At least 21 people were killed in Niger state, by the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) In the last week of January. This was through a drone attack.,
The people killed were members of one of several self-defense groups set up by communities to combat bandits who raided their communities. They were responding to one of such raids by armed bandits when they were killed by the Nigerian state.
The Nigerian state has not accepted responsibility for this condemnable action, that is now becoming habitual.
As Confidence MacHarry, a Lagos-based security analyst said “accidental strikes are rampant in Nigeria.” What he failed to add is that denying culpability except when it is virtually impossible to do so, has also become a hallmark of the military.
Since 2014, when 20 civilians were killed by the airforce, hundreds of poor working-class people have lost their lives to NAF’s bombs and airstrikes.
In January 2017, over 200 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were killed in an IDP camp in Borno state Six children were amongst the dead when the Air Force shelled a village in April 2019. And at least nine civilians were also killed in airstrikes in September 2021.
In each of these cases, the military would deny culpability only to accept in the face of overwhelming evidence.
The military said it would set up a board of enquiry to look into the 2021 killing. But nothing has been heard of that again.
Enough is enough! The military, which by the way has not been able to tame the bandits and insurgents should stop killing poor working-class people. We cannot rely on them to protect us. Our fate lies in our hands.
by Yusuf LAWAL