At least 3,641 people have been killed in Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna, and Zamfara states by insurgents.
These deaths were due to violent clashes between herders and farming communities alone.
President of the West African Action Network on Small Arm-Nigeria (WAANSAN), a non-governmental organisation, Mrs. Josephine Habba, disclosed this at a media briefing in Makurdi, the Benue State capital on Monday.
According to her, in Benue State alone, 483,692 people were displaced, out of which 56.24 per cent are children, 22.59 per cent are women and 21.17 per cent are men.
Habba said that the statistics were based on the profiling of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Benue State carried out by Jireh Doo Foundation (JDF) in collaboration with Benue State Emergency Management Agency (BSEMA) and Community Links.
Habba urged the Federal Government to establish an independent Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to checkmate unlawful trade and misuse of arms and light weapons.
According to her, the negative impact of poor control of arms has caused more harm than good in the country.
The killings, she added, occurred between January 2016 and October 2018.
She noted that women and children were the most affected victims of illicit trade and misuse of small arms and light weapons.
Habba disclosed that of the 102 state parties that ratified the ATT, Nigeria was one among the two state parties that did not have an independent secretariat.
Commending the Nigeria government for the arrest of some arms smugglers and arms factory runners in recent times, the WAANSAN president said the prosecution of such suspects should be certain.
She said: “All over the world, efforts are made at marking and tracking manufactured arms. We commend this effort, but wish to point out the fact that marking and tracking of ammunition is even more important as arms on their own do not kill or maim. Ammunition can directly cause hurt and deaths when the trigger is pulled. Moreover, it will be easier to trace perpetrators of gun violence if the bullets are marked and can be traced.”
Therefore, WAANSA-Nigeria, which has been at the fore front of advocacy for an end to illicit trade and misuse of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria, once again called for the setup of an independent Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) secretariat by the Nigerian government.”
Habba disclosed that within the three year-period, Boko Haram had carried out at least more than 65 attacks in the North-East, causing 411 civilian deaths, and abducted at least 73 people per day, including women, leaving at least 1.7 million IDPs in the Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states.
She maintained that based on UN and Doctors Without Borders’ reports, 5.2 million people in the North-East are in urgent need of food assistance, out of which 450,000 are children below one and five ages, while 240 children have died from malnutrition in Borno State.
She suggested that the Nigerian government had the constitutional responsibility to protect lives and property of the citizenry.
Habba said that the inability of the government to show enough commitment had continued to promote the demand and supply of small arms and light weapons in the country.
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