Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, 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.
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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.