An insightful report into the spiralling insecurity bedeviling the country has churned out alarming statistics.
The report was published on Sunday, June 26, by Nextier, a leading think-tank in Nigeria, profiling the entire security situation in the country, particularly on pastoral banditry, vandalism among other forms of terrorism.
It observed that for over two decades, violent insecurity surged in scale and sophistication, thereby, posing an unprecedented threat to valued assets, including lives, investments, and the state’s territorial integrity.
Nextier violent conflict database revealed that between January 1997 and March 2020, 2,203 incidents of hostility between and among ethnic-based militia groups resulted in 16,328 fatalities.
The report also gleaned that for the same period, 1,473 incidents of pastoral banditry killed no fewer than 9,971 persons (55 per cent from 2015).
It also observed that between 2000 and 2018, 19,896 cases of pipeline vandalization and 320 cases of rupture were recorded in the Niger Delta, resulting in the loss of 2.45 metric tons of oil worth 125.4 billion naira and 375 fire outbreaks.
The experts also asserted that between 2000 and 2019, the Gulf of Guinea region recorded 987 piracy and armed robbery against ships (52.6 per cent occurred in Nigerian waters).
In addition, Boko Haram and its different factions were involved in 3,283 incidents of armed conflicts, claiming 33,127 lives in Nigeria between 2009 and March 2020.
The report also indicated that recently, between January 2021 and April 2022, 6,961 murder cases were recorded in the country (6,895 in 2021 alone).
Also worthy of note was that civilians, state security personnel continued to pay the supreme price.
For example, between January and April 2022, 158 security officers were killed. Efforts by scholars and policymakers to explain and mitigate violent insecurity have been wide-ranging, although with little success.
Some driving factors such as Nigeria’s youth bulge, arms proliferation, high unemployment level, mass poverty rate, the politicisation of security agencies, poor funding of security agencies, and poor use of Information, Communication, and Technology in policing crime and violence, were identified as major causes.
While these explanations are compelling, little attention has been given to Nigeria’s need to strengthen community policing as a mitigation strategy.