ABOUT 189 members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) have been murdered in Zamfara and Kaduna states with another 376 abducted as the growing insecurity ravaging the northwest of the country shows no sign of abating.
Currently reeling from chronic violence as the country is now awash with up to 6m illegal firearms, Nigeria is today living at the mercy of terrorists, kidnappers, bandits, rapists and armed robbers. No fewer than 9,100 NYSC members have been mobilised across the seven states in the northwest over the last years but their lives are at risk.
Over the last four weeks alone, across the country, at least 430 persons were abducted while 344 were killed. Nigeria’s seven northwestern states of Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Kano, Sokoto, Kebbi and Jigawa have been the most affected, with Benue, Niger and Adamawa states only being violence hotspots.
These figures obtained from Nigeria Security Tracker, a project of the Council on Foreign Relations’, an American think tank, reveal that schools are also now a main target for kidnappers. Between July 3 and July 25, bandits killed 70 persons and kidnapped 178 persons in Zamfara State despite the no fly order declared over the state’s airspace by the federal government four months ago.
In Kaduna State where Governor Nasir el-Rufai has shut down schools and ongoing military operation to wipe out bandits, about 198 persons were kidnapped in the last four weeks while 119 were killed. State-wide, the most affected local government areas include Chikun, where 140 students of Bethel Baptist High School were kidnapped, Zangon Kataf, Maradun and Kajuru.
Also, about seven soldiers were killed in Arewa in Kebbi State while in Jibia in Katsina State, two immigration officials were killed. In Niger State where two police officers and two civilians were killed in Mariga on July 9, there was a decrease in killings and abductions in July, although bandits held on to the 136 students abducted from one Islamic school in Tegina since May.
Adamawa State in the North-East, witnessed one major attack on July 7 when Boko Haram killed 24 persons in Hong, while in Plateau State, gunmen killed seven herdsmen in Jos South. Kidnappers also killed two persons in the same state on July 22. Herdsmen killed three in Bali, Taraba.
Brigadier Shuaib Ibrahim, the NYSC director-general, said: “We do partner effectively with the security agencies on the security of prospective corps members and corps members. We had webinar meeting with prospective corps members and were also advised accordingly.”