Nigerians are suffering, Jega, Onaiyekan tell Buhari

By rasakazeez01 • a week ago • 4599 views • 439 comments

A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega; and a former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja , Cardinal John Onaiyekan , have told the President , Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd . ) , that Nigerians are facing “ double suffering ” due to insecurity and the effects of the COVID - 19 pandemic .

They therefore called on the President to do everything possible to address the security challenge even if it means sacking service chiefs .

They stated this in a statement titled , ‘ Mr. President , Governors : The Time for Dialogue is NOW ’ on Sunday.

The statement was signed by Jega, Onaiyekan , Gen . Martin Agwai , Amb . Fatima Balla, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim , Mrs . Aisha Muhammed - Oyebode , Dr . Nguyan Feese , Dr . Usman Bugaje and Dr . Chris Kwaja who are all members of the Nigeria Working Group on Peace - building and Governance .

The statement read in part, “ Nigeria, like the rest of the world is battling the coronavirus pandemic . However , citizens in Nigeria are facing double the suffering because they also have to contend with rising insecurity and violence across the country.

“ The Nigerian government must immediately address the rising insecurity , if it is to succeed in the fight against the pandemic . A recent USIP -commissioned survey in Nigeria found new linkages between COVID - 19, instability, and conflict.

“ In particular , the survey found that victims of recent violence are less likely to trust the government ’ s coronavirus response measures compared to those who have not experienced violence .

They subsequently made recommendations on how the Nigerian government could strengthen its efforts to manage the pandemic by addressing the rising insecurity across the country .

“Kidnapping for ransom is an acute concern across Nigeria . The North- East is witnessing resurgence in Boko Haram activity, and thousands of people are internally displaced by banditry across rural communities in the North-West .

“ Criminality in rural areas further complicates the situation by undermining food security , as many farmers have been unable to go to their farms for months for fear of losing their lives , ” the group said .

They called on the President to initiate a process of dialogue to address the multiple acts of violence from inter - communal and ethno - religious conflicts .

The group said the National Council of State should initiate the dialogue process at the national level while the Nigeria Governors Forum would ensure it reaches the grassroots .

They said the crisis between herders and farmers had claimed thousands of lives and deepened ethnic polarisation but few persons had been prosecuted .


The group therefore called on the Federal Government to order the reinvestigation of all recent major incidents of farmer - herder violence.

They asked the government to sack the service chiefs if it would ensure that things improve.

“ There is a growing public consensus that the current leadership of our security agencies have failed woefully , and that our Commander - in-Chief has so far refused to act . This cannot continue . Mr. President , you must show more concern and do what is necessary to improve the effectiveness of our security agencies , even if it means replacing the current leadership of our security agencies , ” the group said .

They called on the President to stop paying lip service to police reform , adding that it is not enough to recruit police officers from the community but there is a need to be trained and re - orientated towards building community partnerships and promoting durable peace in the conduct of their duties .

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