Politics

Honourably resign if security, socio-economic challenges are overwhelming, CSOs tell Buhari

Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the aegis of the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, on Tuesday, underscored the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to wake up to his responsibilities of steering the affairs of the nation in the areas of security and economic restoration or honourably resign if the challenges are overwhelming.

In the same vein, the Coalition which comprises over 70 CSOs who spoke through its Convener during a press conference, Ms Ene Obi, who called for a thorough investigation into the jailbreak in Kuje Medium Security Correctional Facility, harped on the need for the removal of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, as well as those responsible for guarding the prison.

Worried by the unabated cases of security challenges ravaging the country unchecked, the CSOs called for the removal of the Service Chiefs and immediate appointment of new people with a clear mandate to deliver at a particular time or be equally removed like their predecessors.

The CSOs who converged in Abuja also called for immediate overhaul of the entire security architecture of the country with a view to combat the worrisome expansion of insecurity in the country.

Ms Obi said: “the calls are being made by the National Assembly, whatever they are doing, they should know and we have reiterated that here that the National Assembly needs to increase its oversight. We are hearing calls about impeachment and so forth, were they sleeping before? And there is an attitude of if you are looking at the Service
Chiefs, it’s not a change up until this moment Nigeria has not declared war on insurgents.

“The Nigerian Government has not declared war, but they have declared war on Nigerians. So where is the statute? When war is declared on the insurgents, the whole atmosphere changes, the style of the warfare, of the kind of strategies that would be adopted by the security will change.

“But the former Government of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari has not declared war. How long will it take him to make a pronouncement on the insurgents as terrorists. How long did it take him? And so, he’s sitting and very comfortable in Aso Rock. Nigerian Citizens are not safe and that is what we are saying. Yes, we have made our point, one
step at a time.

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“We will not tell you what we would do. The Nigeria Labour Congress was on the street the other day, and they went on to call on the Federal Government because the engine room for development is the young people of Nigeria and we have them, they are more than 62 per cent of the population. If you don’t care about that engine room it means you
are not even in governance at all.

“Because key things about are about the economy, the security of the people and the welfare of the people. When you have almost half of your population not having jobs, they are unemployed, what did you think you are doing? Nigeria is so blessed, whether it is material and human resources, if you deal with any issue like education the highest investment of any country should be on education, they are doing you a favour; they are empowering you for their economy.

“So, we have made a call before, even for the removal of the CBN Governor when he went into politics. They are still not sensitive. It’s not about giving people responsibility. For the Service Chiefs, if you give them responsibilities, do you allow them to operate in the first place?

“So, it’s not just calling for the removal of the Service Chiefs. Have you given them enough resources to work, have you given them the go-ahead or do you keep interfering with them? We remember the words of the late Army Chief of Staff, he said ‘politicians leave me let me do my job’, as a Soldier, do they leave him? Few weeks after he was dead! So, what are we talking about?

“So, all the calls are on the President to take responsibility on what is going on, and if he feels that he’s not capable of moving us ahead, he should resign,” the Convener of Situation Room stressed. They also urged the National Assembly should intensify their oversight function on the Executive beyond threats of impeachment of the President. The National Assembly should also exude that they are representatives of the people by protecting and representing their
interests.

While speaking on the preparation for the 2023 general elections, the Coalition tasked the Senate to carry out a thorough background check and scrutiny of the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari, to allay any political party affiliation or alignment by any of the nominees.

Worried by the prolonged industrial action declared by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the CSOs called on the Minister of Education should resolve the persistent industrial action by ASUU so that students can return to school or resign for a more competent hand to tackle the challenges.

While reflecting on the state of the nation’s economy, the Coalition urged Federal Government to activate steps to address the current economic challenges, alarming unemployment, plummeting exchange rate and financial hardship on the citizens, and desist from increasing and introducing new taxes on Nigerians notably the proposed 5% inclusive
excise duty on telecommunications services in Nigeria, raising the tax to 12.5 per cent.

“Situation Room calls for the removal of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to save the current deteriorating status and state of the CBN.

“INEC should extend the CVR for another two months to accommodate more prospective voters as there is still a window for extension in accordance with the Electoral Act, 2022.

“Lastly, Situation Room calls on Nigerian citizens to put their State Governors to task and demand accountability for their actions or inactions regarding the State of the Nation. Each citizen has certain responsibilities and obligations that relate to active participation in society and government.

In the forthcoming 2023 general elections, the CSOs tasked Nigerians to take advantage of the long period remaining ahead of the 2023 general elections, to start scrutinizing various Candidates involved in the electoral process.

“Particularly, we are looking at the people that will be going for Governorship, Senatorial Aspirants, House of Representatives and State Assemblies that are closer to the people. And the people have the right to come up with issues they want from these Aspirants rather than listening to the old ways of these Aspirants promising them what
they know they are not going to offer at the end of the day.

“So, we are calling on Nigerian citizens across the board to start preparing community charter of demands, what they need, the priorities projects they need in their communities that they will submit to the Aspirants as a social contract between them ahead of the election.

“So that it will not be the normal way they will come and promise what they want to do and at the end of the day they end up not doing it. a case in point is what we are experiencing now, what they promised prior to the 2019 election, is not what we are getting now. Things have gotten worse so we can not take this path any longer.”

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