Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria, GCSDN, on behalf of Nigerians in the Diaspora has declared today as Fallen Civilian Memorial Day (FCMD), in honour of many Nigerians that lost their lives in the quest for good governance during the ENDSARS protest, and in line of exercising their civic right during elections.
The Global Coordinator, GCSDN, Frederick Odorige, in a press statement made available to Nigerian Tribune, noted that the Federal Government must honour the fallen civilians, just as it remembers fallen heroes annually by dedicating January 15, as the Armed Forces Remembrance Day (AFRD).
The international group, however, stressed that henceforth, Nigerians should visit families and the graveyards of the deceased, organise memorial services, workshops, seminars, and other empowerment programmes for the affected families and also build museums and cenotaphs to remember special compatriots in their honour, so that they will truly rest in peace.
He lamented that it was unfortunate that many compatriots that lost their lives for democracy are not duly honoured, adding that, “Many went out to cast their votes or to supervise elections, but never returned home. Others were slaughtered and forgotten during election violence. In 2003, post-election violence left at least 100 of our compatriots dead, because some persons wished to desperately come into the office. The victims were neither honoured nor remembered. They were us.”
Odorige also noted that Human Rights Watch had estimated that at least 300 of our compatriots were killed in the 2007 elections and that the victims were neither honoured nor remembered.
He also recalled that after the elections, on April 17, 2011, in Giade, Bauchi State, rioters killed 10 youth corp members after raping two of the female members. 800 Nigerians were reportedly killed, before, during, and after the 2011 elections, but that the victims were not remembered.
The release reads in part: “In the 2015 elections, at least 106 persons were killed, just for some persons to be in government, yet they were remembered. In the 2019 elections, at least 626 of us were killed, just for some persons to be in government, they were not honoured. In all these human sacrifices, sponsored by desperate politicians and their so-called godfathers, is Nigeria better off today?
“Many Nigerians have died from several clashes, violent attacks, terrorism, kidnappings, and extrajudicial killings by the Nigerian security agencies against the rule of law. Some died under unlawful detentions and the truth was never told. Sadly, life has become so cheap in our country Nigeria and we now feel that it is normal to criminally take human lives. Now, our people no longer have a right to life as demanded by international law.
“Unarmed Nigerians have been killed for protesting in quest of good governance. The story of EndSARS against police brutality made international news. At least 56 of our compatriots were reportedly killed across the country from Ughelli to Ogbomoso, Surulere to Oyigbo, Benin city to Lekki toll gate, the streets were filled with the stories of blood.
“Others were attacked by terrorists for simply walking on the streets of Nigeria. Many innocent ones have been killed and buried in mass graves without committing any offense- buried without a name to their graves. For how long must we forget them? If we go into history, the list may be too long. Conservative reports shows that 3,188 deaths were recorded in 2019; 4,556 lives were lost in 2020.
“These includes those that were killed either because they did not wear nose masks because of the pandemic, or were shot because, out of hunger, they went to scramble for palliatives. Within the first six weeks of 2021, at least 1,525 lives were wasted across the country. Between March and June 2021, at least 115 Nigerians were killed by security forces. As various massacres continue in Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi, Borno, Taraba, Adamawa, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Niger, Benue, Plateau, Kogi, Nasarawa, FCT, Kwara, Ebonyi, Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia, Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Delta, Edo, Rivers, Cross River, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, while the international community remains silent, we cannot readily tell the number of those that have died in 2021 because most of them were hurriedly buried in mass graves so that the actual numbers are hidden from the media.
“The families of those that were unjustly killed, are still in pain. We do not have peace as a country, because the blood of the innocent ones is crying, day and night, for justice. Many have been mistakenly killed through the wrong discharge of bombs by the Nigerian military. Many of their relatives are still very angry with our country and the system. How can there be peace when there is no justice?
“In July 2019, in pursuit of jihadists, a Nigerian fighter jet struck at the Gajiganna village in Borno state and some 13 civilians were mistakenly killed. They were neither honoured nor remembered. Their families were never compensated. They were us.
“On 15 September 2021, Airforce jet shelled and killed 9 persons and injured at least 30 others at Buwari community, Yunusari local government area of Yobe State. It was also reported as a mistake. The victims were neither honoured nor remembered. Their families were never compensated.
“On 26 September 2021, Airforce jet, again, shelled and killed 20 persons and injured many at Kwatar Daban Masara, Borno state. Again, authorities claimed that it was also a mistake. We must no longer continue like this.
“It has been observed that when Nigerians are killed by plane crash, all the names of the passengers are published within 24 hours. Sadly, when many are killed by the accidental discharges from our military aircraft or slaughtered on land across the country, their names are neither published nor are their families compensated. Many of the relatives of Nigerians that were wrongly killed are still very angry with our country Nigeria. They may never forgive. We pray they do.
“At a time when insecurity has become a huge challenge in our country, there is no better time than now for healing, sincere dialogue, and restitution. One way to do this is to honour our compatriots, the civilians who were killed and forgotten.
“In the light of these anomalies, we wish to declare, that henceforth, we shall set a day aside to honour our fallen civilians. That day shall be October 20 every year. GCSDN, hereby declares, October 20 as Fallen Civilians Memorial Day (FCMD). On such a day, let us visit the families and the graveyards of the deceased. Let us organise memorial services, workshops, seminars, and other empowerment programs for the affected families. Let us begin to build museums and cenotaphs to remember these special compatriots. Let us organise exhibitions in their honour so that in death, they will truly rest in peace. It is our fervent prayer that these tragedies will gradually and permanently leave the territory of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the release stated.
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