Infograph showing the number of Nigerian killed in different attacks in the country in June, 2019
By Adejumo Kabir
No fewer than 353 persons were killed in violent attacks across Nigeria in June, as insecurity continued to grip the nation.
About 60 other persons were kidnapped for ransom across the country.
Among the victims were at least 57 soldiers killed in attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State.
This analysis reviews PREMIUM TIMES ‘ weekly tracking of the security challenges in Nigeria.
All of the reported attacks were either confirmed by security operatives or relations of the victims.
Borno State again recorded the highest number of victims of violent crimes in June.
According to a PREMIUM TIMES analysis of reported attacks, at least 116 persons were killed in the state last month.
Zamfara State followed closely with 94 deaths and 20 kidnap victims.
Bandits also attacked Niger State, killing at least 70 people; while 25 persons were killed in Sokoto State.
In Taraba, 13 persons were reported killed and one person kidnapped.
In Oyo State, two persons, including the son of former Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole; were abducted. The minister’s son was released after a night with his kidnappers. No information was released on whether or not ransom was paid to free the former minister’s son.
Also, one person was killed and another kidnapped in Osun.
Some states such as Edo, Cross River, Jigawa, Bayelsa and Abia states recorded one death each in different attacks in the month.
In Kaduna, three people were reportedly killed while four others were attacked by kidnappers. Plateau State recorded the death of 16 persons and kidnap of one victim.
Six persons were confirmed kidnapped in President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state, Kastina.
Three people were killed in Adamawa, seven killed in Kogi and two in Ebonyi states.
In Rivers State, four people were killed and three others reportedly kidnapped.
Public officials such as the former information minister, Lai Mohammed, and the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, have on several occasions resorted to a blame game for the violence across the country.
In August 2018, Mr Buratai blamed military commanders and soldiers in the Boko Haram war for failure to tackle the insurgents. He accused his soldiers of cowardice in a memo.
He said the soldiers were abandoning their positions in the face of Boko Haram firepower, an act he said should ordinarily demand court-martial of the suspected personnel.
Mr Buratai, a lieutenant-general, said any commander who “abandons his position in the face” of enemy fire “leading to avoidable death of troops and loss of equipment will be subjected” to harsh punishments as enumerated in the Armed Forces Act.
Last May, Mr Buratai also accused some politicians who lost in the recently concluded general elections of being responsible for the heightened insecurity in parts of the country.
“The myriad of security challenges we are facing now in the North West, North Central and other parts of the country, I want to believe and rightly so, is the fall out of the just concluded general elections.
“There are several political interests, politicians in particular not happy with their defeat and therefore, trying to take revenge, sponsoring some these criminal activities”, he was quoted as saying.
Mr Mohammed, while in office, had also blamed opposition politicians for the violence across the country without presenting any evidence.
About a third of the killings in June were caused by the Boko Haram violence in Borno State.
Although the Boko Haram insurgency has been on in North-east Nigeria since 2009, Mr Mohammed said in February that what appears a resurgence in attacks in the area is no longer local terrorism.
He said some of the videos and photos being circulated on social media purporting to show massive military casualties in Nigeria were “doctored by those who do not understand the fresh threat facing the country or appreciate the sacrifice of the military and their aim is to wage a campaign of disinformation against the military.”
He also said, “those involved in the act are few, and do not represent the majority of Nigerians who appreciate the patriotism and the sacrifice of the gallant military troops.
“A faction of Boko Haram has aligned with the global terror group, ISIS, to form ISWAP, the Islamic State’s West African Province. In other words, ISIS now has a strong foothold in West Africa – with Nigeria at the forefront of the battle against them.
“With ISIS largely dislodged from Iraq and Syria, there is undoubtedly a flush of fresh fighters and weapons to ISWAP. Therefore, our military is fighting a global insurgency, without the kind of global coalition, including the United States, that battled ISIS in Syria and Iraq,” he said.