A coalition of women and civil society groups under #SecureOurLives is compiling the names of the hundreds of Nigerians killed across the country with the idea of building a database for victims of conflict and insecurity in the country.
The project which commenced in April 2021 has since verified the names of 1, 499 victims across the country.
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A member of the coalition, Buky Williams of the Plan for Action Group, said, “When we read the news, or we look at what is happening, we forget that there is a person behind what has happened and we forget that it is happening to people’s families, people’s friends, people’s loved ones and by saying their names we are honouring them and saying that we didn’t need to lose them if we had put in place early warning systems, and if the security structure had responded to situations like kidnappings, the safety of our schools, all of these critical things. We don’t want this to continue. We can’t continue to lose loved ones. It’s not like there is no solution, it’s just that we have not prioritised this enough.”
Another member of the coalition, Ayisha Osori, said it is surprising that Nigeria does not have a database of victims of the violence that has been engulfing the country over the years.
“We noticed that there is a gap in keeping records of victims. Nowhere is there a comprehensive list of people affected by the insecurity and conflicts so we thought we should start putting one together,” she said.
Ms Osori said they will eventually build a “Red Register” which will be publicly available online and will be updated with the names of every Nigerian killed in conflict or as a result of insecurity.
“By October, we hope to put on an exhibition that will capture the enormity of the losses we have suffered, something that will be symbolic of the names we have been able to verify,” she said.
She added that they are in the process of verifying hundreds of victims like those killed during the Shiite/Military clashes in Kaduna and those killed in the violence in Southern Kaduna. The names will be added to the list when the verification process is completed.
On how they compiled the list, Ms Osori said they relied on data from SB Morgen Intelligence and Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, (ACLED), the Council for Foreign Relations, Nigeria Security Tracker, data from the US State Department’s report on religious violence in Nigeria titled “Nigeria Silent Slaughter: Genocide in Nigeria and the Implications for the International Community”, as well as media reports.
She says they are making the list available to encourage Nigerians who know of victims of violence to come forward with the name of the victims so they could be added to the list after being subjected to a verification process.