Nigerians across the country on Tuesday berated the killings of over 1,400 people as a result of violent, political, extra-judicial and farmers/herders clashes in the country.
The coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) which organised the procession took to the streets at the Roundabout in Maiduki, Adamawa State; Post Office at the Murtala Muhammed way in Ilorin, Kwara State; Sweet Sensations at Alagomeji in Yaba, Lagos State; Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Secretariat, Abeokuta, Ogun State to mourn all victims of violent killings across Nigeria.
Recall that the Joint Nigeria Civil Society Action had declared May 28 as the ‘National Day of Mourning and Remembrance’ consequent to the resolutions reached at a meeting of more than a hundred civil society societies in Abuja in 2018.
The committee in a statement jointly signed by Abiodun Baiyewu, Adamu Kotokorshi, Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, Ier-Jonathan-Ichaver and Ken Henshaw also called on all Nigerians to mourn the departed souls in solidarity and demand accountability for the security and welfare of all Nigerians.
The committee noted that no fewer than 1,400 people have been killed in the first quarter of 2019 alone while demanding an urgent review of the country’s security architecture, the immediate replacement of all service chiefs, the initiation of a government-led process of documenting these deaths towards seeking accountability.
Other demands include the provision of social security for victims including disabled persons, orphans and other socially vulnerable citizens and the provision of better welfare services including psychosocial support for our gallant security personnel.
Other states where the procession took place to commemorate the second observance of the day include Zamfara, Niger, Kogi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Oyo, Ondo, Osun, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Bayelsa, Edo, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Delta states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The CSOs wore black Tee Shirts in solidarity also carried placards with inscriptions ‘Not Just Number’, ‘Nigeria Mourns’, ‘End The Killings’, ‘#NigeriaMourns’, ‘#NigeriaStandUp’, ‘# NigeriaLivesMatters’ among others.
In Abuja, the procession which began from the unity fountain was taken to the Ministry of Justice where former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu read a roll call of 323 victims of various violent killings in Zamfara, in Numan Adamawa, herdsmen massacre at Nkiedonwro in Plateau, victims of electoral violence, Shiites massacre in Zaria and herdsmen killing in Benue among others.
Convener of the Abuja procession, Jaiye Gaskiya said that the government has failed to attach names to the victims of these attacks which occur on a daily basis while noting that the procession was organised to rekindle the hope of the families of the victims and remind them that they are not alone.
“We are always saying people are dying. Whenever you read newspapers you will see 27 people were killed in a community. These 27 people are human beings and they have names. They have families.
“Our people that we lost every day are not mere numbers, they are the people that we know. They are the people who are our neighbours, people who are our colleagues and compatriots.”
“We want those who have lost people to violent attacks to know that they are not alone, that the nation is with them.”
Gaskiya noted that the only honour Nigerians can give to those that have died in such circumstances was to count, name and recognise that they come from their various homes.
In Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, members of the CSOs who converged on the state secretariat of the NUJ, Iwe Iroyin asked the federal government to prioritise and address the security issues in the country.
Coordinator of the group in the state, Abiola Odetola stated that the lingering cases of communal clashes, extrajudicial killings by the security agencies are threats to the country’s existence.
Odetola stated that the groups came together to remember and also mourn the lives of Nigerians that were lost even during the last general elections.
“Here in Nigeria, we and some other organisations have decided to tag today May 28th ‘National Mourning Day,’ this is just to remember Nigerians who have died in the hands of communal clashes, extrajudicial killings by the police or military which have been happening over the years.
“The decision to make May 28th ‘National Mourning Day’ is for Nigerians to remember and mourn the lives we have lost. The idea is to remind ourselves and the government that there is a need to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians.
“As the ultimate idea of government is to protect the lives and properties of its citizen. If people cannot sleep peacefully in their homes, transact business peacefully, I think they will be no country.
“And it is important that when there is no country, they will be no leader. There will be no country for leaders to lead, so I think it should be paramount as we are going into May 29th.
“A new dispensation is about to begin, there is a need for the government to prioritise the issue of security and make sure Nigerians can move freely with the belief that in their own territory their lives are secured and they have peace,” Odetola said.
Other Nigerians took to the popular social media platform, Twitter to express their dissatisfaction to the increasing rate of violent killings in Nigeria.
Below are some of the tweets:
— Amnesty Int. Nigeria (@AmnestyNigeria) May 28, 2019
— Chidi Odinkalu (@ChidiOdinkalu) May 28, 2019
— N. (@PUREHAIRE) May 28, 2019
— N. (@PUREHAIRE) May 28, 2019
— DR Queen (@tamarangcouture) May 28, 2019
— CDD West Africa (@CDDWestAfrica) May 28, 2019
Many innocent Nigerians have lost their lives due to terrorists attacks and other forms of violent activities, since 2018-2019. On this we call on the Nigerian government to end this killings. @segalink @NigeriaMourns @ChidiOdinkalu#NigeriaMourns #NigerianLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/B1OpPZpols
— Joint Assembly of Concerned Compatriots (@jaccng) May 28, 2019