***Say, Nigeria Drifting into Anarchy
Various Nigerian Ethnic Nationalities, including Self-Determination Groups, Civil Society Organisations as well as Professional and Youth Associations converged in Lagos at the weekend to discuss the rising spate of killings across the country, especially the communal clashes, farmers/herders conflicts and attacks by bandits in Zamfara, Taraba, Adamawa, Kaduna, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, Plateau and across at least eight other states of the country.
The meeting, which had representatives of over 200 other groups in attendance, and which was held with a view to proffering lasting solution to the ugly situation, declared that, “the current dangerous situation which places the younger generation of Nigerians at the receiving end of all the violent incidences is unacceptable and must be halted.”
At the end of the two day intensive deliberations, the well-attended meeting convened by the National President, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), Mallam Yerima Usman Shetima, resolved in a communiqué to give a two-week ultimatum to President Muhammadu Buhari and all the stakeholders in the Nigeria project to act decisively to avoid the consequential backlash of overstressing citizen’s patience.
The communiqué was jointly signed by Mallam Shettima Usman Yerima (Convener), Mazi Okechukwu Iziogosoro (National President, Ohanaeze Youth Council), Eric Olawale (Yoruba Youth Council) and Barrister Pereotubo R. Oweilaemi (President, Ijaw Youth Council and President, Ethnic Nationalities of Niger Delta) on behalf of over 200 youth ethnic nationalities groups across Nigeria and in the Diaspora.
According to the communiqué, the groups further warned that, “Nigeria, Africa and indeed the entire world may not be able to cope with the consequences of a full blown religious or ethnic war in Nigeria which the current dangerous trend portends.”
“The situation also portends the immediate danger of scuttling the nation’s democratic order with the dire consequences of a drift to anarchy. We therefore call on Nigerian elders, leaders of thought, theological and cultural leaders and all our international friends to step in quickly and save the situation as any further delay could be dangerous.
“Clearly, the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed in the discharge of its primary responsibility of securing citizen’s lives and properties.
Consequently, we urge that the President as the Chief Security Officer of the country to liaise with critical stakeholders in the country to convene a Security Summit within two weeks to address decisively the ugly situation,” the communiqué demanded.
The meeting, according to the communiqué, became necessary in view of the scary figures quoted by various national and international bodies accounting for the lives lost to series of violent situations in the last few years.
“The situation is so disturbing that the UK House of Lords for instance, recently expressed worry about the inability of the Nigerian authorities to end the excessive killings, warning that ethno-religious violence in the country may escalate to the Rwanda type genocide if the Federal Government remained complacent about it.
“On its part, Amnesty International, on June 27, 2018 quoted 1,813 violence-related deaths based on reported cases since January 2018 alone, with many more killings during the period which were either denied by the government, or were never reported at all.
“In a separate report, the United States Council on Foreign Relations’ Nigeria Security Tracker says it has documented at least 19,890 deaths in Nigeria since June 2015, just after the current administration assumed office on May 29, 2015.
“The CFR, an independent body of experts dedicated to providing advice on policy options facing countries, put the cumulative deaths from May 2011 to May 2018 at 53,595 in violence that is both causal and symptomatic of weakness of Nigeria’s political institutions and citizen alienation.
“They also included violent incidents related to political, economic, and social grievances directed at the state or other affiliated groups (or conversely the state employing violence to respond to those incidents.)
“Armed with sophisticated weaponry, bands of killers moving freely are believed to have killed more men, women and children in 2015, 2016 and 2017 than Boko Haram has done in the 12 years of its violent campaign.
“And these untamed bandits and armed ethnic militias who have killed thousands with impunity, are most likely to kill more in the absence of prosecution or deterrent, with government appearing helpless or unwilling to act decisively.
“A failure of the authorities to halt the trend has already given rise to speculations suggesting that the bloodbath is deliberately orchestrated by those holding power in order to service occultic demands, or that government is manipulating the situation to split the nation along religious or ethnic fault lines in order to gain the sympathy of certain sections in the forthcoming general elections,” the communiqué concluded.