The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) notes with great concern the attitude and action of the Federal Government following the submission of the Report by the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North headed by Kabiru Turaki, also referred to as the Boko Haram Dialogue Committee.
CISLAC observes that the pronouncements of the President about compensating the victims as recommended by the Committee is rather too dismissive and deflating, preempting the outcomes of the work by a follow up committee which is to be set up on the recommendations made.
Such conclusive position without having studied the full report to understand how the Committee reached its recommendation is suggestive of a pre-meditated position on how to deal with the issues and renders the work of the Committee an unnecessary venture. This places a doubt on Government sincerity to comprehensively resolve the security challenges in the North and bring lasting peace to the region and the nation.
We consider the attempt to substitute compensation with assistance to victims as a ploy to ultimately abdicate responsibility by the state which had the obligation ab initio to protect the lives and property of citizens, the failure of which resulted in the mayhem that the region has experienced. The right to life and means of livelihood and ownership of property are fundamental and guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Federal government must do everything to protect it or compensate those who have be deprived of them not as an act of tokenism but as respect for rights.
CISLAC is also worried that the extension of the emergency rule without considering each state on its merit, are more motivated by political consideration than objective evaluation and realities on the ground. This tendency to politicize security and issues that affect the lives of the citizen does not augur well for our polity and democracy.
We hereby call on the Federal Government to diligently study the Report of the Committee and implement it in a manner that respects the rights of citizens, shows sensitivity to the victims and their families and restores confidence in the government peace and security in the region.
The Federal Government should also ensure that every decision and action in respect of the zone or any part of the country is done with objectivity and sincerity, putting the interest of the nation and her citizens first above selfish interests and narrow political objectives.
CISLAC also calls on the Joint Task Force to respect the rights of civilians in their operations and minimize cases of collateral damage. We call on the Federal Government and military authorities to ensure that the conduct of the military conforms with international best practices and investigations into abuses are carried out to bring erring soldiers to book
We call on all well meaning Nigerians to prevail on the relevant stakeholders to fulfill their statutory mandates and promote people oriented development, stem corruption and alleviate poverty to reduce the incentives that result in the escalation of violence and despondency in the land.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director, CISLAC