An independent, non-profit capacity building organisation that is working to strengthen democratic governance and citizens’ participation in Nigeria, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), has charged the country’s bicameral Legislature to wake up to its responsibilities.
PLAC wants the National Assembly to bring to bear and fully exercise its constitutional responsibility of oversight of the Federal Government and its agencies charged with the responsibility of providing public services and defence of the country.
PLAC’s Executive Director, Clement Nwankwo, who made the call in a statement also notes with concern the continued holding of passengers kidnapped from the Abuja-Kaduna bound train last March 28.
‘’PLAC is concerned that to date, there has been no action taken by the Federal Government of Nigeria to secure the release of the Abuja-Kaduna train passengers. It is important to note that these passengers are the responsibility of the Nigerian Government who own the train, once they boarded the train’’, Nwankwo said.
The kidnap victims comprise men, women and children including pregnant women. These kidnap victims have been held in the wild forest by their kidnappers who have regularly posted their videos and pictures online to the distress of their families and a bewildered nation.
Families of the kidnap victims have held repeated protests to ask for their release and despite the best assurances of Abuja there is no indication of any effort being made to release them.
There have also been reports of the Nigerian Railway Corporation preparing to reopen train services to the public on the Abuja-Kaduna route without evidence or assurances of the protection of passengers likely to use the train services.
Continuing, Nwankwo said PLAC is calling on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government to indicate very clearly, ‘’measures being taken to secure the release of the Abuja-Kaduna train kidnap victims’’.
In addition, the group is calling on the Federal Government and security agencies ‘’to indicate publicly and assure Nigerians what steps are intended to be taken to protect passengers using train services across the country to avoid any future incident of kidnap or security breach.
‘’The deteriorating state of security in the country is a cause of worry to every Nigerian. This is worsened by the fact that the Federal Government has not shown any known capacity, preparedness or even willingness to tackle the general insecurity around the country.’’
Through broad-based technical assistance and training, PLAC works to promote citizens’ engagement with government institutions and to advocate for legal and policy reforms and promote transparency and accountability in policy and decision-making processes.
At the core of its programming is a deep commitment to increase legislative advocacy, promote transparency and good governance, support and promote electoral reforms, enhance citizen’s access to public policies and advance anti-corruption campaigns.
Over its seven years of history, PLAC has worked and evolved into a foremost and leading institution with capacity to deliver cutting-edge research, policy analysis and advocacy.