After the December 24, 2023 attack, which led to the death of over 90 Nigerians in Plateau State, there was much grief, anger and frustration across Nigeria over continuous attacks on innocent citizens.
The killings by non-state and state actors, which have persisted since President Bola Tinubu came into power, have seen over 5,000 casualties.
Tinubu, whose thrust of his campaign promise to Nigerians was to tackle insecurity, apart from boosting Nigeria’s economy, has struggled to keep Nigeria safe since he assumed office on May 29, 2023.
Many Nigerians believe not much has been achieved by the President, especially in security.
According to data gathered by The Press from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a data bureau that collects real-time data on the locations, dates, actors, fatalities, and types of all reported political violence and protest events worldwide, about 5,135 people were killed between May 29 and December 31, 2023.
This also means that an average of twenty-two people were killed daily from violent attacks during the periods in review, given that the six months have 227 days (plus the remaining three days in May 2023) divided by 5,135, averaging 22.6.
The number of casualties during the first seven months of Tinubu’s administration shows a 33.79 per cent increase compared to the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.
In comparison with the Buhari administration, The press gathered (from the same source) that about 3,838 people were killed by both state and non-state actors between May 29 and December 31, 2015.
Borno, Zamfara, Plateau, Niger and Kaduna were mostly affected, while Ekiti, Jigawa, and Gombe states were the most peaceful place to live in, according to ACLED.
These recent distressing incidents have occurred amidst a surge in violence perpetrated by Boko Haram, particularly in Borno State.
According to the data, Borno experienced the highest number of individuals reported dead within the month under review, recording 1,692 deaths, while Zamfara, which has also been a hotbed of banditry attacks, came second, having recorded 503 deaths.
Terrorists in Zamfara killed more than 100 people in January 2023 when a large number of men invaded at least nine villages and unleashed mayhem in violent attacks that lasted for about three days.
Similarly, no fewer than 401 persons were killed in Plateau State as a result of violent attacks in the first seven months of President Tinubu’s term. The press, in a series of reports, detailed how the state had experienced many attacks, with the most recent brutal one (in 2023) being recorded on December 24.
Also, Niger State, which came fourth in the list of the most affected states, recorded 319 deaths.
On October 2023, The Press reported how an average of three people were killed daily between June 2020 to January 2023 in Niger State. Within the period, about 1,552 individuals were killed in violent attacks, while 1,044 persons were kidnapped in the state.
The kidnapping incidents were reported to have occurred in at least 16 of the 25 Local Government Areas of the state, with Shiroro, Mariga, Munya, Magama, Gurara, Suleja, Rafi and LGAs being mostly affected.
Worse still, kidnapping has become an increasingly attractive enterprise under Tinubu’s government.
It has become an industry where abductors demand money from families and guardians before releasing abductees. This is most prominent in the northern region of the country, which has recorded a plethora of cases of students and travellers being abducted in the past years.
Lately, it has also become more rampant in urban areas, particularly in places like the Federal Capital Territory.
In November 2023, the director of administration and finance of the Federal Capital Territory Administration’s Security Services Department, Ebele Molokwu, in a media briefing on the activities of the department, listed Bwari, Kuje and Abaji as councils with the highest kidnapping cases.
Tinubu’s unending directive to Service Chiefs
With continued attacks across the country, The press observed the trend of Tinubu always directing the service chiefs and security operatives to end the malaise, with less positive impact being recorded.
Although the Defence Headquarters said that the military killed about 6,886 terrorists and other suspected criminals and arrested 6,970 suspects during various operations across the country in 2023, many Nigerians and security experts believe much could be done to end insecurity.
They believe the President needs to take proactive measures instead of issuing directives only after attacks have occurred, adding that some of the causes of persistent insecurity are the menace of unemployment and poverty, exploitation of ethnicity and religious differences, bad governance, corruption and weak security institutions.
Security expert urges Buhari to address crisis
Speaking on the issue of insecurity, a research analyst (security) with SBM Intelligence, Emeka Okoro, noted that Tinubu’s government had not made concerted efforts to solve address insecurity.
“Since the inception of this administration, I have yet to see an intentional approach towards curbing this problem that seems to be spiralling out of control, apart from holding meetings with heads of security agencies,” he said.
Okoro explained that addressing the root causes of insecurity was important to reducing it to the barest minimum.
Okoro also said there was a need for a thorough cleansing of security agencies, adding that some ‘evil elements’ have infiltrated some of the agencies.
“First of all, addressing the root causes of insecurity is very key to bringing this whole thing to its barest minimum. Issues of unemployment, corruption, ethno-religious crisis, marginalization and, very importantly, strengthening our various security agencies need to be addressed immediately.
“A thorough cleansing of our security system is very important because these evil elements have infiltrated our police, the army and the other agencies. This has further weakened our intelligence-gathering mechanisms, such that our security agents are rendered ineffective in their jobs. The Nigerian citizens are like sitting ducks left without any form of protection from the government whose sole responsibility is the safety of lives and property of its citizens,” he said.