By Clifford Ndujihe
AFTER surviving the COVID-19 pandemic and other socio-economic challenges of 2020, death is the last thing on the minds of most people who crossed over to January 2021.
Less than eight days into 2021, the Nigerian polity is littered with untimely and aborted dreams. No fewer than 120 people, across the country, have had their lives violently terminated in their prime, according to Vanguard checks.
On December 31 of every year, many people troop to religious and prayer houses where they thank God for the ending year and supplicate for better tidings— good health, long life, prosperity and other favours in the new year.
Many people outline a litany of lofty goals they want to actualise in the coming year.
They top it up with the exchange of goodwill wishes and messages with friends and family. No matter how old, instant death is the last thing on the minds of most people. Even those who are ill expect to get well in the new year.
These deaths, according to Vanguard checks, include 44 Nigerians who were snatched by COVID-19 and no fewer than 50 claimed by violence unleashed by bandits, cultists and kidnappers. Also included are those crushed in auto accidents.
The figure is based on reported cases. It excludes terrorists and Boko Haram insurgents neutralised by the military.
Some of the heart-rending deaths reported in the last eight days include:
Timeline of reported deaths
No fewer than six people died in a New Year day fire accident in Akaeze, Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The fire incident occurred at the home of Ogenyi Chukwu at 8p.m.
It was reportedly caused when a canon loaded with gun powder had contact with fire. Chukwu told reporters that his children and 11 other relatives were watching television when suddenly fire engulfed the entire house.
Seven farmers were killed by bandits in Mashegu Local Government Area of Niger State on New year eve Eve. Many were left injured during the attack on the farmers in their farms in Babban Rami.
Unknown men killed Quadri Okunola, popularly called Kudeti, a father of three at Macaulay/Odudu, along Igbogbo/ Bayeku road Ikorodu, Lagos
The Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Faruq’s younger brother, Abdullah I Umar and two of his friends died in a motor accident along Katsina-Daura road
One person was killed in Osogbo Osun State, when cult groups clashed during a carnival party at Isale-Osun area of the town.
Bandit killed a chief executive officer of a filling station and his two cousins in Idere, Ibarapa North local Government, Oyo State.
Chief of Protocol to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Tosin Ogunbodele and his driver died in an auto crash along Ilesa- Akure Road, Ondo State.
Bandits invaded kawaran Rafiu village in Igabi local government Area of Kaduna State and killed the chief Imam of the village, Danleeman Isah. Also killed was the Sarkin Yaki of Godogodo, Yohanna Abu.
Suspected internet fraudsters killed a girl, 18, in a hotel at Owa community in Ika North local government of Delta State
No fewer than 19 people were killed in a two-day attack in Kaduna. Twelve of the victims were indigenes of Kaya, Gura Local Government Area.
Four people were shot while properties worth millions of naira were destroyed in bloody violence in some parts of Ibadan, Oyo State.
Policemen killed two suspected members of a three-man robbery gang in Ughelli, Delta State.
A truck driver killed a middle-aged man on Owerri Road, Onitsha, Anambra State while the deceased was crossing the highway.
Bandits killed nine people including three infants in Zankoro, Kaduna State.
Six persons were confirmed dead while 9 others sustained injuries in an accident involving articulated vehicles and a Toyota bus around car park C on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway
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Gunmen killed former education secretary of Nasarawa local government, Malawi Salisu at Mungi sharp corner, Buga Gwari, Gadabuke, Toto local council.
The hoodlums abducted no fewer than 20 people traveling in three vehicles and took them into the bush. Salihu was among those abducted. His body was later found in the bush near the road.
Bandits killed a policeman and kidnapped five others in attacks in Shiroro and Raji local government in Niger state
Gombe State police command killed a kidnap suspect identified as Ustas during a gunfight with policemen
Bandits attacked Katarma village in Chikun Local Government, Kaduna, killed four persons and kidnapped many women.