With the rising incidence of killings, Amnesty International has warned that a catastrophic humanitarian crisis is looming in the North.
The group raised alarm over the escalating number of killings, stating that authorities had failed to protect citizens.
A statement from the organisation claimed that inability of authorities to bring attackers to justice fueled “dangerous conspiracy theories that only escalate the violence.”
The statement read, “A year ago, Amnesty International investigation shows that; the Nigerian authorities have left rural communities at the mercy of rampaging gunmen who have killed at least 1,126 people in the north of the country from January to August 2020.
“The organization interviewed people in Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba and Zamfara states, who said they live in fear of attacks and abductions as insecurity escalates in urban and rural areas.
“On 28 May 2020 at least 74 people were reportedly killed in Sokoto state, when gunmen attacked four villages in Sabon Birni Local Government Area. More people have been killed in other local governments, including Isa LGA.
“According to witnesses interviewed by Amnesty International in Kaduna, Zamfara, Plateau and Katsina states, the attacks are well coordinated. Attackers stormed villages on motorcycles and heavily armed. They shoot sporadically at people, set houses on fire, steal cattle, destroy farm produce and abduct villagers for ransom.
“The violence has forced many farmers and their families to flee their homes. Last year, Katsina state government said that, at least 33,130 people are now in displacement camps, and others have gone to stay with relatives in urban areas. Thousands of farmers could not cultivate their farms during the 2020 and the current rainy season because of fear of attacks or abduction. This poses a threat to food security and livelihood.
“This is pushing the northern region to the brink of a major humanitarian crisis. The Nigerian authorities’ failure to stem the violence is costing people’s lives and livelihoods, and without immediate action many more lives may be lost.
“Spate of these killings is an evidence of failure of authorities to protect the people. Inability of authorities to bring attackers to justice is fueling dangerous conspiracy theories that only escalate the violence.
“Amnesty International is calling on Nigerian authorities to independently investigate all these deaths and ensure accountability by bringing the perpetrators to justice.”