At least 1,603 people were killed in violent attacks across Nigeria between January and March 2021, a report by a non-governmental organisation, Nigeria Mourns, has shown.
The report titled “Violent Incidents Report: January – March 2021″ was published on Sunday.
The group said it gathered its figures through the use of newspaper reports and family sources to track violent killings.
The report also showed that 1,774 people were abducted within the three months under review.
“In the Q1 of 2021, Nigeria continued to experience inordinately high incidents of armed violence with very high body counts. Our tracking shows that at least 1603 persons lost their lives in the country from January – March 2021,” the group said on Twitter.
On the aspect of the perpetrators of the violence, the report revealed that 921 people were killed by suspected bandits, 207 people killed by persons suspected to be members of Boko Haram or its breakaway faction, ISWAP, 205 killed in isolated attacks and 106 lives were claimed by cult clashes.
Also, 79 people died through extra-judicial killings, communal crises led to the death of 53 people and 32 people killed by herdsmen.
A member of the Nigeria Mourns Coalition, Ier Jonathan, said the figures are worrying “but not meant to criticise the government.”
Nigeria has been battling with various forms of insecurity for years. This led to agitation by many citizens for state police.
As part of efforts to curb the challenges, South-west governors last year created a regional paramilitary outfit, Amotekun.
Also, the governors of the South-east states resolved to maintain a joint security outfit to be called Ebube Agu in April.
Aside from ordinary citizens, different state governors – Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Babagana Zulum of Borno, and Hope Uzodinma of Imo, among others, have been victims of violence as they or their properties were attacked.
Mr Ortom recently knocked the federal government for being complacent in the face of insecurity.
Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State in early May told journalists that Boko Haram terrorists have been occupying some communities in the state.
He claimed the terrorists have displaced over 3,000 residents of the affected communities.
Governors want Buhari to address nation
The 17 governors in southern states of Nigeria, on Tuesday, asked the federal government to “convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency.”
They called on President Muhammadu Buhari to “address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity.”
The National Assembly had also called for a national security summit with the House of Representatives already announcing modalities for one of such.
President Muhammadu Buhari has never shown support for such calls. He also did not endorse the establishment of state police.
Buhari’s aide blames ‘evil forces’
Amidst the security challenges, President Buhari’s media aide, Femi Adesina, blamed ‘evil forces’ popularly referred to as ‘Aiye’ in Yoruba as the reason for insecurity in Nigeria.
“…Just as some forces knew the record that was to be achieved by Muhammadu Buhari as Nigerian President, and which he had begun to show since 2015 when he got into office, they positioned themselves against the government
“The lesson? When you are high-flying, the centrifugal forces will come against you, and it would only take the grace of God for you to attain.
“Yoruba people call those forces Aiye. When Aiye is on your case, as it was against Man City, and it is against the Buhari government, you need God, and God alone. Aiye (meaning ‘the world,’ if freely translated) is the negative part of mankind. The pernicious, baleful, sly and scheming part of humanity. If Aiye gets on your matter, you need God and God alone,” his article published on Thursday partly read.
He, however, expressed optimism that Mr Buhari will conquer.
“Who says Nigeria will not rise from its current travails? Who says Aiye will always win? Not where God is involved. And God is involved with Nigeria, our own dear na Under President Buhari, peace and security would be restored. The economy would rebound. Life would be abundant for the people, and Aiye would be left standing small, holding the rump of the flag of a country it thought had gone into oblivion,” he wrote.
By Adejumo Kabir