Niger, Kaduna lead as 1,497 Nigerians killed in March | Dailytrust

Niger, Kaduna lead as 1,497 Nigerians killed in March

  • 217 LGs in 35 states affected

  •  ‘Banditry thrives in ungovernable areas’

  • 68.8% increase from Feb

 

Niger State (North Central) and Kaduna (North West) have topped the chart as a total of 1,497 people were reported killed in March 2022 across the country, a report by an Abuja-based security risk management and intelligence consulting company has revealed.

Beacon Consulting, in its latest report for March 2022, a copy of which Daily Trust Saturday obtained, stated that while a total of 487 people were reportedly killed in Niger State, Kaduna State lost 266 in the month.

These were among 428 incidents across the country that resulted in 1,497 killings and 702 abductions that affected 217 local government areas in 35 states.

A comparative analysis of the figures recorded in February with those of March 2022 shows a 68.8 per cent increase in fatalities and 40.1 per cent increase in kidnapping.

The report, titled, “Nigeria Security Report,” also recorded diverse security incidents, ranging from agitations within the police and a threat of mutinous strike action, massive theft of crude and refined petroleum products affecting Nigeria’s economy; the use of improvised explosive devices in attacks by non-state actors in Kaduna State, as well as social upheaval associated with women groups, national students union and the organised labour, and petroleum products shortage that resulted in movement disruption and obstruction to operations nationwide.

Bandits kill six Niger vigilantes as mob vandalises police station

 

Other incidents recorded in the report include the continuation of the activities of non-state actors and security forces operations across the country and criminal activities in South West, Nigeria.

“There is a rise in violence associated with political events and politicians ahead of party primaries for the 2023 general elections and off-cycle elections in Ekiti and Osun states,” the report reads.

North Central leads

A breakdown of the incidents shows that 21 per cent occurred in the North Central with 548 fatalities; 24 per cent occurred in the North West region with 482 fatalities; 19 per cent in the South West with 72 fatalities; 16 per cent in the North East with 313 fatalities; 12 per cent South South with 44 fatalities and 8 per cent in the South East with 38 fatalities.

An analysis of the trends in the report indicates that the high casualty fatalities recorded in the North Central may not be unconnected with the rising fatalities in Niger State, which is becoming notorious for terrorists’ activities in recent times.

Jibrin Ndache, the security and defence editor of Blueprint newspapers attributed the sharp increase in fatalities and abductions in Niger (North Central) and Kaduna (North West) states to the existence of ungoverned spaces in the two states.

He said it was also an indication of the activation of the network of the terrorists across the states, as well as a continuation of the trend whereby non-state actors are successfully challenging the state’s monopoly of the use of force.

According to the report, 75 per cent of the incidents were raids carried out by non-state actors, while 12 per cent were from ambush by the same non-state actors.

Further scrutiny of the report also indicates that a total of 3,586 deaths were recorded between January and March across the country, with the North West recording the highest death rate of 1,373, followed by the North Central, with 958 casualties, while the North East recorded 808 victims.

A careful observation indicates that the over-representation of the North Central region in the fatality figures in the March report may not be unconnected with the rising fatalities in Niger State (487), which almost doubled that of the second highest state of Kaduna (266).

The South West had 183 deaths, while the South East and South South had 174 and 90 deaths respectively.

A further breakdown shows that 38.3 per cent of the fatalities recorded in the first quarter (January to March) affected the North West region; 26  per cent affected the North Central, while 22.5 per cent affected the North East, thus putting the total percentage of fatalities in northern Nigeria at 87.5 per cent.

In addition, a quarterly analysis of the states most affected by the fatalities from January to March shows the spread across 31 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with Niger State recording the highest fatalities of 795 deaths, followed by Borno, 711, Kaduna 488, Zamfara 462, Katsina 235, Kebbi 161 and Anambra 88.

An analysis of kidnappings from January 1 to March 31, 2022, shows that a total of 1,808 abductions were recorded across the country, with North West recording the highest figure of 1,062 incidents, followed by the North Central with 464, while the North East recorded 117 victims.

The report also indicates that the South South recorded 72 abductions, South West, 45, while the South East had 48.

Kaduna deteriorates

According to the report, Kaduna State became the epicentre of deteriorating security challenges in the North Central and North West geopolitical regions partly because of its proximity to the convergence of gunmen in ungoverned spaces in Niger State (North Central) and Katsina and Zamfara States (North West), and possibly due to political developments that are incentivising the perpetrators.

The report reads, “Over the monitored period, in Kaduna State we recorded several attacks on critical infrastructures, including the airport and rail tracks. The most spectacular and attention-generating incident was a military precision attack by gunmen on the rail track linking Abuja to Kaduna State, which occurred about 1945 hours on March 28, 2022.

“The gunmen, suspected to be bandits working with operatives of a terror group, the Jamaat Ansar al Muslimeen fi Bilad al Sudan or Ansaru, conducted a coordinated complex attack on the train at a point near the Rigasa train station, along the Abuja-Kaduna rail track, forcing the train heading to Kaduna from Abuja to stop.

“The attack included the deployment of an improvised explosive device  on the train tracks, gunshots and abduction of a yet to be specified number of persons. So far, nine persons have been reported dead as a result of the attack while an unspecified number of persons have been abducted.”

 

FCT

According to the report, the trend of increasing criminality in parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, was also monitored, which indicates their prevalence in the outlying council areas of Abaji, Gwagwalada and Kuje mainly, where gunmen raided communities and abducted residents.

“In Abuja Municipal Area Council, the predominant security challenge is mainly protest action targeting government institutions, and opportunistic and violent criminality. Over the monitored period, women groups, civil society activists and affirmative and gender parity protagonists converged and picketed the gate of the National Assembly to protest the refusal of the two chambers to include their demand in the constitution amendment process. This caused movement disruption in the vicinity of the National Assembly,” the report stated.

In Lagos (South West), the report cited an instance on March 10 when the Commissioner for Information and Strategy in the state, Gbenga Omotoso, announced government’s decision to suspend the activities of the National Union of Road Transport Workers Union (NURTW) and their activities in all the state’s parks and garages.

Omotoso was quoted in the report as explaining that the suspension of the activities of the union was necessitated to douse the unnecessary tension generated by its leadership tussle and protect the citizenry from the likely fallout of the situation.

“Following this suspension, security agencies increased their presence and deployment at parks and garages to prevent any breach of security by factional union members. So far, the development has not generated any security issue.

“It is, however, assessed as credible that this may change as political activities intensify and politicians attempt to influence the outcome of the leadership succession in the union,” the report reads.

The report also indicates that the monitored period recorded the trend of increased criminal activities, as well as a continuation of low-level political violence in the South West, mainly associated with the preparation for governorship elections scheduled to take place in Ekiti State on June 18, 2022 and in Osun on July 16, 2022.

“It is assessed as credible that the prevalence of armed youths, popularly called political thugs, who are engaged as non-state actors, and the inability of the two major political parties in Ekiti and Osun states, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to hold free and fair primary elections, has laid the foundation for a contentious governorship election and increased the potential for violence before, during and the post election.

“The other issues monitored in the region are violent criminality, including highway robbery along the Ibadan–Lagos and the Abeokuta–Lagos highways and the associated kidnap for ransom in these locations,” the report stated.

In the South East, the report stated that the major developments within the period in the review were the continued targeting of government buildings (particularly local government secretariats), traditional institutions, the deterioration of the political dispute and the security situation in Anambra and Imo states, a continuation of attacks on security forces formations and personnel, reactions to the rescinding of a contentious sit-at-home order over the continued detention and the trial in custody in Abuja of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu, and the security forces’ action against the group and criminal elements in the region.

“A trend we are monitoring is the increasing use of improvised explosive devices in targeted attacks in the region,” the report noted.

While noting that government’s efforts failed to prevent a month-to-month increase in security incidents and fatalities, as well as kidnappings, the report stated: “We monitored a marked increase in security incidents in the North Central and North West, Nigeria, with incidents in Niger and Kaduna states generating national and international attention.

“We also monitored a continuation of the federal and state governments’ efforts to address the security challenges in the country using mainly security forces operations.”

The federal government has consistently said it is doing more than enough to address security challenges in the country.

Recall that prominent Nigerians had, during the Easter celebration, berated lawlessness in the land, even as some regional groups, such as the Northern Elders Forum asked President Muhammadu Buhari to resign.

However, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had, time without number, said the Buhari administration was not overwhelmed by the security challenges in the country.

For instance, speaking on the attack of the Kaduna-bound train some weeks ago, he said the government was fast-tracking the installation of some security gadgets on railway tracks to ensure adequate surveillance.

Mohammed further said that in spite of the security challenges, the military and other security personnel were doing their best and had recorded successes in their fight against terrorism.

“We must give kudos to our military. You know that we are not fighting a conventional war but terrorism; hence the need for everyone to support the security agencies so as to win over the menace.

“The federal government has also given the military the enabling environment to continue in the fight against terrorism and banditry,” he said.

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