security agents while terrorists carrying out mass murder, rape, maiming and kidnapping of Nigerians including women and children are feted, mollycoddled, granted ‘amnesty’ and paid by the government and industrial-scale kidnappings all across the country.”
The group had also asked the government to stop the “terrorist herder attacks on unarmed farming communities and reprisal attacks in the face of government inaction and failure to bring the terrorist herdsmen and their funders to justice; large scale terrorist attacks in the North West irresponsibly tagged by the government as ‘banditry’ in a bid to downplay their criminality; extrajudicial killings by State Security agents in various forms; inter-ethnic violence; and menace of political cult gangs and ethnic militia.