Despite promises to tackle insecurity, 4,500 Nigerians killed, 7,000 kidnapped in Tinubu’s first year as President

In his inaugural speech on 29 May, 2023, President Bola Tinubu vowed to tackle the lingering insecurity in the country.

“Security shall be the top priority of our administration because neither prosperity nor justice can prevail amidst insecurity and violence,” the new president declared in his inauguration speech at the Eagle Square, Abuja, promising to overhaul the sector.

“To effectively tackle this menace, we shall reform both our security doctrine and its architecture. We shall invest more in our security personnel, and this means more than an increase in number. We shall provide better training, equipment, pay, and firepower,” he added.

It was not the first time Mr Tinubu would make promises of improved security. He had in countless pre and post-election appearances made such assertions.

However, one year after he assumed office as president, almost all parts of the country still suffer one form of insecurity or the other. Although one year may not be enough to judge the success or otherwise of an administration, there has been no significant improvement in the security sector from where Mr Tinubu’s predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, left it.

Indeed, the menace continued unabated, resulting in more than 4,556 fatalities and 7,086 abductions between 29 May 2023 and 22 May 2024, according to data gathered from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a global data hub that collects real-time conflict-related data.

Two months after his inaugural pledge to improve national security, Mr Tinubu expressed satisfaction with the performance of the service chiefs he had just appointed barely a month earlier.

“We have seen that we are recording positive results in our security challenges because of your dedication, commitment and steadfastness,” he told the Chief of Defence Staff, Christopher Musa, and three other service chiefs at their decoration ceremony in Abuja.

But killings and abductions keep making headlines.

An analysis of the ACLED data by PREMIUM TIMES shows that the six geo-political zones, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, experienced several violent incidents within the period under review.

Banditry-thorn North-west leads other regions with 1,475 deaths and 4,343 abductions.

The trio of Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara states prominently featured as violence hotspots, accounting for 551 out of 718 incidents recorded in the region.

In the North-central, 552 incidents of banditry, farmers-herders conflict and cultism claimed at least 1,444 lives, including military and local security forces.

In addition, about 1,321 abductions were recorded in the region.

Insurgency, banditry and other forms of violence in the North-east also resulted in at least 819 deaths and 688 abductions. These were recorded from 408 violent incidents in the region.

A similar pattern of violence, including separatist agitations and extrajudicial killings, claimed about 310 lives in the South-east where 214 others were kidnapped.

Mr Tinubu had barely spent three months in office when his administration was quaked with the killings of 36 military personnel responding to terror threats in some communities in Niger State on 14 August.

That same day, the terror group led by notorious Dogo Gide also shot down a military aircraft on a rescue mission, although the Nigerian Air Force said it was an accident.

Three months later, Nigerians woke to shocking news from Bokkos and Mangu local government areas of Plateau State where over 100 locals were killed on Christmas eve. Violence continued in the area for a while with a series of attacks and reprisals.

In March this year, armed terrorists abducted 137 students from elementary schools in Kuriga, Chikun LGA, Kaduna State. The students were set free two weeks later, after an undisclosed amount of ransom was paid.

That same month, 15 military operatives consisting of two majors, one captain, and 12 soldiers of the 181 Amphibious Battalion, Nigerian Army, were killed by raging youth in Okuama village, Ughelli South LGA of Delta State.

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