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End Mass Atrocities, Secure Nigeria and Ensure Accountability for Victims

“The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government” (Section 14(2)(b) CFRN 1999 (as amended))

Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria under the auspices of the Civil Society Joint Action Group, Community of Practice Against Mass Atrocities, and, Nigeria Mourns, are deeply concerned by the deteriorating state of security across Nigeria and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and therefore call on the Nigerian government to take actionable steps to end the endemic insecurity, mitigate further attacks by kidnap syndicates and terrorist groups, and, account persons missing in these attacks.

Over the past decade and a half, insecurity in Nigeria has spiraled due to a variety of violent phenomena, including but not limited to terrorist activities in the entire northern region of the country, terror pillages otherwise known as ‘banditry’ in the North West, farmer-herder violence

in the Middle Belt including the Benue Valley, secessionist struggles in the South East, piracy in the southern coast of the Country, inter-communal attacks, political violence, cult-gang violence and kidnapping. These forms of insecurity have jeopardized the security and wellbeing of Nigerians, and have progressively deteriorated over the years.

Endemic insecurity has persisted over the last three administrations, including that of President Buhari, who as a former military general, had gained public trust to run as president by promising to curb the then fledgling insecurity. Mass atrocities fatality tracking across the country by Nigeria Mourns reveals that in President Buhari’s second term alone (2019 to 2023), at least 24,816 Nigerians lost their lives, and at least 15,597 persons were abducted. This alarming trend has continued in spite of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s assurance at the beginning of his presidency in May 2023 to tackle insecurity. It has now been 8 months since President Tinubu took his oath of office and yet, things have failed to improve. Our tracking shows at least 2,423 people have been killed in mass atrocities-related incidents and at least 1,872 persons were abducted since the beginning of President Tinubu’s administration till January 26, 2024. We are particularly concerned about the upsurge in abductions, noting that at least 230 incidents, in most of which multiple victims were involved, occurred within the first 2 weeks of January 2024 alone.

Several communities across the country, including the Federal Capital Territory, the seat of government itself, are under siege, with entire families and in some cases, communities taken hostage. Residents are being forced to flee due to repeated attacks by terrorists, kidnappers and other organized criminal groups. Kidnapping for ransom demands has become a disturbing norm, without appropriate response from the authorities.

For instance, this week, 30 villagers were abducted in an attack on Tashar Nagule village of Batsari local government area of Katsina State. This comes on the heels of the abduction of 23 people in Kawu community in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory on 11 January. Similarly, 50 people, including 36 women were abducted in an attack on Magizawa community in Kaura Namoda Local Government Area of Zamfara state. Over 400 people were killed in repeated attacks on communities in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau state including the gruesome massacre of over 200 people in Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi communities in Mangu Local Government on the eve of Christmas in 2023. Road ambushes have made interstate travel more perilous. Reported incidents such as the abduction of 30 passengers near Katari along the Kaduna-Abuja highway and the kidnapping of 45 passengers in Orokam on the Benue-Enugu route underscore the gravity of the situation. Even homes are no longer safe. Homes in rural communities in Northern Nigeria have for over a decade contended with terror pillages; and more recently, urban centers including the Federal Capital Territory have witnessed a surge in invasions in which citizens are being abducted for ransom even within the confines of their homes. Failed, by law enforcement, families are resorting to publicly crowdfund to pay ransoms without interference from the government. The reticence of government to this trend is an acquiescence to the payment of ransoms. We note that the same government was quick to freeze the bank accounts of donors and recipients of funding for #EndSARS, but fails to take concrete action to protect citizens against organized crime. We are equally dismayed by the willingness of some political leaders and politically exposed persons to publicly support ransom payments; and question their values and alliances. Their actions and utterances reflect a lack of faith in the system of which they are guardians, and their nonchalant attitude towards the potential consequences, including directly funding future attacks. We consider that their stance emboldens perpetrators and further erodes the trust of citizens in their government’s capacity and sincerity.

Obtaining an education has become a risky venture for learners, teachers, and parents due to school abductions. Businesses are also suffering from the effects of this state of affairs. Farming communities are losing their resilience against perennial pillages, and traders can no longer ply roads safely. Foreigners no longer feel safe to visit and invest, and far too many resources that could have been invested in businesses are being paid out as ransoms and fortifying private security. In case the government has failed to notice, the entire nation is slowly grinding to a halt due to insecurity. In case the government has failed to notice, the entire nation is slowly grinding to a halt due to insecurity.

We are concerned that the current administration has continued the legacy of failing to decisively deal with the atrocious onslaughts against citizens within the nation’s borders, and that Nigerians who are being further impoverished by the escalating insecurity, now perpetually live in fear of being attacked, abducted or killed.

The government has continued to fail in its primary duty of ensuring the security and welfare of all citizens as mandated in Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution, and in its obligation to enforce and fulfill its citizens’ right to life, according to Section 33 of the Constitution. We hereby call upon President Bola Tinubu as the lead agent of government to urgently:

  1. Fulfill its constitutional imperative of safeguarding the lives of all citizens;
  2. Declare a state of emergency on kidnapping and other forms of terrorism
  3. Enhance the country’s security infrastructure by conducting an audit of the responsibility matrix within security agencies and departments of government, bolster their capabilities and deployment of technology to effectively address the evolving challenges of insecurity;
  4. Promptly prosecute the 400 sponsors of terrorism arrested under the Buhari regime;
  5. Uncover and prosecute those responsible for the misappropriation of the $460 millionvearmarked for the provision of CCTV cameras in the Federal Capital Territory;;
  6. Implement more decisive measures to promptly secure the release of all abducted victims;
  7. Create a register of victims of abductions and other forms of mass atrocities
  8. Recognize and address the floundering economy, corruption and human rights violations asvexacerbating factors of Nigeria’s insecurity
  9. Engage citizens on best practices for ending insecurity, including disincentivizing the payment of ransoms.
  10. Provide holistic psychosocial support for abduction survivors and their families;
  11. Promptly investigate and decisively prosecute all individuals implicated in fueling insecurity;
  12. Investigate the financial flow of organized criminal groups and identify the sponsors and beneficiaries.

Our thoughts and prayers are with victims and the families who have to continually deal with the trauma of losing their loved ones to insecurity. We also stand in solidarity with those families who vigilantly await the return of their abducted loved ones. We call on the government to fulfill its primary duty of protecting lives, as mandated by Section 14 (2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) to guarantee its continued legitimacy.

As a coalition of organized civil society groups across Nigeria and as individual organizations, we pledge to continue to amplify the voices of citizens and demand accountability of the government on your behalf.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!


1. African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD)

2. African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL)

3. African Initiative for Peacebuilding, Advocacy and Advancement (AfriPeace)

4. Almajiri Child Rights Initiative (ACRI)

5. Alliances for Africa

6. Amnesty International Nigeria (AIN)

7. Borno Coalition for Democracy and Progress (BOCODEP)

8. BudgIT

9. Cedar Seed Foundation

10. Centre for Community Excellence, Zamfara (CENCEX)

11. Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD)

12. Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER)

13. Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)

14. Clean Technology Hub

15. Cleen Foundation

16. Community Outreach for Development and Welfare Advocacy (CODWA)

17. Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA)

18. CSO Accountability and Transparency Initiative (CATi)

19. Enough Is Enough (EiE)

20. Global Rights

21. International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria

22. Keen and Care Initiative (KCI)

23. MILID Foundation

24. Neighbourhood Environment Watch Foundation

25. Network of Women with Disabilities and Disabled People in Leadership Initiative

26. Nextier SPD

27. Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO)

28. NULAI Nigeria

29. OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative (OAI)

30. Organization for Community Civic Engagement (OCCEN)

31. Partners West Africa Nigeria (PWAN)

32. Partnership for Justice

33. Praxis Centre

34. Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED)

35. Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC)

36. Sesor Empowerment Foundation

37. Social Action, Nigeria

38. Socio Economic Rights & Accountability Project (SERAP)

39. Srarina Initiative for Peace, Justice and Development

40. Stephanie Peacebuilding and Development Foundation (SPADEV)


42. Tap Initiative

43. TechHer

44. The Benue We Deserve Foundation (BenDeF)

45. The Kukah Centre

46. We The People

47. Women Advocate Research & Documentation Centre (WARDC)

48. Women in Mining in Nigeria (WoMIN)

49. Yiaga Africa

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