As insecurity worsens nationwide due to increased banditry, Niger State between January 2020 and February 2021 has lost 301 persons to bandits and terrorists’ attacks, a report by the SB Morgen Intelligence revealed.

The African focused research firm, in its February 2021 report, said the deaths occurred during 73 various incidents which were documented, noting that socio-economic assets in Niger State such as the Shiroro Power project was at risk if the attack continued.

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The SB Morgen report was titled, Sitrep Niger State: Terrorists take over.

The report said, “Niger State, Nigeria’s largest by land area is just one of four states (the others being Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau) in the vast North-Central region hardest hit by attacks by organised armed groups and militias with affiliation to international terror networks, most notably al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

“Between January 2020 and February 2021, at least 301 people were killed in 73 various violent incidents in the state. Perception of the government’s neutrality in the conflict has not helped as the government’s attempt to disarm parties to the conflict have been seen as partial to the herders, and have thus backfired, frustrating the entire disarmament campaign.

“On February 2, terrorists sacked 10 villages in Gurmana, Kurebe and Kwaki in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, killing 25 people and abducting 40. The assailants attacked the said villages because they refused to attend a meeting where negotiations were opened between the terrorists and community leaders on the amount to be paid to allow farmers in the area harvest crops from their farms without attacks.

“Shiroro, which houses one of Nigeria’s most important electric dams has seen the worst attacks, as well as Bosso, Mariga, Mashegu and Rafi LGAs. Kagara, where the abduction took place, is very close to the volatile Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State in the North-West, a region that has seen no fewer than 8,000 deaths from violent incidents between 2011 and 2020, displacing nearly 300,000.

“From an infrastructure perspective, attacks in Shiroro are of particular concern, as it is home to a crucial hydroelectric power plant with a capacity of 600MW. Boko Haram has already attacked electricity installations in the past, disrupting power supply to Maiduguri, Borno State, in the process.”

The report lamented that the Kagara school abduction is the latest addition to a growing list of school abductions in northern Nigeria carried out by terror groups and organised armed militias for both economic and ideological reasons.

Some bandits on Wednesday stormed Government Science College, Kagara, Rafi Local Government Area of the state, abducting many students and staff members.

While one student who tried to escape was gunned down, a member of staff luckily broke loose from captivity.

According to the state government, 27 students, three teachers, two non-teaching staff members and nine others related to staff members staying in the quarters were kidnapped by the gunmen.

The SB Morgen Intelligence report called on the strengthening of education institutions in the country, particularly the vulnerable schools in northern Nigeria.

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