•1,142 killed in 2020 first quarter
•North East, North West, North Central
•South East, South West, South-South the least affected
No fewer than 353 Nigerians including 161 security operatives were reportedly killed by Boko Haram terrorists, Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP), and other violent groups across Nigeria in March 2020 alone, a new report has revealed.
This is coming in the wake of the novel COVID-19 pandemic, which claimed more lives.
The report which was released Monday by NigeriaMourns, also revealed that in the first quarter of 2020 alone, the country has already recorded the loss of at least 1,142 lives to violent killings compared to 3188 lives lost in the entire 2019.
According to the report, the recorded attacks bordered around continued terrorism, banditry/pillage attacks, targeted and coordinated abductions, and extrajudicial killings perpetrated by security personnel.
It disclosed that the numbers in the month of March continue to highlight the deliberate targeting of security officers by insurgents, as about 161 security personnel were killed in March.
“For instance, at least 83 persons were killed in 7 insurgent attacks in the North-East. Of the stated number, at least 50 were soldiers who had been killed in an ambush by suspected Boko Haram gunmen near Goneri, a village in Yobe State. ISWAP insurgents also killed 5 police officers in Dapchi, Yobe State.
“Again, members of a joint security patrol team compromising of the Nigerian Army, the Police Force, and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps were attacked by unidentified armed men around Galkogo Forest, Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State leading to the death of at least 29 agents.
“In a similar fashion, at least 70 soldiers were killed when rocket-propelled grenades were fired on their convoy in an ambush, as they traveled near Gorgi village in Borno State,” the report read.
The report also revealed that the targeted attacks on security personnel by the terrorists and the successes of these ambushes buttress claims by security critics that the Nigerian Army has largely been under-equipped and is in need of better protective gear.
However, on Banditry/Pillages, the report revealed that there were at least, 27 incidents of bandit attacks/pillage which accounted for at least 219 deaths in March alone.
It added that at least 51 people were killed and millions of naira worth of properties destroyed in coordinated pillage of five villages – Hashimawa, Marina, Kerawa, Unguwan Musa and Zariyawa – in Kaduna State.
On highway attacks and abductions, the report indicates that 37 incidents were recorded in March in spite of several highway security checkpoints spread across the country as attacks on, and kidnappings of commuters have persisted.
It explained that if the 37 incidents recorded in March, at least 4 persons were killed.
“It is also important to highlight that these highway attacks and abductions have been more coordinated in the North, than when compared to the South. This could be linked to the fact that most highway attacks in the North have been undertaken by bandits.
“The attack and abduction of 23 passengers traveling between Minna, Niger State, and Katsina, kidnapped by unidentified gunmen is worth specific mention. As at the time of this report, there has been no update on the status of their cases,” the report stated.
The report further disclosed that extrajudicial killings by state security agents have remained a recurring theme in as a total, 7 lives were lost to extrajudicial killings in March.
The report shows that 2 of the incidents were attributed to “stray bullets”, as it also noted the tragic killing of a 15-year-old girl, identified as Sekinat Agbelade, who was shot by Nigeria Customs Service agents at Agosasa, Ipokia Local area of Ogun State, while in pursuit of suspected smugglers.
“Also, the military has claimed that an attack on Ezetu Community, in Bayelsa State, that led to the deaths of 2 persons was “accidental”, following the burning of a military houseboat by unknown persons
“If the officers that shot these victims had been identified and arrested remains unknown, as there have been no records of neither an investigation nor prosecution.”
According to the report highlights above have painted a dreary picture of the declining state of security and human rights in Nigeria.
“The trend of events this month reveals the vulnerability of the Nigerian forces in the Northeast. This has made them, as well as the residents of the restive region, easy targets to terrorists. Another red flag is the limited capability of security operatives to curtail attacks on commuters and residents in the region.
“The abysmal failure of the Nigerian leadership to rise to the security challenges of the country must be redressed. The security of the entire nation has to become a priority for the government at all levels, in order to curb the menace and ensure the safety and security of the Nigerian people,” the report read.