Report: The Rate Of Insecurity Under The Retired Service Chiefs

Under the command of the outgoing service chiefs, the deaths per day from the Boko Haram insurgency grew to a peak of 233%.

 In May 2015, a new commander in chief assumed the command of the Nigerian army with the country reporting death per day in the Boko Haram war at 767; this casualty steadily grew to 1789 under the same command. 

On Tuesday, January 6, the commander in chief accepted the resignation of Nigeria’s Service Chiefs, and their retirement from service for reasons many believe bordered on their incompetence and the rise in the rate of insecurity in the country.

Being the longest-serving service chiefs (6 years in office) in the history of Nigeria and lavished with generous budget allocations, perhaps Nigerians hoped that the rate of insecurity would be low. Data presented by Nigeria Security Tracker shows that the rate of violent killings in Nigeria steadily increased between July 2015 (Month service chiefs were appointed)  till January 2021 (Month service chiefs were retired).

In the budget allocation directed at security-related activities from 2014 to 2018, there was an increase in allocated funds and an equal increase in the cumulative rate of violent killings bordering on insecurity in the country.

Data from Trading Economics showed that military expenditure in Nigeria increased to 1,907 USD Million in 2018 from 1621 USD Million in 2017 both years with cumulative deaths totalling at 10,591. 

In October 2020, the world witnessed and reported the shooting of unarmed civilians who were peacefully protesting at the Lekki Tollgate by men of the Nigerian army- all within the tenure of recently retired service chiefs: Abayomi Olonisakin, 57 (Chief of Defence Staff), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, 59 (Chief of Army Staff), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, 59 (Chief of Naval Staff) and Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, 59(Chief of Air Staff).

This article will show data of violent killings in Nigeria by 3 significant players from 2015 till 2021.

Boko Haram

Once considered the world’s deadliest terrorist group, Boko Haram is responsible for the killing of over 40,000 civilians and the displacement of up to 2.3 million Nigerians.

From 2015 till date, 17,957 persons have been killed by Boko Haram. 

On Sunday, November 24, 2018, President Buhari presided over a meeting of security chiefs at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. A meeting which was part of the ongoing efforts to engage the military and intelligence community towards addressing Boko Haram insurgency one week after the killing of 70 Nigerian soldiers in Metele village of Borno State.

Surprisingly, Nigerian Security Tracker showed a 6.94% increase in death rates a few weeks after the meeting. The data showed that from December 2018 to January 2019, casualties rose from 15,806 to 16,984 deaths.

Sectarian Groups

The NST defines sectarian conflict as acts of violence that occur between distinct identity-based groups. Examples include conflict occurring between communities, religious groups, or between named groups, such as Fulani herdsmen and farmers across the country. 

Data from  Nigeria Security Tracker showed that sectarian violence had almost doubled since 2017. The NST documented 2,037 deaths through all of 2018, compared to 1,041 sectarian-related deaths in all of 2017- a 48.9% increase in sectarian casualties.

A total of 11,204 persons have been killed in acts of violence by sectarian groups in Nigeria from 2015 till January 2021.

President Buhari and his service chiefs refused to take responsibility for the increase in the state of violent attacks by the ‘Fulani herdsmen’ in Plateau State according to a report by CNN

Nigerian Armed Forces

The increased cases of brutal killings by members of the Nigerian armed forces have made the men of the armed forces a major player in the increasing violence based deaths in Nigeria.

On October 20, 2020, armed men of the Nigerian Army arrived at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos, Nigeria and opened fire on peaceful and unarmed protesters, resulting in a disputed number of deaths. 

Reacting to reports of what was termed the Lekki Tollgate Massacre, recently retired Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai maintained that the Nigerian Army abided by the rules of engagement on the night of October 20, 2020.

The NST reports that a total of 7,011 people have been killed by members of the Nigerian security agencies between 2015 to January 2021.

Comparing statistical death rates from 2014 to 2017, we find a 60.8% increase from 954 cases in 2014 to 2,424 in 2017.

The graph below depicts deaths by perpetrators which include Boko Haram, Nigerian security services, and sectarian groups within the 2015 to 2021 time frame. 

Despite a generous sum of N 3 trillion received by the service chiefs over their 6 years tenure, collated data showed that the death rate from the war they presided over increased by 233% and violent killings of civilians was at its peak.

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

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