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Terrorists, bandits killed 8,279 Nigerians in 2020, says U.S. report

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Gunmen kill female student in Benue varsity, two others in Kaduna

The United States (U.S.) Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has disclosed that terrorists, Islamic fundamentalists and bandits killed 8,279 Nigerians in 2020.

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In the report, USCIRF, an independent government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyse and report threats to religious freedom globally, stated that the number reflected those killed in northern Nigeria.

The report, which focused on violation of religious freedom by violent Islamic groups in northern Nigeria, revealed that security challenges also slowed down the country’s economic growth and development.

“This is especially while Nigeria battles with the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts that claimed many lives. Borno, which has been the epicenter of Boko Haram terrorism for over a decade, claimed 3,005 persons.

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“In Kaduna, 1,026 persons were killed, Katsina recorded 876 deaths, while Zamfara and Niger states lost 845 and 236 citizens in 2020,” the report stated.

It also revealed that about 37,500 deaths were recorded since 2011 due to Boko Haram activities and other violent Islamic groups.

“Despite Nigerians’ pleas for the Federal Government to “intervene and stop” the killings, not much has been done on the slaughter of innocent people. As a result of the massive killings, Nigeria’s economy is taking the heat with a 16.5 per cent inflation rate in January 2021,” it added.

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The report also pointed out that the country, which has the largest economy in Africa, has become most unsecured and continued to scare many investors.

“The insecurity of life and property in the country is scaring prospective investors away. Violent Islamist groups in northern Nigeria remain the deadliest and most formidable jihadist groups globally,” it stressed.

Besides, it lamented that the violent groups have also committed war crimes against humanity, adding that the U.S. Department of State had designated Boko Haram as an Entity of Particular Concern (EPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act for engaging in or tolerating systematic, on-going and egregious violations of religious freedom.

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MEANWHILE, gunmen suspected to be cultists reportedly killed a female student of the Benue State University, identified as Jessica Agee.

The Guardian learnt that the gunmen stormed her residence at Gyado Villa close to the second campus of the university in Makurdi and shot her dead.

The suspected cultists, who had gone on a rampage on Monday afternoon, disrupted the final year examination of students on the campus, which hosts the Faculty of Law.

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But when contacted, Dean, Students’ Affairs of the University, Prof. Ortor Emmanuel, said he was not aware of the incident, saying he was away.

However, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Catherine Anene confirmed the killing, adding however, that she was yet to be briefed on the incident.

Also, Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said bandits killed two persons at Akwando village in Kachia and Rikau road in Igabi Council of the state.

The deceased were identified as Elder Dikko Bagudu and Ibrahim Abdulmumin, while one Sahabi Shafiu was also injured.

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