No fewer than 3,641 people have been killed in Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Zamfara States by insurgents.
The President of the West African Action Network on Small Arm-Nigeria, a non-governmental organization, Josephine Habba, disclosed this at a media briefing in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
According to Habba, in Benue State alone, 483,692 people were displaced, out of which 56.24 per cent are children and 22.59 per cent are women and 21.17 per cent are men.
Habba said the statistics were based on the profiling of Internally Displaced Persons in Benue State carried out by Jireh Doo Foundation in collaboration with Benue State Emergency Management Agency and Community Links.
She urged the Federal Government to establish an independent Arms Trade Treaty to check unlawful trade in and misuse of arms and light weapons.
According to her, the negative impact of poor control of arms has caused more harm than good in the country.
She said the killings occurred between January 2016 and October 2018.
She noted that women and children were the most affected victims of illicit trade and misuse of small arms and light weapons.
Habba disclosed that of the 102 state parties that ratified the ATT, Nigeria is one among the two state parties that does not have an independent secretariat.
The WAANSAN President, while commending the Nigeria government for the arrest of some arms smugglers and arms factory runners in recent times, said the prosecution of such suspects should be certain.
She said: “All over the world, efforts are made at marking and tracking manufactured arms.
“We commend this effort, but wish to point out the fact that marking and tracking of ammunition is even more important as arms on their own do not kill or maim.
“Ammunition can directly cause hurt and deaths when the trigger is pulled.
“Moreover, it will be easier to trace perpetrators of gun violence if the bullets are marked and can be traced.
“Therefore, WAANSA-Nigeria, which has been at the fore front of advocacy for an end to illicit trade and misuse of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria, once again advocate for the setup of an independent Arms Trade Treaty secretariat by the Nigerian government.”
Habba disclosed that within the three year-period, Boko Haram had carried out over 65 attacks in the North East, causing 411 civilian deaths and abducted at least 73 people per day, including women, leaving at least 1.7 million IDPs in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States.
She maintained that based on UN and Doctors Without Borders’ reports, 5.2 million people in the North East are in urgent need of food assistance, out of which 450,000 are children between ages one and five, while 240 children have died from malnutrition in Borno State.
She said the Nigerian government has the constitutional responsibility to protect lives and property of the citizenry.
She said the inability of the government to show enough commitment has continued to promote the demand and supply of small arms and light weapons in the country.