KILLINGS by non-state actors have continued unabated in many places in Nigeria several weeks into President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
In 45 days between May 29 and July 13, 2023, over 600 people had been killed by non-state actors across the country.
According to data, the killings happened primarily from activities of bandits, Boko Haram insurgents, ethnic militias, armed robbers and other non-state actors.
Data from SBM Intelligence, an analysis platform, revealed that about 629 Nigerians were killed in the last 45 days under President Tinubu.
Other data from the Council on Foreign Relations’ Nigeria Security Tracker (NST) and media reports checked by The ICIR showed that non-state actors killed 587 people within the same period.
highlights of promises made by Tinubu on security
In his victory speech after securing the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket in June 2022, Tinubu promised a secure, prosperous, united Nigeria if he won the 2023 general elections.
Tinubu said he was ready to unite the nation, provide security, revamp the economy and create wealth.
He also promised to eliminate criminals, including terrorists.
“They have been worrying us, but we will eliminate them. We are Nigerians. We are sure that no animal in the darkness of the night, no intruders, no destroyers, can bring Nigeria backwards. Forward we are moving,” he said.
Tinubu, while delivering his inaugural speech as President amid cheers from his supporters on Monday, May 29, at Eagle Square in Abuja, outlined the key initiatives to be anticipated from his administration and pledged to prioritise security and effectively tackle the menace of insecurity.
“Security shall be the top priority of our administration because neither prosperity nor justice can prevail amidst insecurity and violence.
“To effectively tackle this menace, we shall reform our security doctrine and its architecture.
“We shall invest more in our security personnel, and this means more than an increase in number. We shall provide better training, equipment, pay and firepower,” Tinubu stated.
What data say
Despite the promise made by the President to hit the ground running, data from various sources showed that the insecurity issues is yet to improve under Tinubu’s administration.
Disaggregating the data
A further look at the data from the SBM Intelligence revealed that in May, 38 people were killed by non-state actors between May 29 and May 31, 541 in June, and 50 as of July 13.
Killings by non-state actors per region
North Central: 261
North East: 162
North West: 134
South East: 23
South West: 28
A breakdown of the data per state shows that Plateau has the highest number of casualties with 111, followed by Borno, 96; Niger, 76; Benue, 69; Zamfara, 67; Taraba, 60; and Sokoto, 51.
Others are Lagos, 13; Kaduna, 11; Rivers and Anambra, 9, Ogun, 8; Ebonyi, 7; and Imo and Delta, 6.
Other states had less than five casualties, while states like Osun, Kano and Jigawa recorded zero losses within this period.
In total, 629 casualties were documented from actions of non-state actors from May 29 to July 13.
Data from NST/Media reports showed that 39 persons were killed from May 29 to May 31, 444 in June, and 104 as of July 13, totalling 587 deaths recorded.
Plateau had the highest number of casualties with 145 deaths, Benue 68; Zamfara, 57; Sokoto, 55; Imo, 53; Niger and Borno, 51; and Taraba, 50.
A recent report by a civil society organisation, Global Rights Nigeria, revealed that at least 555 people had been killed and 267 others abducted six weeks after President Tinubu took office.
The Country Manager of Global Rights Nigeria, Edosa Oviawe, while presenting a paper on realities of mass atrocities at a two-day ‘Conflict Sensitive Reporting Training for Journalists’ programme in Abuja, said the findings were based on reports from the media, civil society groups and security agencies.
Also, in a report published on June 14, Amnesty International (AI) said more than 120 people were killed a few days after Tinubu assumed power.
“It is horrific. Gunmen attacks have claimed at least 123 lives mere weeks after President Bola Tinubu assumed office on May 29. Rural communities, always bracing for the next bout of violence, faced deadly attacks by rampaging killers. Protecting lives should be the utmost priority of the new government. The Nigerian authorities must urgently take steps to stop the bloodletting.
“The brazen failure of the authorities to protect the people of Nigeria is gradually becoming the norm in the country. The government said it will enact security measures in response to these attacks, but these promises have not translated into meaningful action that protects the lives of vulnerable communities,” Amnesty International’s Acting Nigeria Director, Isa Sanusi, said concerning the report.
Some major incidents under Tinubu as President
Four persons were reportedly killed on Monday, May 29, with two of them beheaded by gunmen who invaded the Rundele community in Emohua Local Council of Rivers State.
Bandits on May 30 killed 25 people in three separate attacks in the Kanoma district of Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
Gunmen suspected to be cultists invaded two communities in the Ahoada East and Ahoada West local government areas of Rivers State on Wednesday, May 31, killing six persons.
The Makurdi branch of Shitile Development Association (SDA), Benue State, in a letter of intervention written to the state government and signed by its President, Door Samuel, and secretary general, Zuai Ephraim, said at least 40 people were killed in separate attacks carried out simultaneously on June 4 in several communities of the Katsina-Ala local government area of the state.
Samuel stated that after the dust settled on the June 4 shooting by gunmen at Imande Mbakange village market in Mbacher council ward, a total of 28 people had been killed.
The group added that on the same day, in Michihe council ward, six other people were slaughtered, while another six on the same night were killed at Achamegh village, Mbagene Kpav, bringing the total number of those killed to 40 in just one night.
Bandits killed no fewer than 50 people in Gwadabawa and Tangaza local government areas of Sokoto state in June for refusing to pay illegal levies imposed on them.
In another incident, attacks by bandits on the villages of Janbako and Sakida in Maradun local government area, Zamfara State, resulted in the death of 31 persons and injuries to many others.
At least 13 persons were also killed in Barkin Ladi local government area of Plateau State on June 10 in a retaliatory attack between herders and farming communities.
The incident happened after five herders were killed in Rawu village earlier.
According to reports, bandits in Niger State’s Rafi local government area slaughtered 25 farmers and kidnapped several women and girls from different areas.
According to reports, the incident happened in five communities.
On Sunday, July 2, Taraba State Governor Agbu Kefas imposed a 24-hour curfew on Karim town and its surroundings in Karim Lamido local government area.
The curfew followed a communal clash between the Wurkuns and the Karimjos in the LGA, where at least 50 people died.
A total of 24 people were killed on Saturday, July 8, when armed men entered the Zaki Akpuuna 1 and Diom towns in the Mbaterem district of the Ukum local government area of Benue State.
The way forward…
Commenting on the data on incessant killings in the country, a security analyst with SBM Intelligence, Emeka Okoro, said the killings in Nigeria have continued despite a new administration due to various complex factors.
Okoro said the killing in Nigeria is multifaceted and influenced by factors such as:
1. Ethnic and religious tensions.
2. Insurgencies and terrorism.
3. Inadequate security infrastructure.
5. Socio-economic factors.
6. Political tensions, frictions from political competition, and power struggles can sometimes spill over into violence. Pre- and post-election periods have historically been accompanied by an upsurge in politically motivated violence in Nigeria.
“Addressing these complex issues requires a multifaceted approach, including improved security infrastructure, effective governance, social cohesion, economic development, and peace-building efforts.
“However, comprehensive and sustainable solutions will require political will and concerted efforts both within Nigeria and from the international community,” the security analyst stated.