WE SAY NO TO THE MYRIAD ATROCITIES IN OUR NATION!
#StopBornoMassacre #20AbductedBornoSchoolsGirls: A dark curtain hangs across the nation! So much blood has been spilled in the last few days in unrestrained terrorist attacks and bombings that have disproportionately targeted young Nigerians in the north-eastern region of the country. Two days ago, 50 students of Federal Government College, Buni Yadi in Yobe State were massacred by gun men suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents. The killings occurred days after 20 young female students were abducted from Government Girls Senior Science Secondary School and Ashigar School of Business and Administrative Studies. Till this day, no one knows their whereabouts or what has happened to them.
Spaces for Change, (S4C), Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), Tiny Beating Hearts Initiative (TBHI); Centre for Patriotic Leadership Initiative (CPLI), Centre of Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE), Network of Police Reforms in Nigeria (NOPRIN), Slum-Ed, SkyTrend News and a network of youth associations, non-governmental organizations and citizens’ movements strongly condemn the continuing acts of brutality visited on innocent citizens at a scale rarely seen elsewhere. These wanton killings are abhorrent, barbaric and constitute a systematic violation of the immutable rights to life, education and human dignity guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution.
Countless gory pictures of young children in Borno and Yobe with slit throats, charred and bloodied bodies, including varying degrees of gunshot and deep machete-cut wounds have extremely provoked the youth population across the country, forcing us to march out in solidarity with grieving parents, and call on our leaders to do the right thing. We are deeply saddened by the failure of the military to protect harmless civilians from these escalating attacks happening at a time the Federal Government has budgeted Trillions of Naira for security and declared a state of emergency in Yobe and other states in North East Nigeria. “Despite the regularity of violent attacks on schools and churches for more than four years, it is quite bewildering that government-owned educational institutions are not adequately secured in trying times like this”, says Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, the executive director of Spaces for Change.
#WhereIsOurMoney: Further worsening the security crisis and fuelling widespread discontent among the populace is the yet-to-be-traced $20B oil proceeds which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has yet to remit to the federation account. The startling revelations of massive irregularities entrenched in the administration of subsidies on petroleum products have been treated with objectionable condescension, executive levity and presidential indifference to effectively investigate these claims and overturn the lack of fiscal responsibility, accountability and transparency in oil industry operations which have resulted in high levels of corruption and social inequality.
$20B back in the treasury can help Nigeria combat 38% unemployment rate; reduce poverty, diseases, youth restiveness and avoidable deaths. According to the latest report on newborn health and global neonatal mortality rates, about a million newborn babies in Nigeria die within 24 hours of their birth, translating to the highest rate of neonates who never live to the next day in Sub-Saharan Africa and second highest in the world (next only to Pakistan). Many of these deaths are preventable” says Petra Onyegbule of TBHI.
With 20 billion dollars (about 3.2 trillion Naira), government can upgrade existing medical infrastructure or even build cutting-edge maternal and pediatric healthcare facilities that can adequately cater for pregnant women and newborns, leading to a significant reduction in neonatal and maternal mortality. $20B back in the treasury can build four brand new refineries, creating jobs for millions of unemployed youth, and end decades of restiveness and importation of petroleum products which has enabled the corruption-ridden subsidy regime to flourish. We strongly demand to know what has happened to our money, and insist that all those involved in its disappearance be brought to justice.
#YV2015: The President has announced that the Nigerian Centenary celebration will still go on despite the heavy dark cloud of grief enveloping the nation. Likewise, politicians have continued to congregate in different cities, hosting political jamborees and defection parties in the run up to the 2015 elections. Under the auspices of YOUTH-VOTE2015 (YV2015), we seize this opportunity to impress upon these politicians to present a coherent program of action and blueprint for integrating youth priorities in their political agenda and party ideologies, especially in the area of education, job creation and access to education.
We urge President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately order an independent high-level and thorough investigation into the missing oil revenues as well as the recent abductions and killings in northern Nigeria in order to identify and appropriately punish those responsible as soon as possible. Beyond approving humongous budgets for security provisioning, concerted steps must be taken to ensure that military forces are adequately motivated and equipped to counter the mounting insurgency. If these acts are not properly addressed, the crisis may snowball to a level that may be difficult to repair, undermining human capital development and national stability.
We also urge President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to take every step necessary to intensify the search for the 20 young women held captive by Boko Haram insurgents and ensure they are safely reunited with their families. We emphatically state that every minute these women are in held captivity is a minute too long.
We will continue to shout on online and offline spaces, demanding compensation for affected families; accountability and social justice, until we are assured that these innumerable tragedies befalling our nation are never repeated.
CITIZENS OF NIGERIA GRIEVING TOGETHER!