Global human rights watch organisation, Amnesty International, yesterday disclosed that between January and June this year, at least 1,813 persons have been murdered across 17 states in Nigeria. The figure, it said, was almost double the 894 people killed in different parts of the country in 2017.
Most of the deaths were as a result of the perennial farmers-herders’ conflict, communal clashes, Boko Haram attacks and banditry. About 200 persons were hacked down in cold blood by herdsmen last weekend in Plateau State.
According to Amnesty, the rising insecurity and frequent bloodletting was being fuelled by the inability of the Nigerian authorities to enforce its laws and punish acts of criminality, brigandage and terrorism.
In a statement released yesterday, Amnesty International said that by failing to hold murderers to account, Nigerian authorities have been encouraging impunity that is fuelling rising insecurity across the country.
“We are gravely concerned about the rising spate of killings across the country, especially the communal clashes between farmers and herders and attacks by bandits across at least 17 states,” said Osai Ojigho, Director, Amnesty International in Nigeria.
“The authorities have a responsibility to protect lives and properties, but they are clearly not doing enough going by what is happening” said Osai Ojigho.
“The latest incidence in Plateau State, where armed gunmen attacked 11 villages on 23 June for at least seven hours and killed at least 200 villagers without intervention from security forces, should be investigated,” the group said.
Amnesty International, said that the recent violence in Plateau started after an attack, which was followed by reprisal attacks, an indication of unacceptable security lapses.
It urged President Muhammadu Buhari to bring those suspected to be criminally responsible for the killings in Plateau State to justice, so as to break the cycle of impunity that has spread through the country. Ojigho said the group was currently investigating the rising insecurity that has resulted in the increase in killings across Nigeria. He said that so far, preliminary investigations showed worrisome details of how frequently the security forces failed to protect villagers.
“In all cases, Amnesty International investigated, the attackers, usually arriving in their hundreds, spend hours killing people and setting houses on fire and then disappeared without a trace.
“Amnesty International is also very concerned about the impact of these killings on farming, especially with the affected villages and farmlands deserted because people fear going back to their homes.
“We are at the peak of farming season, and communities affected by this wave of violence are largely agrarian. But because of fear of attacks, they have either been displaced or unable to cultivate their farms, therefore, their major source of food and income threatened by the attacks.
“Making arrests and bringing to justice those suspected to be responsible for these attacks is crucial in ending the killings that are gradually turning into almost a daily occurrence. In many instances, these killings happen and no arrests take place,” said Osai Ojigho.