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Activists protest, urge government to stop killings, secure Nigeria

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Seek emergency session on insecurity at Lagos Assembly

A coalition of 19 civil society organisations (CSOs), at the weekend, held a peaceful rally in Lagos and other states of the federation to protest against the killings of innocent Nigerians, including security personnel across the country.

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At the rally tagged: National Day Of Mourning, they charged Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, to convene an emergency session on the state of insecurity in Nigeria and particularly in Lagos State.

The protesters, who carried placards and wore black T-Shirts embossed with inscriptions as Nigeria Bleeds; Stop The Killings and Secure Nigeria, among others, also urged the Speaker to convey the feelings and frustrations of Nigerians on the security situation to President Muhammadu Buhari with a view to taming insecurity in the country.

They marched from Ikeja under the bridge to the Lagos House of Assembly, Alausa, Ikeja chanting solidarity songs and mourning the victims of banditry, insurgency and terrorism across Nigeria.

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Convened by Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) and 18 other groups, they delivered a petition, which was received by Deputy Speaker of the House, Wasiu Sanni Eshinlokun, after security officials initially refused to allow the protesters into the pavilion where lawmakers meeting members of the public.

Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said the decision of the groups to mark the day of mourning was to draw the attention of the lawmakers to the situation and urge them to address the situation urgently.

Vice President of the Joint Action Front (JAF), Achike Chude, cautioned that the nation’s drift into anarchy could consume all Nigerians and wondered why government at all levels continue to handle the matter with levity and nonchalance.

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In the petition titled: “Urgent Need to Address Grave Insecurity Situation as Nigerians Mourn,” they noted that Nigeria’s struggle with inordinate and escalating insecurity rooted in mass atrocities continued unabated with the 2020 casualty figures reaching about 4,556 killings, an increase beyond 3,188 in 2019.

“The pattern of atrocities across the country continues to bear regional nuances, but the lines are increasingly getting blurred. Insurgency, pillages and communal attacks characterise the major forms of atrocities in the North, while rival gang attacks, killings from mob actions, extra-judicial killings, politically-motivated killings and mob lynching, unknown gunmen and herdsmen attacks have become the order of the day in the South,” the petition stated.

They, therefore, urged the lawmakers to hold a joint session with federal representatives from the state to come up with a unified position on the state of security in the country.

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They also asked the lawmakers to commence citizens’ engagement, including town hall meetings on specific security challenges in their constituencies with a view to arriving at workable solutions.

Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-Hope), Centre for Dignity, Centre for Human and Socio-Economic Rights (CHSR), Education Rights Campaign, BudgIT, Global Rights, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Spaces 4 Change, among others, attended the procession.

Speaking, Eshinlokun described the protesters as ‘patriots,’ saying the lawmakers were also concerned about insecurity in the country to the extent that it raised a motion on the floor of the House recently asking the President to address Nigerians on the state of insecurity.

He assured that he would deliver the petition to the Speaker and other appropriate quarters so that the issues raised could be addressed.

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