Members of Civil Society groups yesterday in Abuja marked the ‘National Day of Mourning’ for all victims killed across the country. Emotions were freely betrayed as Nigerians from all walks of life converged on the Unity Fountain to mourn and remember the victims of various violent killings across the country.
Clad in black T-shirts with the inscription ‘OneDeathTooMany’, the mourners held flowers as a sign of honour to the departed, many of them weeping profusely in public. Members of civil society groups, human rights activists and family members of the victims were in attendance to remember those who have lost their lives in extra- judicial killings, herdsmen, kidnappers and armed robbery attacks.
According to Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, the convener and former chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the essence of the event was to show solidarity to and console the grieving communities across the country.
“The government is losing territory to armed bandits who are killing Nigerians and the same government who should lead us against these things are now the ones dividing Nigerians,” he said.Also, a multimedia and human rights group in South Africa, White Coat Center, has urged the Federal Government to take immediate actions against incessant killings in the country.
In a letter signed by its founder, Mr. Adebayo Okeowo, to commemorate the national day of mourning, the group said it is displeased with the manner in which the government has handled the loss of lives with no urgency to stop killings of innocent Nigerians.
The group also pleaded with the government to put better policies in place to safeguard Nigerians in the diaspora, citing cases of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa. “We need the government to show that it cares by holding to account those responsible for every senseless killing that has the nation grieving from North to South, East to West”.
In the same vein, Enough Is Enough Nigeria group stated that killings have risen drastically in recent times, as Nigerians wake up daily to fresh news of mass atrocities, which have become a norm in the country.
According to the group about 1,878 persons have been killed in Benue State, 222 disappeared and 750 grievously wounded and has affected 12 local government areas and more than 10 per cent of Benue State’s population between 2013 and 2016.The group also stated that in the first 70 days of 2018, over 1,400 person were killed violently across the country, an average of nearly 40 per state and the Federal Capital Territory.
“Extra-judicial killings of Nigerians in the hands of uniformed services are reported to be in thousands annually. If our politicians are not going to provide leadership in addressing it, then we have a duty to say enough is enough!”