Thursday, 12 July 2018

Over 579 Nigerians In 4 States Killed In Farmer-herder Clashes

At least 579 people were killed between January and June in clashes and retaliatory attacks between farmers and shepherds in just four states, reveals a check from the Daily Trust.

The deaths are from four states in north-central Benue, Plateau, Kogi and Nasarawa.

Some 503 people, including farmers, a village chief, two priests and several faithful and travelers, were killed in attacks across the four states in the first six months of 2018.

During the same period, 76 herders were killed during attacks in Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau, including 25 by soldiers in Benue. No deaths of shepherds were recorded in Kogi.

Only 98 cows were grazed - some were killed, others were injured - in Nasarawa only during the first half of the year. And efforts to control security issues have not thrilled the public.

Public outrage at the killings demands that the government take the necessary measures to protect lives and property. Media reports and comments from government officials and security agencies do not seem to have turned into actions that would end the violence.

Available data on killings in the four states and in other parts of the country point to a state of insecurity in the country.
Days after the latest wave of violence, officials including Senate Speaker Bukola Saraki and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited the Plateau.

Former Education Minister Oby Ezekwesili organized a solo protest at Aso Villa but was arrested by security. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Nigerian Red Cross, up to 22,000 people were displaced in the latest wave of violence.

But estimates suggest that the number of displaced people may be higher - and has increased over time as communities become stressed. Sources close to the region speak of whole villages along the Birnin-Gwari axis between the states of Kaduna and Niger who uproot and leave their homes after threats.

Several calls have been made for the authors on both sides to reserve and seek justice for the dead.

"You can not bring back the lives, but finding and pursuing the perpetrators will greatly help to calm people and relieve the pain they are going through," Saraki said during his visit.

"Therefore, once again, we ask our security officers to make sure they find the perpetrators who did this and hold them accountable for their hateful actions."

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