For two long nights between May 15 and 16, Kubwat and Fungzai villages in Mangu Local Government Area, LGA, of Plateau State became killing fields. Terrorists unleashed mayhem on the villages, razing houses and foodstuffs, and killed no fewer than 100 persons mostly women and children.
So far, 50 bodies have been discovered. The death toll could rise as people were still running in droves from the sacked communities to Mangu town and beyond to seek refuge as of press time. The lawmaker representing Mangu/Bokkos Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr Solomon Maren, said the attacks were among many in the constituency where 200 persons had been killed in the last four months.
The 100 lives wasted in Mangu are among the 63,111 that have been killed since outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015. According to data obtained from the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST), a project of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Africa programme, the deaths arose from terrorism, banditry, Herders/farmers clashes, communal crises, cult clashes, and extra-judicial killings among others.
The NST documents and maps violence in Nigeria that is motivated by political, economic, or social grievances. “Different groups in Nigeria resort to violence. The militant Islamist movement Boko Haram is active in northern Nigeria. Violence among ethnic groups, farmers, and herdsmen sometimes acquires religious overtones. A new generation of Niger Delta militants threatens war against the state. Government soldiers kill civilians indiscriminately. Police are notorious for extra-judicial murder,” it said.
The 63,111-death toll is conservative because only reported cases from multiple sources were included. And many cases are under-reported or not reported at all. Thus, the NST statistics should be viewed as indicative rather than definitive. Since the NST started the data on May 29, 2011, when former President Goodluck Jonathan was inaugurated, no fewer than 98,083 Nigerians had been killed.
When President Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015, the cumulative number of people killed in Nigeria, according to the NST was 34,972. Since then, the death figure has risen to 98,083 as of May 16, 2023.
Since 2015, Nigeria recorded the least killings in 2017 when 4618 persons died and the worst in 2021 when 10575 lives were wasted (see table).
However, the death tolls have been going down since 2022 when 9079 deaths were recorded.