Lethal violence claims 15,245 lives in Nigeria 2022, North worst hit - Report

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By Kazeem Ugbodaga

A report released by the Nigeria Watch has revealed that 15,245 Nigerians were killed in lethal violence in 2022, with the northern part of Nigeria the worst hit.

This represents an increase in violent death in Nigeria in 2021, which stood at 13,537, according to report.

The report on lethal violence in Nigeria covers the period between 1 January and 31 December, 2022 and the project is the 12th annual report of Nigeria Watch.

The Nigeria Watch project is hosted by the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA-Nigeria) on the campus of the University of Ibadan since July 2013. Nigeria Watch 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 Institute de recherche pour le development (IRD) and others.

According to the report, the number of fatalities from violence in Nigeria reached 15,245 in 2022, bringing the total for the period 2006-2022 to 184,415.

In the report, Borno State was most affected by lethal violence, as it accounted for the highest absolute number of fatalities (2,921) and the highest relative number of deaths per 100,000 population (41.08).

“Niger, Zamfara, Kaduna and Katsina also recorded a high number of deaths and were on the list of the 5 most dangerous states in Nigeria.

“Crime remained a major cause of death in Nigeria in 2022. Despite a drop in the number of fatalities, from 7,527 deaths reported in 2021 to 7,031 in 2022, many communities, especially in the north, are ravaged by rural banditry and mass kidnapping,” it added.

The report revealed that in 2022, clashes involving farmers and herdsmen were reported across 24 Nigerian states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with no fewer than 579 lives lost in these incidents.

“Benue, Enugu and Plateau states recorded the highest number of deaths while Bayelsa, Kogi, and Kwara states
reported the least. Criminal gangs and government security forces were involved in more lethal incidents than other
protagonists of violence in 2022,” the report added.

The report disclosed that more deaths were recorded in road accidents in Nigeria in 2022 than in 2021, saying that like previous years, Ogun State accounted for the highest number of road accident fatalities.

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“The daily volume of traffic on the sides of the Lagos-Ibadan and Lagos-Abeokuta expressways is partly to blame for the state’s continued high rate of fatal traffic accidents. Generally, over-speeding, overloading, and traffic violation were among the main causes of road crashes in 2022,” it said.

In the area of crime, the report revealed that in 2022, Nigeria lost about 7,031 lives in criminal activities, against 7,527 lost in 2021.

“North West and North Central states were the most affected, with Zamfara reporting the highest number of fatalities (1,173), followed by Kaduna (1,110), Niger (1,012), Plateau (452) and Katsina (420). Rural banditry was prevalent in the states. On the other hand, Yobe, Jigawa, Gombe, Ekiti and Cross River states were much less affected by violent crimes,” it said.

The report also said that Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Ansaru attacks, as well as counter operations by government security forces, claimed about 3,110 lives across 9 states in Nigeria and the
FCT, against 2,116 in 2021.

“Like previous years, Borno State recorded the highest number of fatalities related to these incidents (3,110), followed by Niger (131) and Yobe (65). At least 19 LGAs in Borno State were affected, with Bama accounting for
830 deaths and Gwoza 678. [MOU2] Kaduna, Kano, Taraba, Kogi, Zamfara and the FCT also reported fatalities from insurgents’ attacks and counter operations by government forces. Multiple attempts were made by the rebels to overrun some parts of the FCT.

“In July 2022, ISWAP raided the Kuje Correctional Center and freed some of its members. Five people, including an official of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and 3 ISWAP fighters died in the encounter,” the report said.

The Nigeria Watch report added that the number of fatalities linked to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its militia wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), in the Southeast and South-South zones increased from the 306 deaths recorded in 2021 to 420 in 2022.

It said Anambra State recorded the highest number of fatalities (158), followed by Imo (106), Ebonyi (71), Enugu (53), Abia (27) and Delta (5).

“This is also because Anambra communities in Aguata, Ihiala, Orumba South and North, Awka North, Nnewi South, Ogbaru, Oyi, Idemmilli South and Anaocha LGAs became rallying points for rogue elements in IPOB after they were displaced from Imo State by government forces in 2021.

“The targets of pro-Biafra agitators included security operatives, politicians, and traditional rulers. On June 21, 2022, a politician and a former lawmaker in Anambra State were reportedly beheaded by suspected IPOB and ESN members.

“In Imo State, a would-be military couple on transit to formalize his traditional marriage was also beheaded by suspected ESN members. IPOB denied any involvement in the murder. Meanwhile, government security forces sustained the onslaught against suspected IPOB and ESN members in a bid to curtail their excesses.

“On July 9, 2022, in Awka North LGA of Anambra State, about 10 suspected IPOB and ESN were killed and their
hideout in Achalla was destroyed. The raid was a reprisal for the murder of 2 policemen in the area. With improved security in the region, the enforcement of a weekly sit-at-home order on residents has largely become ceremonial, with socioeconomic activities revived in some states,” the report added.

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