The Alliance for Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), a coalition of 70 labour and civil society organisations (CSOs), says the federal government has shown lack of capacity to deal with the violence in the north.
Reacting to recent killings in Kaduna and other northern states, ASCAB blamed the government for the mayhem, saying the central authority has the constitutional responsibility to ensure the protection of lives and property in the country.
In a statement by Femi Falana, its chairman, ASCAB said it is undoubtedly clear that the government “has shown lack of capacity to deal with the sad events”.
It said the government appears to be running out of ideas in bringing an end to violence and armed brigandage constantly recorded in Kaduna and other affected states.
It warned that the killings have the potential of leading to a round of national crises that may threaten the fabric of democracy in the country.
The coalition said the mayhem in Kaduna “only reflects the community version of the growing culture of brigandage within the political class”.
It said the violence in the north-east has spread to the north-central and the north-west, warning that if unchecked, it might threaten peace and co-existence across the country and set the nation on the path of ruin.
ASCAB said the lack of opportunities, poverty, and the imposition of tough economic measures on Nigerians are partly responsible for prejudices, hate and expression of violence found in many communities in the country.
“Corruption, politics of exclusion, growing unemployment, and lack of creativity continue to fuel public resentment across the country backed by an increasing breakdown of public trust in those holding public officers,” ASCAB said.
“The situation has been compounded by weak institutions and inept leadership both at the state and national levels.
“Nigeria is fast becoming a state of blood where human lives no longer matter. It is unfortunate that while the Federal Government invests billions of naira in the procurement of arms to fight violence, it has failed to develop an appropriate economic roadmap to deal with one of the root causes of violence which is poverty.”
The coalition also warned that unending violence and banditry will help the spread of COVID-19 thereby putting the lives of many people in the north in danger.
“Violence and killings have seen the emergence of several refugee camps and the flee of health workers in vulnerable communities,” it said.
“Territories ravaged by killings will naturally disregard the rules necessary for the prevention of COVID-19. This only means that as long as instability continues, the prospect of livelihood and effective public health protection is dim.”
It said though the government continuously assures Nigerians of the safety of lives and property, the guarantee has become a mirage in the face of ceaseless attacks.
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