OrderPaper joins other CSOs in demanding accountability for mass atrocities on National Day of Mourning

Leah TwakiMay 28, 20244 min

83 CSOs on the 2024 National Day of Mourning demanded that the federal government uphold Section 14(2)(b) CFRN 1999 (as amended) which states that “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of the government.”

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OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative and a coalition of 82 other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have issued a strong call to the Nigerian government to account for the missing and the dead, and ensure justice for victims of mass atrocities.

This demand comes as part of the 2024 National Day of Mourning, and the first anniversary of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s tenure.

The National Day of Mourning and Remembrance for Victims of Mass Atrocities and Violent Killings is an annual citizen-led initiative that seeks to honour victims beyond mere statistics and to advocate for justice. This year’s commemoration emphasizes the constitutional mandate under Section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution, which asserts that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of the government.”

In a joint statement, the CSOs highlighted Nigeria’s alarming security situation, citing the country’s ranking as 144th out of 163 on the Global Peace Index in 2024 and 5th on the Global Conflict Index. The past year has seen over 4,416 people killed and 4,334 abducted due to mass atrocities, a stark indicator of the nation’s dire security challenges.

The North Central region has been the most affected, with over 1,600 lives lost to terror attacks, communal clashes, and herdsmen violence. The North West follows closely with 1,136 fatalities, primarily from banditry. In the North East, Boko Haram and ISWAP activities accounted for 904 deaths, while the Southeast recorded 344 fatalities, largely due to separatist violence. Other regions also faced significant violence, including the South South and Southwest.

The coalition criticized the government’s inability to curb the impunity of armed groups, which continue to perpetrate violence with apparent confidence. Despite technological capabilities demonstrated in other areas, such as tracking the bank accounts of #EndSARS protesters, the government has failed to dismantle kidnapping and ransom rings.

“You have failed us, and we are deeply dissatisfied with the state of affairs in our nation! Nigerians deserve better!” the statement partly reads

Additionally, extrajudicial killings by state security personnel remain a significant concern, with 274 such incidents reported, including 160 deaths from accidental airstrikes in Kaduna and Zamfara states. Additionally, 262 security personnel have lost their lives in the line of duty over the past year.

The ongoing violence has severe repercussions on social cohesion, economic stability, public health, and education. The abduction of 406 students underscores the crisis in the educational sector, contributing to Nigeria’s status as having the highest number of out-of-school children globally.

The CSOs highlighted its demands from the Nigerian government to “Fulfil its constitutional obligations under Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and ensure the security of Nigerians’ lives and property.

“Address the gaping socioeconomic inequities that are exacerbating violent crimes across the country. In particular, the government should prioritize providing quality education for all, infrastructure for unserved communities, and opportunity leverages for the indigent and marginalized.

“Acts humanely towards internally displaced persons across the country and communities affected by insecurity as stipulated in Section 17(2)(c) of the Constitution.

“Prioritize improving the welfare (including psychosocial support) of our gallant security assets who daily deal with the trauma of being on the frontlines.

“Disincentivize the payment of ransoms by tracking the financial flow of ransoms and communal extortions to identify and bring to book terrorists and terror merchants currently pillaging Nigeria.

“Investigate, arrest, and prosecute all perpetrators of these violent crimes, including those perpetrated during the 2023 general elections.”

As the nation marks the National Day of Mourning, the CSOs stand in solidarity with victims and pledge to continue advocating for accountability and justice.

Leah Twaki

A Chemistry graduate, excels as a social media manager, digital journalist, and content creator with an interdisciplinary skills blend of science and communication.

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