The Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) has said the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, should be held accountable for the worsening security situation in the country.
In a statement on Sunday, the interim chairman of the group, Femi Falana (SAN), said the communal clashes occurring in communities across the country could have been avoided if the Nigerian government had intervened.
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Falana, however, expressed worry that the wave of attacks and counter-attacks by armed groups in several parts of the country could lead to a civil war.
He added that self defence groups funded by the state and local governments should be set up for the protection of all communities in the country.
The statement read, "Apart from Section 14 (2) (b) of the Constitution which states that the welfare and security of the people shall be the primary purpose of the government, sections 33 and 43 of the Constitution guarantee the fundamental rights of citizens to live and to own and acquire property in any part of the country.
"But the Federal Government has failed woefully to provide for the welfare and security of the people of Nigeria. In particular, the government has refused to halt violent attacks by armed herders, bandits, kidnappers, terrorists, and armed robbers which have claimed thousands of lives and destruction of property.
"Since the government has failed to protect the people, a number of citizens and groups have resorted to self-help to secure their communities.
"We are however worried that the wave of attacks and counter-attacks by armed groups in several parts of the country could lead to a civil war.
"Therefore, the Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) hereby calls on all aggrieved individuals and groups to hold the Federal government accountable for the worsening insecurity in the country.
"President Mohammadu Buhari ought to summon an emergency meeting of the Nigeria Police Council to address the challenge of insecurity and adopt measures to secure the life and property of every person in Nigeria without any further delay."
The group also stated that the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies should adopt drastic measures to halt violent attacks on communities by armed groups.
They also urged aggrieved individuals and groups to liaise with the human rights community so as to ensure the immediate arrest and prosecution of all criminal elements who are attacking law-abiding citizens.
"ASCAB demands the immediate formation of self defence groups for the protection of all communities in the country. Such self defence groups should be funded by state governments and local governments," the group submitted.
SaharaReporters, New York