Violence in Nigeria has been a recurring issue and death tolls keep increasing daily. Despite efforts by the Federal government and security agencies to curtail the insecurity that’s ravaging the country, lives are still lost to senseless attacks.
With the alarming rate of killings and abductions of indigenes by terrorists in communities across the country, the effect of insecurity in the country is not far-fetched.
Data revealed that the country is ranked 146th out of 163 countries on the 2021 Global Peace Index and the sixth most terrorist country in the world out of the same number of countries on the Global Terrorism Index published by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP).
135 People Died In Seven Days
Scores of Nigerians have lost their lives to bandits attacks and herdsmen and unknown gunmen, communal and election violence within the space of, with some abducted. Security agents have equally fallen to the bullets of these gunmen.
On January 28, Gunmen killed three police officers in Abakaliki, Ebonyi. On that same date, two soldiers in Nkanu East, Enugu, were equally killed. Gunmen also claimed the lives of two in Aboh-Mbaise, Imo, on that very day. The killings continued leading to herders killing twelve in Kwande, Benue.
The next day, Communal violence led to two deaths in Logo, Benue. On the 30th, five lost their lives to herders’ attack in Guma, Benue. That very day, Bandits killed three and abducted six in Jibia, Katsina. One also died as a result of Electoral violence in Misau, Bauchi.
It was a sad day for the Benue state police force on the 31st of January when Herders killed three police officers in Gwer West, Benue. These attacks persisted.
Violence continued on the first day of February as Gunmen killed one during an attack on a police station and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Idemili South, Anambra, and on the second, 44 people were killed by bandits and Gunmen. These people include forty-one vigilantes in Bakori, Katsina, a judge in a court in Oguta, Imo, and an officer and one vigilante in Idemili North, Anambra.
On the 3rd day of February, 58 more people died. Gunmen killed three and abducted three in Biase, Cross River, Gunmen killed two in Lere, Kaduna, Gunmen killed three security operatives in Njikoka, Anambra, Bandits killed forty-three vigilantes and abducted fifteen women in Kankara, Katsina, Kidnappers killed seven abductees in Bali, Taraba.
These deaths occurred between Jan 28th to February 3rd. Deaths were recorded consistently within this period.
Violence Can Mar The Forthcoming Election
On February 25, Nigerians will elect a new president to replace President Muhammadu Buhari, who is completing his second 4-year consecutive term, the maximum allowed. They will elect federal National Assembly members the same day and governors and state lawmakers on March 11.
With less than 15 days to the general election, there is no gainsaying that the present insecurity ravaging the country can mar the electioneering prices.
Human Right Watch has warned the Nigerian authorities that the insecurity can restrict electorates from exercising their fundamental right to vote.
“There is a thick veil of violence shrouding the 2023 elections that undermines people’s fundamental right to vote. It is important for the authorities to swiftly restore public confidence in their ability to hold those responsible for electoral violence accountable and ensure the safety and security of all Nigerians.” said Anietie Ewang, Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Also, in a 26-page report published on February 10, titled Mitigating Violence Around Nigeria’s 2023 Elections, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said the elections are taking place amidst wider security challenges.
ICG referred to the activities of various armed groups – Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the North East, bandits in the North West and Biafra secessionist agitators and criminal impostors in the South East. The organisation warns that the situation could hamper election logistics.