Amnesty International (AI) says at least 1,813 people have been murdered in attacks across 17 states since January 2018, more than double of those killed in 2017.
The organisation said the federal government is not doing enough to address the killings, especially in the northern part of the country.
“Independently verified estimated figures indicate that since January 2018 at least 1813 people have been murdered in 17 states, which is double the 894 people killed in 2017,” AI said in a statement released on Thursday.
Amnesty said by failing to hold murderers to account, Nigerian authorities are encouraging impunity, which is fueling rising insecurity across the country.
“We are gravely concerned about the rising spate of killings across the country, especially the communal clashes between farmers and herders and attacks by bandits across at least 17 states,” said Osai Ojigho, director of AI in Nigeria.
“The authorities have a responsibility to protect lives and properties, but they are clearly not doing enough going by what is happening.”
Ojigho said the latest incident in Plateau state, where armed gunmen attacked and killed over 80 villagers, should be investigated.
AI said the “government must answer these questions: who are these attackers, where do they come from, where do they go after attacks, who arms them, why is security forces’ response time very slow?”
AI said it is currently investigating the rising insecurity that has resulted in the increase in killings across Nigeria.
“Amnesty International’s investigations show worrying details of how frequently the security forces failed to protect villagers. In all cases Amnesty International investigated, the attackers, usually arriving in their hundreds spend hours killing people and setting houses on fire and then disappeared without a trace,” the statement read.
“We are at the peak of farming season, and communities affected by this wave of violence are largely agrarian. But because of fear of attacks they have either been displaced or unable to cultivate their farms, therefore their major source of food and income threatened by the attacks.”
The organisation urged the government to make arrests and bring to justice those responsible for the attacks.