In his Saturday article titled, ‘The Endless Martyrdom of Youth’, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka said Nigeria is at war but her leaders are pretending.
Indeed, that is the perfect description of the current situation of Africa’s most populous nation where kidnappings and killings have become the order of the day.
In the past week, at least 239 people were killed and 44 others kidnapped in separate violent incidents across the country, mostly by armed non-state actors.
The violence is not limited to any state, ethnic group or religion. It is a general problem that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is finding difficult to curb.
For several years, citizens agitated for the removal of security chiefs as their tenures had lapsed and the security situation was getting worse. Even though Mr Buhari did not agree with the views of Nigerians and indeed lawmakers, he reluctantly listened to the public outcry this year. He changed the nation’s security heads but killings and kidnappings have not reduced.
Weeks after a new police chief was appointed, suspected Boko Haram terrorists attacked his hometown, Geidam, in Yobe State.
Different state governors – Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Babagana Zulum of Borno, and Hope Uzodinma of Imo, among others – have been victims of the violence; as they or their properties were attacked.
On Tuesday, the United States government issued a travel advisory, warning its citizens against travelling to Nigeria over the worsening security situation in the country.
The advisory also identified some high-risk zones in the country, where kidnapping for ransom, terrorism and other security threats are common.
This security situation, arguably, worsened last week with at least 239 people killed and 44 others kidnapped in violent attacks.
These figures were compiled using a review of newspaper reports, interviews with victims’ families and in some cases, confirmation by public and security officials.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that no fewer than 20 persons were killed in reprisal attacks between vigilante groups and bandits in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
Residents accused security agents of failing to act to prevent the attack in spite of a report to them days before. The attackers operated for about three hours looting and attacking people unchallenged.
On the same day, troops of the Nigerian Armed forces foiled attempts by Boko Haram to take over Dikwa, headquarters of Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno State.
Also on that day, Nigeria’s defence minister, Bashir Magashi, told journalists that President Buhari is happy with troops performance against Boko Haram.
In a separate incident, three people sustained gunshot wounds in a failed kidnapping attempt at Koka Village in Ibokun Local Government Area of Osun State.
Two police officers were killed in Anambra State, in a deadly attack by gunmen on a police facility in the state.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that some vehicles parked at the station’s premises were razed during the attack at the Zone 13 police headquarters at Ukpo, near Awka.
The killed officers were Ishaku Aura, an inspector, and Uzoma Uwaebuka, a police constable.
Also, the police confirmed an attack on a divisional station in Abia, saying the attackers “used dynamite and rocket launchers to burn down the building.”
The police in Katsina State said they killed three suspected bandits and recovered 330 stolen animals on Monday.
Many students and staff of Greenfield University in Kaduna State, were kidnapped, at about 8:35p.m on Tuesday.
The Kaduna Police Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Jalige, who confirmed the incident, however, said that the number of students kidnapped had not been ascertained.
But two university staff told AFP news agency that 20 students and three non-academic staff were kidnapped. A staff member was also reportedly killed. The gunmen demanded a collective ransom of N800 million and threatened to kill the students if the ransom is not paid. Three of the kidnapped students were later found dead.
In a separate incident, three construction workers rehabilitating the lkaramu/Akunnu Akoko highway in Akoko North West Local Government Area of Ondo State were abducted on Tuesday.
The abduction was confirmed by Tee-Leo lkoro, the state police spokesperson, who said operatives have “been deployed to the community to rescue the victims unhurt.”
In a separate incident, armed men ambushed and killed Suleiman Quadir, an operative of Amotekun Corps, around Fiditi area of Oyo State.
A 25-year-old female student of the Osun College of Health Technology, Ilesa, was also abducted on Tuesday. The victim, Rukayat Bayonle, was rescued three hours after.
Attacks by suspected bandits across villages in Zamfara State left at least 83 persons dead and hundreds of others, including women and children, injured.
PREMIUM TIMES findings revealed that most of the attacks, which appeared coordinated, happened on Wednesday in Gusau, Maradun and Bakura local government areas of the troubled North-west state.
The police also confirmed that two of their officers were shot dead by unknown gunmen during an attack on a police station on Wednesday in Enugu State.
Some gunmen also killed a businessman, Alaga Olayemi, on Wednesday evening while returning home from his maize farm.
Gunmen reportedly abducted 18 passengers from a commercial bus in the Ibarapa axis of Oyo State.
The passengers were said to be coming from Ogun State into the state. The incident occurred on Thursday morning along Eruwa-Igboora way.
President Buhari on the same day met with the Northern Governors Forum at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
He pledged his commitment to end all forms of insecurity in the country.
On the same day, gunmen abducted an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain in Ekiti State, Ebenezer Busuyi.
Mr Busuyi, who is Supervisor for Agriculture in Ekiti West local government area, was kidnapped on Thursday evening along the Ilawe-Erinjiyan Ekiti road.
Also, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Edo State, on Thursday, announced that one of its personnel was killed during an exchange of gunfire with suspected kidnappers in Benin City.
Security agents also foiled an attempted jailbreak by inmates of Kurmawa prison located within the Emir’s Palace in Kano.
Residents of Magami told PREMIUM TIMES that they buried over 60 corpses on Friday morning, after earlier reporting the recovery of 53 bodies. They said many residents were still missing and feared being killed. The Chief Imam of the town, Sanusi Na’ibi, presided over the funeral prayer. Most of the corpses were brought in from surrounding villages but some residents in remote areas that could not move their corpses to the town held separate funeral prayers and burials.
Also, three of the students kidnapped on Tuesday night at Greenfield University in Kaduna State were found dead on Friday. The Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, made the disclosure in a statement.
Suspected Boko Haram terrorists attacked Geidam, the headquarters of Geidam Local Government Area of Yobe State and hometown of the acting Inspector-General of the Police, Baba Alkali.
The military also said at least 21 Boko Haram terrorists were killed on Friday after the insurgents attacked Geidam.
Also, 20 women were reportedly abducted by armed bandits on Friday during a naming ceremony in a remote village in Katsina State.
The incident occurred around 1:00 p.m. at Gidan Bido village in Dandume Local Government Area (LGA) of the state
The Imo State government confirmed the attack on Governor Hope Uzodimma’s house in Omuma Oru East Local Government Area on Saturday by unknown gunmen.
While they failed to give the number of casualties recorded in the attack, PREMIUM TIMES confirmed that two security guards died.
A security team made up of officials of the Nigerian Army, the police and the State Security Service (SSS) later raided the headquarters of the Eastern security Network (ESN), the militant arm of the outlawed pro-Biafra group, IPOB.
At least 11 people were killed in the ensuing battle including four security operatives and a man described as the second in command of the ESN.
Also, 17 persons were reportedly killed in fresh attacks by suspected herdsmen in Benue state. A former Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly told journalists that many people were injured and receiving treatment in various hospitals in the state.
The report also said 11 persons were killed by herdsmen in the early hours of Saturday in Nasarawa.
The suspected herdsmen launched an attack on Ajimaka community, a Tiv settlement in the Doma Local Government Area of the state.