At least 4,556 persons died in “mass atrocities” in Nigeria in the year 2020, a report of Global Rights, an international human rights organisation, released on Monday has said.
The group stated in the report released in Abuja that the figure represents an increase of 1,368, a “glaring spike of almost 43 per cent” in the number of casualties compared to the 3,188 recorded in 2019.
It attributed the tracked deaths to “violent attacks, clashes, terrorism, kidnappings, and extrajudicial killings” during the period under review.
The report stated that Nigeria “continued to battle with multiple forms of organised crimes manifested in a clime of insecurity” in addition to “endemic poverty, a floundering economy, mass unemployment, and the fresh layer of crisis Covid19 brought to the country.”
“Our tracking for the year informs that 4,556 lives were lost on the altar of mass violence and killings for #2020 grossly eclipsing 3188 deaths reported in 2019.
“These aren’t just numbers, they are people/citizen’s whose government has utterly failed to protect and serve,” Global Rights Nigeria stated in a post on its Facebook wall on Monday.
The report came amid recent mass kidnapping, and community raids by bandits in Niger and Zamfara States and other parts of the country.
Giving a summary of the report on Monday, Abiodun Baiyewu, executive director of Global Rights, charged the government to strengthen Nigeria’s state institutions and governance structures, ensure equality before the law, respect the rule of law, end impunity, protect civic right and freedom, and invest in human capital development.
According to the orgainsation, of the 4,556 deaths, 3,858 were said to be civilians, while 698 were state security agents.
North-west Nigeria recorded the highest number of casualties in 2020 (at least 1527), closely followed by the North-East (at least 1508). Kaduna state recorded the highest casualties in 2020 in the North-west
“For the second year running, for every 5.5 deaths recorded, at least one of them was of a security officer,” the executive summary of the report read in part.
In terms of the North-south divide, the group said “the highest number of deaths were reported in the northern region of the country with a cumulative of at least 3,720 killings while the southern region recorded at least 828 killings.”
It added that Borno State in the North-east, remained the state with the highest number of fatalities closely followed by Kaduna State, in the North-West.
It added that Gombe State in the North was with the lowest number of fatalities “with one (1) victim.”
While Borno in the North-west is the worst hit, according to the report, three of the five states on top of the chart are in the North West while only is in the North-central.
The first five worst hit states are Borno with 1,176 deaths, Kaduna, 628; Katsina, 501, Zamfara, 262; and Niger 254.
The report attributed the number of deaths in Borno to the insurgency that has been going on there and neighbouring states in the last 10 years.
It stated that the deaths in Kaduna were “largely due to attacks on communities in Southern Kaduna, which resulted in the deaths of at least 628 persons.”
On the basis of geo-political zones, North-west had 1,527 deaths, North-east, 1,508; North-central, 685; South-south, 443; South-west 231; and South-east; 162.
North-west: Organised banditry, attacks on Southern Kaduna
According to the report, the North-west region recorded 1,527 deaths. It stated that in the zone, Kaduna contributed 628, Katsina 501, Zamfara262, Sokoto 99, Kano19,and Jigawa 16, Kebbi two.
It stated that aside from the “attacks on communities in Southern Kaduna,” the North-west zone with high number of deaths “continued to grapple with the menace of organised bandit groups.”
“These brigands engaged in an assortment of violent activities including, community raids cattle rustling, commercial abductions, arson, sexual violence, and trading in small arms and light weapons. Banditry related incidents led to the deaths at least 1,137 people, significantly higher than the 2019 figure of 974,” it added.
It stated that the North-east with a total of 1,508 deaths, had Borno State contributing 1,176, Taraba 141, Adamawa 111, Yobe 74, Bauchi 5, and Gombe one.
The report attributed the deaths in the North-east largely to activities of Boko Haram and splinter terrorist groups.
North-central: Farmer-herder conflicts, others
North-central had a total of 685, the report says. Of this number, Niger contributed254, Benue 145, Plateau 139, Kogi 81, Nasarawa -32 FCT 28, and Kwara, six
The report said the region “has been a theatre of protracted ‘farmer-herder conflicts’, aggravated by climate change, the competition for land and water, and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.”
South-east: Extra-judicial killings, communal clashes
South-east recorded 162 casualties, the report says, adding that Ebonyi contributed 50, Anambra 39, Enugu 34, Imo 21, and Abia 18.
It stated that although the South-east region recorded the least number of violent killings in 2020, there was a spike in the numbers compared with the previous year, which it suggested could be likely due to “an upsurge in inter-communal crises.”
South-west: #EndSARS killings, herders’ attacks
The report says killings in the South-west totaled 231. It added that Lagos recorded 87, Oyo 42, Ogun 40, Ondo 37, Ekiti 15, and Osun 10.
It stated that in the South-west, the highest number of casualties came from extra-judicial killings, a large proportion of which it stated “was attributable to the #EndSARS protests.”
“In the aftermath of the protests, we documented a cumulative of 143 related deaths of both civilians and security officers across the country,” the report added.
It stated that Lekki shooting claimed at least twenty (20) lives, adding that the killings were documented in videos, including in an Instagram live video.
“However, the government in a confusing sequence of denials and admissions, fluttered before the panel s of inquiry it commissioned to investigate security forces brutality per state, especially that of Lagos,” the report added.
It also stated that in addition to the #EndSARS-related deaths, “there was an upsurge in nomadic herders’ attacks on farmers and their farmlands”, adding that “cult-gang related incidents were also a recurrent decimal particularly in Lagos and Ogun states.”
South-south: Cult gangs’ attacks, extra-judicial killings
South-south recorded 443 deaths, the region with the highest number of casualties in the entire South, according to the report.
It stated that Delta contributed 141 deaths to this figure, Edo 118, Rivers 76, Cross River 50, Bayelsa 43, and Akwa Ibom 15
For South-south, the report attributed the deaths there to “cult-gang attacks, extrajudicial killings, and abductions.”
“Cult-gang attacks were particularly prevalent in Edo, Rivers and Cross River States,” the report added.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999