Uche Secondus, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), claimed that Nigeria had recorded more deaths under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari since 2015 than during the country's internecine civil war.
He made the claim during a meeting with the Ogun State wing of the PDP, on Wednesday.
“For how long can we continue to be oppressed, intimidated and continue to kill ourselves? So many killings now in the country than we had during the civil war. The people that have been killed since the inception of the APC government are many that you can’t place records because we wake up to hear news of killings on a daily basis.”
This claim was widely reported but where are the shreds of evidence?
Death toll during the civil war?
The Nigeria-Biafra war between July 6, 1967, and January 15, 1970, has been rated one of the most lethal civil wars globally. At least, 30,000 people were killed in the actual combat. However, by the end of the civil war in 1970, about 500,000 to 2,000,000 people—including civilians and soldiers— had died. [SEE DATA]
Insurgent killings in Nigeria
Nigeria has been a hotbed of violence in various parts of the country. Boko Haram and sectarian clashes have been responsible for the highest number of deaths recorded in Nigeria in recent years.
According to Nigeria Security Tracker, Boko Haram alone have killed 35,820 since June 2011 to date. Cumulatively, 63,768 people have died from various attacks within the same time frame.
Deaths were recorded from Boko Haram attacks, ethnic clashes, farmer-herder clashes, Niger Delta militancy, and extra-judicial killings.
Killings between 2015-2019
Buhari was first elected president of Nigeria in 2015, under the All Progressives Congress (APC). At the time of his election, Boko Haram was at the height of its attacks.
In March of 2014, 3,456 people were killed in the country. The number of deaths were at an all-time high between March 2014 and February 2015. A total of 17,907 Nigerians died within these 12 months.
However, the number started declining from March 2015 with the recorded death of 1,826. As of August 22, 64 deaths were recorded fo the month.
President Buhari took his first oath of office as the president on May 29, 2015. Between the period to date, 36,035 Nigerians have been killed, according to the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Although, while there has been a decrease in the killings caused by the Boko Haram, the death toll is on the rise as sectarian attacks have increased. A total number of 5,772 people died in sectarian attacks between 2015 and 2019.
Secondus' statement is ambiguous. It is an outright falsehood to say there have been more deaths during the current administration compared to the total number of deaths recorded during the civil war.
However, as available data have shown, deaths recorded during the civil war combat was 30,000 while there have been over 36,035 deaths recorded since 2015 when the current administration came into power.
If Secondus had precisely compared the number of deaths recorded during the civil war combat, his assertion would have been correct but he did not and cannot be said to be right.