According to a report released by Amnesty International, more than 120 Nigerians have lost their lives to bandit attacks and other criminal activities since the inauguration of President Bola Tinubu on May 29.
The report accuses the government of failing to conduct independent, impartial, and thorough investigations into these killings.
President Tinubu assumed office as Nigeria’s 16th President, succeeding former President Muhammadu Buhari.
However, violence and killings have persisted in several states since the new administration took charge. On June 7, gunmen assassinated Charles Igechi, a priest from the Archdiocese of Benin City in southern Nigeria, in Edo State’s Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area along Agbor Road.
Amnesty International’s Acting Nigeria Director, Isa Sanusi, expressed deep concern over the situation, stating, “It is horrific that gunmen have taken the lives of at least 123 individuals just weeks after President Bola Tinubu assumed office on May 29.
Rural communities, already living in fear of the next wave of violence, are now facing deadly attacks by marauding killers.” Sanusi emphasized that the protection of lives should be the topmost priority of the new government, calling on the relevant authorities to take decisive action to halt the bloodshed across the country.
Insecurity remains a significant challenge in Nigeria, particularly in the North-east region, which has been continuously targeted by extremist groups such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) for over a decade.
Prior to President Tinubu’s inauguration, a report by TheCable index revealed that between January 1 and April 30, a four-month period, 1,228 Nigerians were reported killed and 844 kidnapped nationwide.
The violence has also escalated in other regions, including the North-west and North-central, where communities grapple with ethno-religious crises and conflicts between herders and farmers.
These clashes have disrupted agricultural production, impacted sources of income, and led to a rise in the number of internally displaced people.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reported that around 8.4 million Nigerians, predominantly in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states, were in need of humanitarian aid in 2022.
Amnesty International also criticized the Nigerian government for its consistent failure to conduct independent, effective, impartial, and thorough investigations into the killings.
Mr. Sanusi highlighted the growing impunity, stating, “The brazen failure of the authorities to protect the people of Nigeria is becoming increasingly normalized. Although the government has promised security measures in response to these attacks, there has been a lack of meaningful action to safeguard the lives of vulnerable communities.”
Under international human rights law, regional human rights treaties, and Nigeria’s own constitution, the authorities are obligated to protect the human rights of all citizens without discrimination, including the right to life.
Amnesty International called for the prompt arrest and fair trial of individuals suspected of criminal responsibility for these heinous crimes.