Bandits, army, Boko Haram were main architect of violent deaths in 2019

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

No fewer than 11,277 Nigerians have been killed in violent manner in 2019, a report by the Nigerian Watch has revealed.

The Nigerian Watch undergoes a research project which monitors lethal violence, conflicts, and human security in Nigeria.

The project is now supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the British Council’s Managing Conflict in North East Nigeria (MCN) Programme, the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta, the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) and others.

In the 17-page report, titled: “Ninth Report on Violence in Nigeria (2019), fatalities from lethal incidents in Nigeria further inched up by 5.6% in 2019 after a 1.4% increase in 2018.

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“There were 11,277 violent deaths in 2019 compared to the 10,665 recorded in 2018. Crime remains the highest cause of violent deaths in Nigeria as 3,425 people perished in banditry, cultism, armed robbery and other forms of crime,” the report said.

According to the report, banditry alone claimed 2,067 lives in seven states in the north, while there was an upsurge in kidnap for ransom across the country.

“Foreigners, humanitarian aid workers, commuters, students and the academics were targeted by gangs. While some victims were released after their ransom was paid, 115 others died in kidnap incidents across 22 states,” it added.

The report said there was a remarkable improvement in the number of fatalities from herdsmen-farmers clashes, as fatalities dropped from 1,882 in 2018 to 549 in 2019, but noted that grazing issues remained a major driver of pastoral conflict in Nigeria.

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More so, Nigerian Watch reports that armed gangs were the main perpetrators of lethal violence across Nigeria in 2019, followed by the Army, especially because of its role in the counter-insurgency in the Northeast, while political organizations and cult groups were the other major stakeholders of fatal incidents in 2019.

The report had it that road accidents claimed 1,655 lives in 2019. The number went up from the record of 2018 when 1,380 people died in road crashes.

Ogun topped other states in road fatalities. Despite the ongoing construction of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, significant numbers of lethal road accidents still occur on this route.

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In terms of number of violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, the reports said the list of most dangerous states remained the same in 2019.

They are: Borno (Boko Haram insurgency), Zamfara (banditry), Taraba (communal clashes between Tiv and Jukun), Kaduna (banditry and issues with Fulani herdsmen) and Ogun (road accidents).