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A stand against insecurity and mass poverty

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Sir: That Nigeria is adrift today is no news, what with the near-total breakdown of law and order. What is news though is that while there appears to be a state of collective stupor amongst the political elite, there are certain groups that have taken the challenge to stand and speak up, calling for an end to the mass sacking of workers, fuel increment, and have urged the government of Muhammadu Buhari to adopt a pro-people policing plan to secure the lives and property of Nigerians.

One such group is the Conference of Non-Governmental Groups in Edo State. Just last week, from May 27-28, 2021, the CONGOs members left their sleep and comfort and organised a civil walk to the National Assembly in Abuja to draw attention to the state of insecurity in Nigeria. Part of their demands included that government take action against kidnapping, ‘killing of our children, raping of our daughters and to arrest unemployment’. They presented a protest letter to representatives of the NASS leadership.

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In that letter to the National Assembly, CONGOs said that the level of insecurity in Nigeria has dangerously impacted the lives of Nigerians individually. ‘It has regressed the GDP and GNP of our country. While kidnapping has become a recurring activity, armed robbery has grown in monumental dimensions. Travelling by Nigerians have been seriously constrained by the fear of being robbed or kidnapped. In nearly every part of the country, it is increasingly risky to go to farms. Every aspect of economic life has been constrained by the restrictions delivered by insecurity’.

Not done, the CONGOs participated in another protest march in Benin City, Edo State on the 31st of May 2021, tagged Campaign against Insecurity May 31 National Day of Action against Insecurity in Nigeria. According to Mr Osagie Obayuwana, a leader of the protests, ‘at no time in the history of Nigeria has insecurity been as terrible as it is today. There is a direct relationship between insecurity and poverty. Where there is no justice, there cannot be peace. We believe that providing security is a duty that government owes to all Nigerians’, Mr Obayuwana said.

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Amongst the protesters, this reporter met with Sophia Omijie, an accountant with the Justice Development and Peace Commission, JDPC, in Benin City. She is pregnant and held a placard with the inscription, Equality in dignity and rights. According to Omijie, ‘my participation in this protest of national mourning is a thing of life – for unborn children, those already born, and those that are yet unborn. If there’s no security in Nigeria, it, therefore, means there’s no place for my unborn child.’

Comrade Abiola Daisy, CONGOs president also shared her views on the national day of mourning on insecurity in Nigeria. ‘As a mother and as a wife, I am pained hearing about children being kidnapped and abducted for ransom, of men and women being slaughtered nearly every day. We need to get our voices heard, but individually are voices have no power and that is why we have decided to come out together with all other CSOs to speak with one voice.’

• By Bob Majiri Oghene Etemiku

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