Nigeria recorded 10,398 insecurity-related deaths in 2021, the highest death toll since 2016, New York-based think tank Council on Foreign Relations has reported.
The Council which was founded in 1921, released data on January 4, 2021 indicating that among the recorded fatalities, 4,835 were civilians and 890 security personnel. Another 1,760 were Boko Haram members, 107 were robbers, and 92 were kidnappers.
Nigeria was hit by insurgency in 2009 that has claimed more than 98,000 lives.
The rate of kidnapping spiralled since 2016, rising from 532 people in 2017 to 2,879 in 2020. In 2021, the figure nearly doubled after 5,287 people were reported to have been abducted.
In his New Year message to the nation, President Muhammadu Buhari said the persistent insecurity in parts of the country may have threatened to unravel the incremental gains achieved in the economy.
Insecurity, he said, is threatening the administration’s overall objective for sustainable growth and progress.
“The path to nationhood is often fraught with unpredictable difficulties and challenges, and most tried and tested nations have often prevailed through determination, resilience, concerted commitment to unity, and the conviction that the whole of the nation, standing together against all odds, is by far greater and would ultimately be more prosperous and viable than the sum of its distinguishable parts,” he said.
President Buhari, 79, added that tackling insecurity remains a priority for his administration.
“As a follow up to our promise to re-energise and reorganise the security apparatus and personnel of the armed forces and the police, it is on record that this administration has invested heavily in re-equipping our military in line with upgrading the platforms and firepower required to tackle the current challenges being faced in the country,” he said.
“The net results of these efforts have been the number of insurgents and bandits who have willingly surrendered to our Security Forces and continue to do so through various channels and the Safe Corridor created for that purpose.”
Buhari added that the government had realised that victory on the battlefield “is just one aspect of sustainable victory. We know that to fully win this war, we must also win the peace, and real security lies in winning the hearts and minds of the affected citizens.
“To this end, working with our international partners and neighbouring countries, we will be deploying multi-faceted solutions that will be targeted at addressing human security at the grassroots.”