Insecurity spikes in President Tinubu's 100 Days
Bola Tinubu

By Tumininu Ojelabi Hassan

For over a decade, insecurity has remained the top issue in Nigeria, despite all promises made by previous administrations to tackle the menace, the level of insecurity, which has been worsened by the economic crisis has left a large percentage of Nigerians hopeless.

During his victory speech after securing the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket in June 2022, Tinubu promised a secure, prosperous, united Nigeria, as well as a improved economy if he won the 2023 general elections. As part of his manifesto, he also promised to get rid of criminals, bandits and terrorists.


“They have been worrying us, but we will eliminate them. We are Nigerians. We are sure that no animal in the darkness of the night, no intruders, no destroyers, can bring Nigeria backwards. Forward we are moving,” he said.


While delivering his inaugural speech on May 29th, 2023, President Bola Tinubu pledged to prioritise security and combat insecurity in the country through a reform of the country’s security doctrine and its architecture.


“Security shall be the top priority of our administration because neither prosperity nor justice can prevail amidst insecurity and violence. To effectively tackle this menace, we shall reform our security doctrine and its architecture. We shall invest more in our security personnel, and this means more than an increase in number. We shall provide better training, equipment, pay and firepower,” Tinubu assured.


Despite all the promises made by Tinubu to hit the ground running, his administration hasn’t put a plan in place for security in 100 days and we are still groping like a sheep without a shepherd.


Over 600 people have been killed within Tinubu’s few weeks in power. Based on findings, the killings have been linked to Boko Haram insurgents, bandits, ethnic militias, armed robbers, kidnappers and other non-state actors.


Data from SB Morgen (SBM) Intelligence, an African-focused research company revealed that about 629 Nigerians were killed in 45 days of Tinubu’s administration. Likewise, data from the Council on Foreign Relations’ Nigeria Security Tracker (NST) and media reports indicated that non-state actors killed 587 people within the same period.


A breakdown of the data from SBM intelligence revealed that 38 people were killed between May 29th 2023 and May 31st 2023, 541 in June and 50 as of July 13th. In the North Central, 261 persons were killed, 162 in the North East, 134 in the North West, 23 people in the South East, 28 in the South West and 21 people in the South-South.


A further breakdown of the data per state indicates that Plateau has the highest number of mortality with 111, followed by Borno with 96 casualties, Niger, 76 casualties, Benue- 69, Zamfara- 67, Taraba- 60 and Sokoto- 51. Others with low numbers of casualties are Lagos- 13, Kaduna- 11, Rivers and Anambra- 9, Ogun- 8, Ebony- 7 and Imo and Delta- 6. Osun, Kano and Jigawa recorded zero losses within this period. In total, 629 casualties were documented from actions of non-state actors from May 29 to July 13.


Data from NST/Media reports showed that 39 persons were killed from May 29 to May 31, 444 in June, and 104 as of July 13, totaling 587 deaths recorded. Plateau had the highest number of casualties with 145 deaths, Benue – 68 Zamfara – 57, Sokoto – 55; Imo- 53; Niger and Borno – 51; and Taraba- 50.


According to a recent report by an international human rights and governance capacity-building non-governmental organisation, Global Rights (Nigeria), at least 555 people had been killed and 267 others abducted, six weeks after President Tinubu assumed office.


The Country Manager of Global Rights Nigeria, Edosa Oviawe, while presenting a paper on realities of mass atrocities at a two-day ‘Conflict Sensitive Reporting Training for Journalists’ programme in Abuja, said the findings were based on reports from the media, civil society groups and security agencies.


In a report published on June 14, Amnesty International (AI) said gunmen attacks claimed the lives of at least 123 people within a few days after Tinubu’s inauguration on May 29th. The high point of these attacks came a few weeks ago when bandits ambushed a military detachment in Niger state, killing 28 soldiers and four officers, and shooting down an helicopter despatched to rescue and evacuate the wounded, bringing total fatality to 36 soldiers.


“It is horrific. Gunmen attacks have claimed at least 123 lives mere weeks after President Bola Tinubu assumed office on May 29. Rural communities, always bracing for the next bout of violence, faced deadly attacks by rampaging killers. Protecting lives should be the utmost priority of the new government. The Nigerian authorities must urgently take steps to stop the bloodletting.


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 fuelling impunity,” the report stated.


A survey done by the News Agency of Nigeria on August 20, 2023, stated that no fewer than 23 Local Government Areas are under the grip of bandits in Sokoto, Zamfara, and Kebbi.


A recent report released by SBM intelligence, stated that at least 3,620 people were abducted in 582 kidnap-related cases across the country in 11 months, from July 2022 –

June 2023.


According to the report titled ‘The Economics of Nigeria’s Kidnap Industry’, at least N5 billion ($6,410,256 as of 30 June 2023) was reported as ransom demands, while verified ransom payouts amounted to N302 million ($387,179), a figure underestimated owing to underreporting.


“We believe these numbers could be far higher than reported. This is because victims’ families and the police often choose not to state whether or not a ransom was paid to procure the release of the abducted, and in the few cases when ransom payments are acknowledged, the fees are hardly disclosed,” the report said.


The report noted that kidnap dynamics vary based on individual and community cases, with secrecy less prevalent in larger-scale abductions, and in some instances, kidnappers opt for non-monetary ransom like foodstuff, notably in the Northwest and North Central regions, which have exhibited higher numbers of in-kind (non-monetary) ransom demands.


“This aligns with Nigeria’s widespread poverty and its correlation with areas, where food is commonly demanded. Additionally, these regions have seen a surge in motorcycle demands due to economic opportunities and possibly because of their potential use in terror activities,” the report disclosed.


Based on this report, Catholic priests, who were previously targeted for their ransom value, an average of N50 million was paid in 21 abductions during this period. Kaduna was the most dangerous state for priests, who were often kidnapped during services.


The North Central region recorded higher ransom amounts, notably in Nasarawa, where targeted abductions yielded maximum ransoms with minimal resistance. While in the South-South low ransom payments were recorded, which indicated efficient police intervention or victims’ silence, however it is likely believed to be the latter due to kidnap victims’ fear of re-abduction.


At the state level, Edo kidnappers sought high ransoms but received little. Conversely, victims in Taraba paid the most, primarily due to a single incident. Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger had the highest per capita abduction rates, often involving mass community abductions. Borno reported minimal deaths due to Boko Haram’s targeted and sophisticated tactics.


Across the country, civilians bore the brunt, with 430 fatalities, while security agents and kidnappers themselves accounted for 19 and 121 deaths, respectively.


The report stated that the figures reflected Nigeria’s security agencies’ struggle to contain kidnap for ransom, however, the number of kidnappers killed has not served as a credible deterrent to would-be kidnappers.


“This shows that the industry’s profitability outweighs the perceived threat of state intervention and police rescues. The current economic difficulties, such as high inflation and a weak currency, would lead to more desperation and a hike in ransom demands, leaving impoverished families struggling to save their loved ones,” the report added.


In an interview with our correspondent, Prince Tony, a security expert and a high-ranked police officer stated that the insecurity in the country is due to the high rate of unemployment, porosity of the border, economic hardship and lack of police reform among others.


“I need you to understand that as the society grows and as it advances, social vices advance too. The police force is trying their best to ensure that these crimes are highly minimized. The government has not done the populace well in terms of the alarming rate of unemployment in the country. When the youths are not gainfully employed, they want to exert their energy in other vices and that’s why the rate of crime and criminality is increasing on a daily basis. I believe that when the youths are gainfully employed, they won’t have time for crime. When they aren’t employed, they have all the time in the world to venture into vices. Principally, unemployment is the leading cause of insecurity in the country. Also, no matter how unemployed the youths are, certainly we would still have one or two of them that are not well brought up.


Another factor contributing to the rate of insecurity in the country is the porosity of our border. The border system is completely broken down. We don’t know who and who are in this country. Nigeriens are here, Beninese are here, Chadians are here. All of them claim to be Nigerians which is not supposed to be so, this is because we don’t have a good security network in place. Economic hardship is also one of the factors contributing to the hardship. What people were managing before, they can no longer afford. A lot of organisations had to do away with people thereby increasing the rate of unemployment out there. People have to feed, no one wants to be killed hunger. People want to exert their energy into something, when there is no positive area to exert it, they go the other way round,” he explained:


Despite the lack of reform in the police force amidst other issues in the country, Prince said the Nigerian police are trying their best to significantly minimize the rate of crimes in the country.


“The police force is trying. By United Nations standards, there are numbers of citizens assigned to a police officer. One police officer should conveniently attend to a number of citizens by standards. Currently, the number of citizens assigned to a police officer has significantly increased. The responsibility becomes too weighty for a police officer and this has greatly affected the police force.


“I won’t subscribe to the fact that the crime rate has gone up, the police force is trying to put it under minimal control. Since the era of Endsars, despite the promises made to reform the Nigeria police, I can authoritatively tell you, the government hasn’t effected any change since then. However, we hope this new administration will put this into consideration,” he revealed.


He further revealed that some of the challenges police officers encounter in the course of discharging their duties, which are the no insurance policy, accommodation issues, lack of scholarships, adequate trainings and sophisticated equipments among others have in one way or the other affected their attitude to work and productivity.


“The challenges we encounter while discharging our duties are enormous. When the individuals saddled with this responsibility like ours is sure that when anything happens to them in the course of our responsibility, there is an insurance, scholarship, training and accommodation for the family, they will be more encouraged to carry on with their responsibilities but today, the reverse is the case.


“If anything happens to a police officer, the family bears the brunt. Nothing will come from the government, due to this, people are more careful with the way they carry out their duties knowing full well whatever happens to you, you bear the brunt.


“Secondly, so many people are maimed, as a result of incidents that happened to them in the course of their duties either by accident. They are bedridden in their houses, nobody cares to know where they are, nobody is catering for them. When the breadwinner is in such a state, what happens to the entire family? and most of them reside in rented apartments, so it is a big problem,” he lamented.


“Another challenge is the lack of sophisticated equipments. The Nigerian police force is highly under equipped. Let’s also include training, the police officers are supposed to undergo training and retraining. The world is advancing, the police force should upgrade to the standard. The technology needed to upgrade to this 21st century system isn’t available, we are still on the analog system. Despite all these, the Nigerian police is trying.


“Accommodation issue is another challenge. The moment a police man steps out of the Baracks, he becomes animalistic because it’s like a cage. The government deliberately did this to beat down the size of the police, because if the police is well catered for, they live in good apartments, they have good working environment, they have upgraded equipments a lot of big men won’t be able to perpetuate evil because they know the police will bring them to book. They deliberately made the police hungry,” he added.


In response to the question concerning allegations that some police officers are heavily involved with crime in the society, he said the lack of a working system in the country has given room for the bad elements in the police force to thrive.


“In all parastatals, there are bad elements. The police you have is a product of your society. The police we see in Nigeria are not from the United States nor from Ukraine, they are our people, our family members, people we know and relate with like our fathers, brothers and uncles. There is no system in place here. The police can’t behave differently from you. The peculiarities of developed countries and their systems are completely different from that of our country, Nigeria,” he opined.


He suggested an improvement in the rate of employment to combat insecurity in the country. To improve the policing system in the country, he urged Tinubu’s administration to enhance the welfare of the police in terms of accommodation, renumeration, decent working environment and modern policing equipments.


He encouraged every individual in the society to be security conscious as he shared security tips based on his professional experience.


“Security is everyone’s business, self consciousness is important, don’t be flappy, don’t lose it. Be very conscious of your environment and wherever you are at all times. Be conscious of everyone around you. When you are careless, you walk into danger. When you’re about to board a public transport, be careful to take some mental notice of the people in the vehicle. How they are arranged, the type of bus, there are some buses that ply certain locations, for example these minibuses, so if you see a Sienna that should be a red flag.


“All hands have to be on deck. Before you go to bed make sure your doors are securely locked. In a case of armed robbery, locking your door sort of prepares you before the criminals gain access to your home. Another problem with people is greed, a lot of people become victims of criminals due to greed. A fraudster sends a link to you on WhatsApp, offering you money when you click a link. After you click the link, you lose the little you have. People want to sow where they did not reap. You need to be contented with what you have,” he advised.


News continues after this Advertisement


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here