A report by a civil society organisation, Global Rights, said no fewer than 1,230 persons were killed, including 79 security personnel, and over 658 abducted in Nigeria the first three months of 2023.
In a document entitled ‘1st quarter mass atrocities casualties tracking report’, Global Rights stated that banditry remained the largest cause of violent deaths across the country with 29.27 percent (360 deaths) while an existing threat is the rise in extra-judicial killings and herdsmen related killings which constituted about 10.08 per cent and 13.65 percent respectively with at least 124 and 168 deaths each.
According to the report, Boko-Haram/ISWAP-related atrocities constituted resulted in 272 deaths (at least 22.11 per cent), while political killings, mostly due to the 2023 general elections, accounted for 95 deaths (at least 7.72 per cent).
The report also stated that secessionists’ violent campaign mostly in the southeast part of the country took 83 lives (6.75) while cult clashes resulted in 61 deaths (4.96 per cent)
Isolated attacks, mob attacks, armed robbery and communal clashes resulted in 67 deaths (5.45 per cent).
The report further stated that 6.42 per cent of all lives lost to violent killings during the period in review were security personnel numbering 79 while the remaining 93.58 per cent of lives lost violently were civilians numbering at 1,151 deaths.
Data on the brazen killing of security operatives is further divided into the police, 54 deaths (68.35 per cent); NSCDC personnel, 10 (12.66 per cent) and military, 15 (18.99 per cent.
Theatres of death
On the whole, the report said more violent incidents were recorded in the northern part of the country than the south.
Of the 1,230 recorded, there were at least 932 violent killings in the north representing 75.77 per cent and at least 298 deaths in the south representing 24.23 percent of the recorded figures.
A further breakdown showed that while the northeast had at least 312 casualties, the northwest had 289.
In the South, however, 140 deaths, mostly traced to secessionist activities, were recorded in the southeast; 88 in the south-south and 70 in the southwest.
The report further stated that banditry and Boko-Haram/ISWAP remained Nigeria’s largest source of violent killings in the first quarter of 2023.
Furthermore, it said banditry, Boko-Haram/ISWAP are forms of terror in the north that took most of the lives.
Specifically, it mentioned the north central – Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa states – where at least 331 killings took place.
It blamed the deaths on the activities of herdsmen.
“The evolving security situation in the north is evidence of a failure in governance and a testament to the incompetence/inadequacy of Nigeria’s current security architecture.
“The gradual rise of this new wave of banditry in Northern Nigeria can be traced to a few years back when observers and researchers in the country started sounding the alarm on the rising level of bandit attacks in the northwest,” it added.