• 964 security agents, 3,071 non-state actors killed in one year
• Nigeria, a failed state at war, Northern elders, Middle Belt Forum slam Buhari
A damning report on the carnage of bloodletting across the country this year was, yesterday, released by SB Morgen (SBM) Intelligence, which stated that at least 964 officers of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the Nigerian military were killed in combatant attacks in 2021.
Giving breakdown of the casualties, it stated that 985 security operatives comprising 642 military officers, 322 police officers, 11 Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) officers, five Customs officials, two Department of State Services (DSS) operatives, two Immigrations officers, and a Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) officer were killed in the last one year.
The report released by the research and intelligence firm, yesterday, titled ‘Nigeria at war: Combatant casualties, examined combatant attacks in the period of Q4,2020 and Q3,2021.
The report, however, did not examine the number of civilian deaths within the period under review but rather highlights deaths of non-state actors.
In the non-state actors category, the report also revealed that 973 Boko Haram members, 1,989 bandits and 88 kidnappers have been gunned down between October 2020 and September 2021.
SBM intelligence revealed that 100 outlawed IPOB members, 290 cultists, 129 vigilantes, nine militants and nine smugglers were also killed in the period under review.
According to the firm, the report was based on a number of gathering tools including the Council on Foreign Relations’ Nigeria security tracker, as well as SBM’s own internal database of security incidents around the country.
In recent years, insecurity has worsened in many parts of the country. There have been cases of kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, armed robbery, farmers-herders clashes and other violent crimes.
To curb the violent attacks, the country’s military is currently carrying out operations in many parts of the country, especially in the northern part of the country.
Based on these figures of casualties, the report concluded that Nigeria is at war. “The Uppsala Conflict Data Programme defines war as a state-based conflict that reaches at least 1,000 battle-related deaths in a specific calendar year,” the report said.
“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 3,071 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.”
REACTING to the report, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) said that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to protect the life and property of Nigerians.
NEF’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said the Buhari government has not done enough to secure the nation. He advised the government to step up its effort in the fight against insurgents and bandits killing innocent Nigerians.
He said: “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 jeopardising our own security. However, governments make it difficult (for citizens) to exercise their rights to protest failures. We are in very difficult circumstances.”
Also speaking, the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has said the SBM report clearly indicated that Nigeria has become a failed state. National President of MBF, Dr. Bitrus Pogu, said it was unfortunate to have that number of people killed in one year in a country.
He said: “This number may be only those that were reported. It is unacceptable, because even in war time, 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 are 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.
“And the technique they use is that our troops stay at a place waiting for these people to attack and only to repel them. That is why we lost so many soldiers, so many vigilantes 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 faces in shame because a government which has failed like this one should not stop Nigerians from telling the world the truth that this government has failed.
“So these figures are unacceptable and we should not allow this to move into 2022. This government should either change or let them give way to people who can run the country better.”