No fewer than 9,100 corps members have been mobilised to the seven states in the North-West amid rising insecurity in the region which has led to the murder of at least 189 persons and the abduction of 376 persons in Zamfara and Kaduna states alone.
Across the country, however, at least 430 persons were abducted while 344 were killed in the last four weeks, The PUNCH has learnt.
The states in the North-West include Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Kano, Sokoto, Kebbi and Jigawa states.
Other states affected by a spike in insecurity in July but are not part of the North-West include Benue, Niger and Adamawa.
The insecurity has led to the closure of schools in Kaduna and Zamfara states. Incidentally, most corps members are posted to schools for their primary assignment.
The PUNCH had reported last week that an average of 1, 300 corps members would be deployed in each state while another set would be deployed in late August.
The figure on the killings and abductions was obtained through a manual tally by The PUNCH and the Nigeria Security Tracker, a project of the Council on Foreign Relations’ an American think tank. The NST report is edited by a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell.
In Zamfara State where a war plane was shot down by bandits recently, about 49 persons were killed in Maradun on July 8 while three were abducted in Bakura on July 11. On July 16, no fewer than 150 people were abducted while one person was killed in Shinkafi. On July 18, 13 policemen were killed in Bungudu while on July 23, bandits killed seven and kidnapped 14 in Maru. On July 25, at least 11 persons were abducted along Sokoto-Gusau Road, according to the police.
This implies that between July 3 and July 25, bandits killed 70 persons and kidnapped 178 persons in Zamfara State despite the ‘no fly’ order declared over the state’s airspace by the Federal Government four months ago.
In Kaduna State where Governor Nasir el-Rufai has shut down schools due to the insecurity and ongoing military operation to wipe out bandits, about 198 persons were kidnapped in the last four weeks while 119 were killed. The most affected local governments in the state include- Chikun, where 140 students of Bethel Baptist High School were kidnapped; Zangon Kataf, Maradun and Kajuru.
No fewer than 140 students were kidnapped at Bethel Baptist School, when bandits attacked the school on July 5, but the hoodlums only succeeded in taking 121 away as others escaped.
About seven soldiers were killed in Arewa, Kebbi State while in Jibia, Katsina State, two immigration officials were killed.
In Niger State where two police officers and two civilians were killed in Mariga on July 9, there was a decrease in killings and abductions in July although bandits held on to the 136 students abducted from one Islamic school in Tegina since May.
Adamawa State in the North-East, witnessed one major attack on July 7 when Boko Haram killed 24 persons in Hong, while in Plateau State, gunmen killed seven herdsmen in Jos South. Kidnappers also killed two persons in the same state on July 22. Herdsmen killed three in Bali, Taraba.
On July 15, bandits killed two soldiers and kidnapped 20 civilians in Sabon Birni, Sokoto. In Benue State, herdsmen killed five persons in Logo and 10 in Guma on July 18. On July 20, herdsmen killed 13 also Guma. The suspected herders killed 13 in Guma while 30 lost their lives in a communal clash in Konshisha. Also, kidnappers abducted two in Toto, Nassarawa on July 10.
Southern Nigeria witnessed a few incidents. On July 19, kidnappers abducted eight in Akuku-Toru, Rivers State. A soldier was killed by pirates in Delta State on July 19. On July 13, gunmen killed three police officers and two civilians in Idemlili North, Anambra. On the same day, gunmen killed six soldiers in Uzo-Uwani, Enugu. Cultists killed two police officers and eight others in Awka, Anambra on July 15 while one Amotekun leader and three others were killed in Ibarapa North, Oyo on July 16.
NYSC allays fears, says agency partnering security agencies
The Director-General of the NYSC, Brig. General Shuaib Ibrahim, in an interview with The PUNCH, allayed fears over security of the corps members.
He stated, “We do partner effectively with the security agencies on the security of prospective corps members and corps members. We had webinar meeting with prospective corps members and were also advised accordingly.”
In Benue State, the Public Relations Officer of NYSC, Benue State, Mrs Victoria Ogwuche, said potential corps members would not be admitted into the camp without being certified free of COVID 19.
She added that another round of test would be carried out before they (corps members) were admitted into the hostel.
Ogwuche stated, “They (new corps members) are being tested for COVID 19 and the results come out within 10 minutes, no corps member goes into the hostel without being tested. ,,
“In fact, nobody comes to camp without being tested, it is only when you are certified free that you enter the camp, all the over 70 people tested were certified okay.
She added, “As soon as the result is out they are admitted into the hostel.”
The state Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Joseph Ngbea, in an interview with The PUNCH, said three people tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Director General of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu on Tuesday, tasked state Ministries of Health to expedite action on contact tracing of persons who had had contact with those infected with COVID-19.
He said this in response to enquiries from The PUNCH, in Abuja. The NCDC through its Director of surveillance and Epidemiology, Elsie Ilori, had on Monday, disclosed that the country had identified 10 cases of the Delta variant of coronavirus disease in Nigeria.
According to Ilori who spoke during a media parley with selected journalists, the cases were discovered at the point of entry into the country.
Although she declined comments when asked to identify specific countries where the infected persons came in from, she stated that the NCDC was able to discover the cases after it carried out genomics sequencing on the test results after testing samples collected from inbound passengers.
In response to enquiries from The PUNCH as to what the NCDC was doing about contact tracing, the NCDC DG, Ihekweazu, reiterated that contact tracing was the responsibility of the various state ministries of health.
He said “Once a positive case is detected, contact tracing is done by the state ministry of health irrespective of the variant detected. We will continue to carry out sequencing to detect variants, and use this data to guide our public health action.”