At least 486 people were killed in the first three weeks of 2022 by non-state actors across Nigeria, an average of 22 people a day, a PREMIUM TIMES compilation of media reports shows.
Over 80 per cent of the killings were carried out by terror groups that have terrorised the North-west and North-central zones while about 50 per cent of the total killings occurred in Niger State, North-central Nigeria.
Last week, the Niger State Governor, Sani Bello, announced that at least 220 people were killed in his state between January 1 and 17. Most of the killings in the state were unreported until the governor’s statement, an indication that the media miss some of the gruesome acts of terror groups in the country.
Apart from Niger State, other states that witnessed large scale killings in the first three weeks of 2022 were Zamfara, Plateau and Kebbi. The victims were mostly unarmed civilians.
PREMIUM TIMES compiled the incidents from media reports. Thus, unreported cases are not included.
Week one (January 1 to 8), 216 killed
In the first week of the year when President Muhammadu Buhari claimed that the country is more secure, at least 216 people were killed by armed persons. The victims include the 200 killed in Zamfara, the seven killed in Kaduna, three in Plateau, three in Akwa-Ibom and three in Ondo.
Week two (January 9 to 15); Minimum 37 killed
Week three (January 16 to 22); Minimum 13 killed
220 in Niger
In Niger State alone, at least 220 people were killed in attacks on about 300 communities this year, the state governor revealed while addressing journalists after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja.
He said between January 1 and 17, the state suffered not less than 50 attacks by terror groups.
He said within the same period, not less than 300 communities were invaded by armed persons.
Governor Bello did not reveal the exact days and communities where the attacks occurred but said they occurred between January 1 and 17 in 300 communities in the state.
Govt intensifies efforts
Following the worsening insecurity in Niger State, President Buhari ordered the deployment of more troops to the states.
The president, through his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said the ball had been set rolling for a major military operation in the state which had faced continued attacks on its communities by bandits and remnants of Boko Haram terrorists fleeing theatres of war in the Northwestern and Northeastern parts of the country.
“The Federal Government is willing to strengthen support and cooperation with all the states. I believe that with the full cooperation of the citizens, we will surely overcome this problem,” Mr Buhari said.
The government has also intensified efforts against the armed groups in the North-west with more troops deployment and air bombardment.
Some of the leaders of the groups were killed in an airstrike by Nigerian armed forces on New Year day.
However, many Nigerians believe more needs to be done to improve the security situation
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