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The Many Avoidable Deaths in Nigeria Should Alarm Us All

NIGERIA is wallowing in blood, inundated constantly with killings and avoidable deaths. The bloodshed spilled over from late 2023 into the New Year, which is only a week old. No region is immune to the killings, fatal road accidents and deadly boat disasters, as citizens continue to grapple with benumbing reports of Boko Haram massacres, violent Fulani-herdsmen plunder, building collapse, pipeline explosions, arson, and armed robbery. This is the precursor of a collapsing state in which life has little value. The Bola Tinubu administration and the state governments must prioritise the safety of lives and property as a cardinal duty of government.

A local government area of Plateau State, Bokkos, has become a hotspot. Just days after the massacre of nearly 200 persons in three LGAsof Plateau during the 2023 Christmas festivities by suspected Fulani herdsmen attackers, fresh killings and arson rage there after gunmen murdered the chief imam of Ndun Village, Tangur District, Muhammad Idris, alongside a motorcyclist.

Before this, Nigeria ranked 15th in the Fund for Peace’s Fragile State Index 2023 with a score of 98. In 2022, Africa’s largest economy and the most populous country scored 97.20 points to end at the 16th spot. In 2023, Finland finished top with 179 points.

Apart from Plateau, other North-Central states are plagued by violent killings. Bandits cum terrorists are killing there wilfully. Furthermore, the entire Northern region is under a siege of violence, particularly also from terrorism and banditry. Abuja-based Beacon Consulting said no fewer than 5,060 Nigerians have died in violence under Tinubu, who assumed office in May, a continuation of the mass deaths under his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari.

This excludes the early December drone bombings by the military that killed over 125 persons in Tundun Biri village in Igabi LGA, Kaduna State. Boko Haram reportedly slaughtered no fewer than 15 rice farmers in Borno in early November, the same state where the jihadists beheaded 78 farmers in November 2020 during the rice harvest.

Coincidentally, the Southern states are not exempted from the scourge of violence. Killings are rampant from cult activities, armed robbery, secessionist agitations in the South-East, extrajudicial killings,and ritual killings.

In Lagos, reports stated that two persons lost their lives during a cult clash in Ojota, in November. In Anambra, five persons, including two members of vigilance groups, were killed in a nightclub shooting in December. In Rivers, an illegally tapped pipeline in Omoku, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA exploded, killing at least 20 people in December.

Reports state that Nigeria has more than 15,000 suspected cases, 9,772 confirmed cases and 530 deaths have been caused by the spread of diphtheria. Revamping primary health care, incentivising medical personnel, investing in vaccine production, enlightenment and enforcing a hygienic culture are germane interventions needed from the government.

Government must reform its security architecture, and effectively coordinate new initiatives to push back on the wanton killings. Mere issuing of press statements without visits and ample actions lacks empathy and responsibility, Nigerians must protest this.

As for Plateau, Governor Caleb Mutfwang should stop lamenting. He should establish and equip local policing across villages and towns in the state.

For the government to harness the full potential of the country and its citizens, gain investors and increase foreign direct investment, it needs to resolve the factors that make Nigeria prone to violence. This can be achieved through state policing, unlike the subsisting single police structure that is delivering deaths, disasters, and misery.

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