The Global Rights, an international human rights capacity-building non-governmental organization has decried the increasing spate of killings and mass atrocities in Nigeria.
Executive Director, Global Rights, Ms Abiodun Baiyewu, at a press briefing in Abuja ahead of the National Day of Mourning said, the country currently vacillates between being a fragile state and a failed state.
She explained that Nigeria was fragile because it lacked the institutional capacity to guarantee public safety and order, noting that its tilt towards state failure was manifest in the myriads of internal security challenges like banditary, farmers-herdsmen clashes, secessionist agitations and so on bedeviling her.
Baiyewu while lamenting the exponential rise in mass atrocities casualties said: “the numbers for 2021 are exponentially higher than the numbers for 2020.
“In 2021, our tracking double verified at least 6895 persons killed. In comparison, in 2020, at least 4556 persons were killed, while at least 3188 persons were killed in 2019, pointing to an exponential rise in mass atrocities across the country.
“In essence, there have been at least 14,641 killings as a result of mass atrocities between January 2019 to December 2021. The number of deaths steadily increased by 116.28% from 2019 to 2021. There are no signs of these numbers abating anytime soon, especially as Nigeria enters into its political season given its 2023 general elections which are expected to be highly contested and volatile as indicated by the number of politically related killings”.
She also noted that rate of abductions also increased exponentially: “the nation tilted from at least 2,002 abductions occurring in 2020 to at least 5,663 in 2021. Five states in the north of the country accounted for over 57.3% of the abductions”, she said.
In a similar development, the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC), Mr. Auwal Ibrahim Musa lamented that the government did not place paramount value on citizens’ lives as it ought to.
“Our government needs to wake up to carry out it’s constitutional responsibility which is protecting the citizens’ lives and properties which apparently have been compromised now.
“The National Day of Mourning is a day that reminds us that as citizens, we should not take one another’s lives. It is a reminder that these atrocities are drawing us back because there is no trust between citizens. It is not a good development in the country that we are recording increase in the killings of fellow Nigerians.
”It is also reminding us that our security personnel had not been able to take necessary steps to ensure security accountability. Arms missing, nobody is tracing them, nobody is held responsible for that.
“It is also a day that wakes us up to say look, government must do everything possible to take care of the security personnel because a lot of them are dying, nobody is bothered. It is sad that we are losing them and the country is just moving like that, this would discourage people from joining the police and the military.
“In other countries, when a police or army officer is killed, the country does not ignore it but in our case, it is a daily killing of both the civilian and the security personnel but the political class are moving as if nothing is happening”, the activist said.
Speaking on the way forward, the Program Director, Network of University Legal Aid Institution (NULAI), Odinakaonye Lagi, stated that recommendations made in previous reports, if implemented, would play a significant role in addressing the nation’s challenges.
The recommendations included investing in human development, strengthening state institutions and governance structures, and improving security forces’ welfare and work conditions.
“A third of Nigerians are unemployed, and that in itself is extremely dangerous. In the face of dwindling oil resources from the nation’s mono-economy, poor economic infrastructure, endemic poverty, a bulging youth population, an unemployment rate of 33 per cent, the highest number of out-of-school children in the world and an educational system that does not appear to be future responsive, Nigeria’s young people face a bleak future.
“The government must also ensure the protection of the nation’s security human assets and adequately equip them to deal with the security challenges with which the nation is confronted,” Lagi said.