Report says 1,872 killed, 714 abducted in four months
A deserted village in Plateau State after bandits’s invasion.
A non-governmental organization based in Jos, Stefanos Foundation on Thursday revealed that about 1,872 deaths, 714 abductions, and 65 injuries were recorded in Nigeria between January and April 2023 alone.
The organisation which focused on human rights and peace-building said the casualties came from 217 attacks in 34 states.
The report, therefore, stressed the urgent need for action to address the underlying causes of the violence.
The Advocacy Manager at Stefanos Foundation, Fatima Njoku, while presenting the report at a press briefing in Abuja, said the alarming increase in violence across the nation is a cause for concern, especially as Nigeria is not at war.
She said, “A situation where armless, defenseless people are attacked in the middle of the night, killed with guns and machetes, houses burnt down with their property looted and entire communities wholly displaced is unacceptable in any civilized clime. It is even worse when the attackers are un-apprehended let alone prosecuted.
“From eyewitness reports and testimonies of direct victims across board, we can say that the attacks are carried out in literally the same style, attackers dressed in similar fashion and victims with similar profile. This has happened in Agatu, Guma, Logo in Benue State, Kagoro, Zangon Kataf, Kajuru, Kafanchan in southern Kaduna, Bassa, Riyom, Barkin Ladi and now Mangu in Plateau State, and the list goes on.
“Stefanos Foundation has recorded 217 instances of attacks from 34 States across the Federation between January and April 2023 alone.
“From these attacks, we recorded 1,872 number of persons dead, 714 abducted and 65 injured. We find this very alarming for a country that is not at war.
“This new administration has come in at a time when security of lives and property which is the primary purpose of government is at its worst in Nigeria’s history. We bring to the attention of the government that this is an area that calls for urgent action.”
Speaking also, the National President of Mwaghavul Development Association (MDA) in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State, Chief Joseph Gwankat, called for immediate action to address the ongoing violence in their communities, which they believe may be linked to deep economic interests.
He made it clear that the return to their ancestral homes is non-negotiable, adding that if nothing is done to address the situation, there will be hunger and poverty in the land, especially given the current economic climate.
He pointed out that 40 per cent of farm produce from Plateau State comes from Mangu Local Government Area, and that the ongoing violence is posing a threat to their livelihoods.
The community leader stressed that the people have never left their ancestral land in pursuit of any perceived enemies to attack and kill them, but that enemies of the state have mobilized themselves at regional, national, and sub-national levels to attack them.
According to him, the Mwaghavul Development Association strongly recommends the establishment of state policing in all states and communities in Nigeria, as well as the creation of special courts to dispense justice between conflicting communities.
He added, “In all these attacks and killings, there has been no sufficient government presence or complete absence in of the villages.
“The adequacy of security personnel as claimed by the government and even surveillance with the use of helicopter or fighter jets which the former Governor, His Excellency Simon Bako Lalong told the whole world on a television that have been provided, are yet to be seen.
“The presence of National Emergency Management Agency or the Plateau State Emergency Management Agency has never been felt even as we speak now.”
He thanked Governor Caleb Mutfwang, who is barely four days in office, for embarking on a fact finding visit to Mangu Local Government Area and the sites where people have been displaced.