IN DETAIL: 172 killed, 87 abducted in Nigeria on Christmas day since 2020

 IN DETAIL: 172 killed, 87 abducted in Nigeria on Christmas day since 2020

During the Christmas season in Nigeria, a wave of violence swept across various regions, leaving communities shattered and families mourning. The incidents, ranging from targeted attacks to tragic accidents, underscore the persistent challenges the country faces. 

Here’s a closer look at some of the disturbing events that unfolded during this festive period since 2020.

Plateau state massacre

In 2023 in Plateau State, assailants unleashed a Christmas Eve rampage, targeting 15 communities in Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi local government areas. The confirmed death toll stands at 96, with estimates suggesting it could be as high as 140. The attacks left a trail of destruction, including 221 houses set ablaze, burnt vehicles, and numerous lives lost.

Unjustified Police shooting in Lagos

Bolanle Raheem, a pregnant Lagos-based property lawyer and realtor, tragically lost her life on Christmas morning in a senseless police shooting at a checkpoint in Ajah, Lagos. 

The incident has reignited concerns about the conduct of Nigerian police, prompting calls for a reassessment of rules of engagement to prevent such avoidable tragedies. The incident happened in 2022.

Boko Haram’s Christmas eve attack

In a tragic manifestation of the ongoing conflict in northeast Nigeria, Boko Haram targeted Pemi village on Christmas Eve in 2020, resulting in at least 11 deaths. The militants carried out indiscriminate shootings, burned a church, and looted food supplies meant for Christmas celebrations. The incident highlights the complex challenges of maintaining security in the region.

Targeting of religious figures

The Catholic Diocese of Abeokuta mourns the loss of Rev. Fr. Luke Adeleke, killed by unknown gunmen on Christmas Eve in 2021. The attack on a clergy member underscores the vulnerability of religious leaders to violence in Nigeria.

Southern Kaduna’s ongoing crisis

Southern Kaduna witnessed further violence during the Christmas season, with one Christian killed and 53 abducted in Angwan Aku village in 2022. The attacks add to the already grim statistics, with Nigeria leading the world in Christians killed for their faith last year.

Military invasion in Enugu State

In 2021, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law reported a disturbing incident in Egudene-Ekpofu community, Enugu State, where Nigerian Army operatives disrupted Christmas Eve services, allegedly causing casualties and property damage. The incident is part of a broader pattern of alleged abuse by security forces in the Southeast and South-south regions.

Zamfara State’s Nightmarish Christmas

Armed assailants launched a prolonged attack on 15 communities in Gusau, Zamfara State, killing at least seven people and abducting 33 women on Christmas Day in 2021. Despite government assurances of intervention, residents expressed dissatisfaction with the ongoing insecurity in Zamfara and other northern states plagued by banditry.

Banditry Strikes again in Ekiti State

In Ijan-Ekiti, suspected bandits abducted two men, including a cocoa merchant, while another traditional chief was kidnapped, demanding a ransom for his release. These incidents highlight the recurring threat of banditry in the region, causing distress for families and challenging authorities in resolving abductions.

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These tragic events collectively paint a grim picture of Christmas in Nigeria, emphasizing the urgent need for comprehensive and effective measures to address the underlying issues contributing to violence and insecurity.

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