At least 90 people have been confirmed killed in Niger state as a result of insecurity in the first quarter of 2020, placing it in the fifth position among the Worst States to Live in Nigeria.
According to Mass Atrocities Report of 2020, between January and April, 1,416 deaths occurred with 1,141 civilians and 275 security personnel.
Despite claims of scaling up the security apparatus at flash points across the State, especially its border towns to forestall insecurity, the report in the worst five States also has Niger State placed fifth, with 90 deaths behind Borno State, which has 342; Kaduna 198; Katsina 193; and Plateau State 92.
The breakdown of deaths, banditry/pillage has 776 deaths, Boko Haram/ISWAP Insurgents 342, Cult clashes 69, Herdsmen attacks 58, Extrajudicial killings 56, communal clashes 55, Isolated attacks 47, politically motivated violence six, Pirate attacks four and Mob actions three.
The North East zone has 470 as the highest, followed by the North West with 449, North Central 261, South South 142, South West 49 and South East 45 as the least death cases.
It should be recalled that the State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, had on several occasions declared that the Government is in talks with security agencies as part of efforts to end insecurity in parts of the State, noting that the State has been confronted with security challenges in recent times and that the government will not relent in doing everything possible to ensure that it ends them.
While addressing journalists on Thursday as part of activities to mark this year’s National Day of Mourning, the Convener, Niger Accountability Group and State Coordinator, NDoM, Mathew Oladele, called on all citizens to join their voices, including corporate entities, government establishments and security agencies to fly their flags at half-mast for the half of this day in honour of those who have been killed.
According to Oladele: “Between 2018 and now, we have recorded deaths in couples of hundreds of Nigerlites to violent killings across the State; with the first quarter of 2020 alone, we have recorded ninety (90) deaths. Yet, without much ado from the government.
“We are still grappling with the level of insecurities and the growing series of impunity; We have cases of brutality by security agents, increase in armed banditry, kidnapping, Boko Haram, militia herdsmen, cultism, extra judicial killings, electoral violence and other forms of violence that have resulted to death and displacement of citizens.
“We are holding this civil action annually in memory of victims of mass violence/killings in Niger State and the country at large. This day, 28th, May of every year is set aside as a National Day of Mourning and Remembrance for all victims of violent killings and Mass Atrocities across Nigeria.
“The National Day of Mourning and Remembrance is a citizen-led initiative to express solidarity and demand accountability for the lapses in security and welfare of all Nigerians. This is anomaly that must end. Our citizens are more than numbers. Our Communities and state deserve to live peacefully.
“As Nigerlites are being killed, so also we are being displaced from our communities and left to be living at IDP camps in our own land and our livelihoods are laid to ruin, the government has shown itself unwilling or unable to confront these killings to put an end to them.
“And by so doing, Government has abdicated its constitutional duty to guarantee the safety, security, and wellbeing of all who live within the State’s geographical boundaries. Our leaders have fueled the embers of mistrust ascribing their failure to protect lives and property to ill-founded narratives of ethnic, partisan, and religious mischief.”
The State Coordinator called on concerned authorities to end conflicts in the region by immediately ordering a full investigation into the killings to fish out perpetrators of the crisis to justice.
Oladele said: “Ensure the adequate provision of humanitarian aid and assistance to communities displaced by armed bandits; Ensure an urgent accounting of the missing persons through kidnapping to regain their freedom and the dead caused by armed bandits, and an estimation of the loss incurred by individuals and impacted communities at Shiroro, Rafi, Munya, Lapai, Paiko, Mashegu and Wushishi LGAs.”
Furthermore, he urged the state government to engage security agencies, security experts, Civil Society Organisations and the media to sensitise community members at various hotspots across the state on community policing.