The year 2021 has no doubt been one of the toughest for Nigerians due to the spate of killings occasioned by the lingering security challenges across the country.
In the course of the year, dozens of persons were either killed or kidnapped on a daily basis. Indeed, families of the kidnapped victims who were lucky to be alive struggle to pay ransoms demanded by their abductors.
Aside from the Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgency that has plagued the North-east region for over a decade, virtually all parts of country currently battle one form of insecurity.
Most parts of the North-west region are now being overrun by rampaging bandits who kidnap for ransom and kill victims who cannot pay for their freedom.
The North-central, particularly Niger, Kogi, Benue and Nasarawa States, is also plagued by bandits and criminal herders who in some cases attack and kill their victims.
Even though Nigerian authorities claim the insurgents in the North-east have largely been “degraded” and are now “focusing more on soft targets and solitary military formations”, they are still carrying out devastating attacks in many parts of the region, especially including on military posts and formations.
While criminals under the guise of herders are also causing problems in the South-west and south-south regions, the south-east region is now increasingly volatile due to secessionist crises.
These criminal activities, like before, led to the death of some Nigerians who were brutally murdered and were simply victims of the security challenges confronting the country.
Here are some prominent Nigerians who lost their lives due to the attacks by non-state actors.
1. Ahmed Gulak
A former political adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Ahmed Gulak, was shot dead in Owerri, the Imo State capital, in May this year.
The late Gulak, who until his death was a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), was shot dead by some gunmen suspected to be members of the outlawed separatist group, IPOB.
The Imo Police command in the state, however, said the perpetrators were traced to their location where they were killed during a gun battle with security operatives.
2. Abdulkarim Na’Allah
Abdulkarim Na Allah, the eldest son of Bala Ibn Na Allah, was in August found dead in his room in Malali GRA, Kaduna.
His father, Bala Ibn Na Allah, is the Senator representing Kebbi South Senatorial District.
The deceased, 36, was a pilot by profession.
3. Chike Akunyili
Chike Akunyili, the husband of the late Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dora Akunyili, was murdered by gunmen in Anambra in September.
Reports said he was shot dead while returning to Enugu from an event to honour his late wife.
Residents of the South-east told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr Akunyili, a medical doctor, was killed by gunmen suspected to be members of the separatist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
4. Sagir Hamida
Suspected bandits, in November, shot dead a governorship aspirant in Zamfara State, Sagir Hamida.
Mr Hamida was a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
He was reportedly killed by bandits at Rijana, along Kaduna-Abuja highway, on the fateful day.
Bandits in December killed a member of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Rilwanu Gadagau.
Mr Gadagau was among persons kidnapped by the bandits along the Kaduna – Zaria road on that fateful day.
He was the vice chairman of Giwa Local Government Area before his election into the House of Assembly in 2019.
A family source said the lawmaker was abducted at a spot known as Dindin Rauga and killed by the bandits on their way to their hideout in the forest.
Another source said Mr Gadagau’s vehicle was attacked while he was on a call with one of his colleagues, Shehu Yunusa.
Imo traditional rulers
Two traditional rulers were killed at a function in Imo State, October this year.
The slain traditional rulers were identified as E. Duruebere of Okwudor autonomous community and Sampson Osunwa of Ihebinowerre autonomous community, both in Njaba.
The gunmen were said to have stormed a meeting of some traditional rulers and stakeholders at Nnenasa and opened fire, killing the two traditional rulers instantly.
The shooting caused those who attended the meeting to scamper for safety.
Again, in December, gunmen murdered Edwin Azike, the traditional ruler of Atta ancient kingdom in the Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State.
According to the Police Public Relations Officer, Mike Abatam, the traditional ruler was killed a day after he was abducted.
His lifeless body was recovered inside his vehicle along the road leading to the market square in the community.
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