The various security crises that rocked Nigeria in 2021 have spilt into the new year, as shown by documented press reports.
Analysis of figures published by the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST) revealed that between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28, at least 1,761 people were killed across the country in incidents related to insecurity and protracted armed violence.
Among the fatalities were 1,084 civilians and 86 security personnel. Over 200 Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) insurgents, 11 kidnappers, and six robbers were also killed in the period.
Some of the most fatal attacks took place in Borno, Kaduna, Niger, Taraba, and Zamfara states.
According to Abubakar Bello, Governor of Niger State, 220 people were killed across Niger, between Jan. 1 and 17, and 200 others were kidnapped by terrorists, locally referred to as bandits.
“What I realise is that they have been taking us on a merry-go-round,” he noted. “When we deal with them in Niger, they move to Kaduna. When Kaduna deals with them, they move to Katsina. They have been hibernating in the forest. Some of these operations need to be handled simultaneously so that we get the result.”
Only five days into the new year, over 200 people were killed in several communities in Zamfara. About 10,000 immediately became displaced too after their houses were razed, said the federal ministry of humanitarian affairs.
The number of kidnap victims between January and February this year was 965. Incidents with the greatest numbers of victims were recorded in Niger, Kaduna, and Katsina states, where over 100, 57, and 50 people were abducted respectively during single attacks.
HumAngle earlier reported that at least 10,398 were killed, while 5,287 people were reported to have been abducted in 2021. These were the worst tolls since 2015. The number of victims reported in the first two months of 2022 suggests that very little has changed in how conflict affects the lives of ordinary people in the country.
One indication of how widespread the problem has become is that, as recently disclosed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, close to 70 per cent of Nigeria’s armed forces are engaged in policing duties across the country’s 36 states.
Meanwhile, the authorities and military brass continue to give assurances of improvements.
“I am hopeful that for us in Nigeria, the peace that we have yearned for all these years will be a turning point this year,” said Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor on Saturday, March 5. “Never again will we have the level of insecurity that we have had in the past, and this is an assurance.”
As Nigeria approaches another election year in 2023, security challenges, how the government has performed in addressing them, as well as what the various candidates plan to do, are expected to take priority among issues of concern.
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