According to a report by Amnesty International, more than 120 Nigerians have been killed by bandits and other criminals since President Bola Tinubu’s inauguration on May 29, 2023.
Tinubu was sworn in as Nigeria’s 16th President on May 29, taking over from former president Muhammadu Buhari.
There have been reports of killings ings in many states that have persisted since the new regime took office.
On June 7, gunmen assassinated Charles Igechi, a priest of the Archdiocese of Benin City in southern Nigeria, along Agbor Road in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area in Edo State.
Isa Sanusi, Amnesty International’s Acting Nigeria Director, said it was horrific that gunmen had killed “at least 123 lives mere weeks after President Bola Tinubu assumed office on 29 May.
“Rural communities, always bracing themselves for the next bout of violence, are facing deadly attacks by rampaging killers,” he added.
Mr Sanusi said “protecting lives should be the utmost priority of the new government,” urging relevant authorities to take decisive steps to stop the bloodletting across the country.
Insecurity has remained a problem, especially in the North-east region which has been the target of unrelenting attacks for more than ten years from dangerous extremist groups like Boko Haram and the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP).
Prior to his inauguration, the TheCable index, data arm of TheCable newspaper, revealed in May 18 that 1,228 Nigerians were reportedly killed and 844 kidnapped across the country between a four-month period of January 1 and April 30.
The violence has also escalated in other regions, including the North-west and North-central, where citizens continue to deal with ethno-religious crises and clashes between herders and farmers.
The conflict between herders and farmers has effected agricultural production and other sources of income, cut off essential utilities, and resulted in an increase in the number of displaced people.
About 8.4 million Nigerians, mostly people living in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe (BAY) states, were said to be in need of humanitarian aid in 2022, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Also speaking on the ongoing killings, Amnesty accused the government of consistently failing to carry out independent, effective, impartial, and thorough investigations into these killings.
“The brazen failure of the authorities to protect the people of Nigeria is gradually becoming the ‘norm’ in the country. The government said it will enact security measures in response to these attacks, but these promises have not translated into meaningful action that protects the lives of vulnerable communities.
“The Nigerian authorities have also consistently failed to carry out independent, effective, impartial, and thorough investigations into these killings — and this is fueling impunity.
“The Nigerian authorities are obliged under international human rights law, regional human rights treaties, and Nigeria’s own constitution to protect the human rights of all people without discrimination, and that includes the right to life.
“Those suspected of criminal responsibility for these callous crimes must urgently be brought to justice in fair trials,” Mr Sanusi added.