Nigeria has lost no fewer than 964 security agents, including 322 policemen and 642 soldiers, in attacks with insurgents and bandits within the last one year, according to a report by SB Morgen, SBM, Intelligence.
SBM Intelligence is Nigeria’s leading geopolitical research consultancy, vast in the area of primary data gathering, and analyses of data that provides clarity relating to political, economic and social issues in Nigeria and West Africa.
Released yesterday by the research and intelligence firm, the report examined combatant attacks in the period covering Q4 2020 and Q3 2021.
The report sparked outrage from stakeholders in the polity, including Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Alaigbo Development Forum, ADF, the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, and Middle Belt Forum, MBF.
Aside from the 642 personnel of the military and 322 police officers killed during the period under review, operatives of other security agencies were also killed in attacks.
They include 11 personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, and five personnel of the Nigeria Customs Service.
According to the report, other security agencies, including the Department of State Services, DSS, lost two personnel; Nigeria Immigration Service, two; and Federal Road Safety Corps, one.
In the category of non-state actors, at least 1989 bandits were killed in the period under review, while 973 members of Boko Haram and 290 cultists lost their lives in combatant attacks.
The report noted also that at least 129 vigilantes, 100 members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and nine militants were also killed.
In addition, 99 armed robbers, 88 kidnappers and nine smugglers were affected.
‘Nigeria at war’
Based on these figures of casualties, the report concluded that Nigeria was at war.
The report stated further: “The Uppsala Conflict Data Programme defines war as a state-based conflict that reaches at least 1000 battle-related deaths in a specific calendar year.
“The most known and influential definition was developed by David Singer and Melvin Small in the framework of the ‘Correlates of War, COW’ project at Michigan University which has assembled statistical data on wars around the world since 1816.
“It also defines war as any violent conflict with at least 1,000 killed combatants in a year. Both definitions exclude genocides and sporadic massacres and make efforts to include only casualties that belong to organised parties to the violence.
“This filtering has given us a total of 964 soldiers and policemen killed in the period, while 3071 people belonging to either Boko Haram, IPOB, or various militant and bandit groups have been killed in that period. The offshoot of this is that we can only say that Nigeria is at war.”
Recall that in recent years, insecurity has worsened in many parts of the country, with many reported cases of kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, armed robbery, farmers-herders clashes and other violent crimes.
Killings show govt’s failure to protect Nigerians —ACF
Reacting to the repor yesterday, Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, said: “The number of people killed may look like statistics now but they are all in flesh and blood of Nigerians.
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‘’Without Boko Haram and banditry, maybe they would still be alive. The twin evils of banditry and Boko Haram have caused Nigerians so many avoidable deaths, painful experiences, frightening horror etc.
‘’For all of government’s efforts, some evil men from hell are bent on inflicting maximum terror and pain on the rest of us. The government is worth that name only when it protects the lives of its citizens and their properties.
‘’Outside that, any group of men and women referring to itself as government but incapable of protecting the people and their property is fraud, pure and simple.’’
We’re in very difficult circumstances —Northern Elders
In its reaction, the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, said Nigerians were facing a “very difficult” circumstance, with the spate violence in the country.
NEF’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, regretted that the government had not done enough to secure the nation.
“The nation is being threatened and damaged at unprecedented levels. Whatever governments are doing to secure citizens, communities and the nation are obviously not enough.
‘Yet, we have to demand that leaders improve their responses to these threats. If leaders cannot protect and secure us, citizens have a right to question their continuation in power.
“We cannot protect ourselves from armed criminality without jeopardizing our own security. However, governments make it difficult (for citizens) to exercise their rights to protest failures. We are in very difficult circumstances.”
Nigeria at war with itself — PANDEF
Also reacting, the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, said Nigeria was at war with itself, noting that the nation was facing the height of insecurity.
The National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, Ken Robinson, noted in Port Harcourt yesterday that insecurity was worsening under the presents administration, calling on the President to be alive to his responsibilities.
Robinson said: “It is alarming and PANDEP feels that Nigeria is losing this number of security personnel as well as citizens for reasons that are completely unnecessary. It tells us of the height of insecurity in the country.
‘’We have said before now that the country is at war with itself and that is the truth. The country is at war with itself. Look at the number of soldiers, police officers killed in a country that is not at war; but at war with itself.
“Unfortunately, the government of Nigeria is not alive to truth and has continued to behave as if everything is okay. Everything is not okay.
“The President and Commander in Chief of the Arm Forces needs to be alive to his responsibilities of safeguarding the lives and property of the people. The activities of terrorists and bandits in the Northern part are making life unbearable.
‘’PANDEF is worried. Life is becoming worthless in the country. People are afraid of living and going about their normal daily. businesses.
“The government must sit up and put an end to the unnecessary criminality in the country that has continued for too long.”
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, which spoke through its spokesman, Alex Ogbonnia, described the development as scaring.
He said such killings would scare investors from coming to invest in the country, adding that community policing would help in securing the country.
Ogbonnia, therefore, called on Federal Government to revise the security architecture of the of the country to make it community-based
Killing of hundreds of security personnel, others indicates Nigeria is a failed state – MBF
Reacting in a similar manner, the Middle Belt Forum, MBF, said the report detailing how hundreds of military, other security personnel were killed within one year in the country clearly indicated that Nigeria had become failed state.
National President of MBF, Dr. Bitrus Pogu, said in Makurdi that it was unfortunate to have that number of people killed in one year in a country.
“This number may be only those that were reported. It is unacceptable, because even in war times, such numbers are never killed in countries that know what they are doing.
“It clearly shows that Nigeria is a failed state and it is unfortunate. Our military is being undermined. Just simple technology like the drone to protect them from ambush are not provided for them.
“So our police and military are being killed in their numbers. Our vigilantes are equally being killed in the same manner. There are testimonies from troops who were told that they should not be killing Boko Haram any how.
“The technique they use is that our troops stay at a place waiting for these people to attack, only to repel them. That is why we lost so many soldiers, so many vigilante and security personnel and it is unacceptable.
“The government should stop playing games with the lives of Nigerians. The primary responsibility of government, as provided in our constitution, is the provision of security and welfare for the people. The government has failed in providing security for the people.
“This government should understand that the kind of protests that the people are holding which the government is using security to stop in Abuja and others parts of the North is enough reason they should cover their face in shame because a government which has failed like this one should not stop Nigerians from telling the world the truth that it has failed.
“So these figures are unacceptable and we should not allow this to continue into 2022. This government should either change or give way to people who can run the country better,’’ he said.
It is regrettable —ADF
Also reacting, spokesman of Alaigbo Development Foundation, ADF, Abia Onyike, saw the development as unfortunate.
He said: “It is quite regrettable and unfortunate that Nigeria underwent and is still undergoing such a terrible bloodbath. This has been the case because of APC’s politics of hate.
‘’Buhari came into office in 2015 and declared war on all non-Fulani people, especially the Igbo, as if he was on a revenge mission. His fiendish and acrimonious body language set the stage for the cold war which later metamorphosed into all kinds of brutalities nationwide. ‘’PMB should apologise to Nigeria for bequeathing such a horrible and ignoble legacy of killings and death on Nigerians. He should particularly look for a way of making peace with Ndigbo before it gets too late. If he leaves office without making peace with Ndigbo, then it will be too bad and too late.”
Be ruthless with bandits, terrorists, others —CAN
On its part, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, urged the Federal Government to be ruthless against bandits, terrorists, and other violent groups in order to displace them from tthe country.
CAN’s Vice Chairman (Northern region), Rev. John Hayab, lamented that the ultimate sacrifices paid by many young people fighting to defend the nation had been made to look pale by the unabated insecurity.
He said: “It is sad to know that many Nigerians have paid the supreme sacrifice for peace in this country, but the continual lingering of the evil of banditry and kidnapping have made it difficult for citizens to see and appreciate.
“These great losses of police, soldiers, and the vigilantes are popularly known as civilian JTF who are mostly in their youthful age is a great loss to the nation and the impact may not be seen now, but in a short future, the nation will come to realize the danger and devastating effect of the vacuum that the killings of these huge number of personnel have caused the country.
“If we truly want to honor and appreciate those gallant men and women who sacrificed their lives for the peace of this country then our Government should ruthlessly go after all bandits, Boko Haram, cultists, and any other group that has now been designated as terrorists. These evil people should not be shown any mercy.