Radical human rights lawyer, Femi Falana SAN, and other human rights activists and organisations have called on the federal government to put an end to the killings in Zamfara state by armed bandits who are giving residents sleepless nights.
Other activists are Dr Chidi Odinkalu, Dr Kolawole Olaniyan, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Adetokunbo Mumuni, Lanre Suraj, and Malachi Ugwummadu.
The organisations involved include Amnesty International Nigeria, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, (CDHR) and Transition Monitoring Group (TMG).
The activists condemned the incessant killing of unarmed people, abduction and rape of women by armed bandits that have been terrorising the law-abiding people of Zamfara state for quite some time.
“It is sad to note that despite the assurance of the FG to protect lives and properties of every Nigerian citizen, the armed bandits have continued to unleash mayhem on the people of Zamfara state unabated,” they said in a joint statement on Sunday.
Recently, Governor Abdulaziz Yari announced that he was quitting as the Chief Security Officer of the state and urged Allah to take control of the security situation.
Since then, the intensity of the reckless attacks by the armed bandits has continued unabated. Having been left completely at the mercy of the criminal gangs, the people have decided to draw public attention to their plight by embarking on peaceful rallies.
“Since the fundamental right of the Nigerian people to assemble peacefully and express themselves freely is guaranteed by the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), we support the rallies convened by the people of Zamfara State to protest the state of anarchy and chaos in the state”, the activists said.
According to them, instead of adopting adequate measures to restore law and order in the state, the Nigerian Army has been dispatched by the FG to stop the protests, adding that “as usual, armed troops have killed a number of the people for staging protests against the armed bandits.”
The activists therefore called for the immediate end to the involvement of the Army in the maintenance of internal security in the country as it has always led to wanton killing of innocent people.
They also demand an immediate end to harassment and intimidation of the people of Zamfara state by the Nigerian Army.
They called upon the FG to urgently recruit and train adequate number of police personnel to secure the country and to pay adequate compensation to the families of the people who have been killed by the armed bandits and Nigerian Army in Zamfara state.
They asked the FG to ensure prosecution of the armed bandits arrested by security forces for committing the offences of rape, armed robbery, abduction, culpable homicide and other human rights abuses and crimes under international law.