Amnesty International (AI) yesterday said the failures of Nigerian Government fuels escalating the conflict between farmers and herders as death toll nears 4,000.
A statement yesterday quoted AI’s country director, Osai Ojigho, saying that at least 3,641 people were killed between 2016 and 2018, most of them this year.
Amnesty also said the failure of security forces allows some attacks to last for days.
It also demanded that authorities’ failure to investigate attacks fuels further bloodshed.
Amnesty International made the revelations in a new report released today titled “Harvest of Death: Three Years of Bloody Clashes Between Farmers and Herders.”
Ojigho said, “Our research shows that these attacks were well planned and coordinated, with the use of weapons like machine guns and AK-47 rifles.
He said, “Yet, little has been done by the authorities in terms of prevention, arrests and prosecutions, even when information about the suspected perpetrators was available.”
He said Amnesty International started documenting clashes between farmers and herders from January 2016.
He added that between August 2017 and September 2018, its researchers conducted 10 field trips to 56 villages in five states.
He said the report is based on 262 interviews with victims, eyewitnesses, community leaders, medical practitioners, religious leaders and government officials, including members of the security forces.
He said researchers also analysed 230 documents, including medical records and reports by the security forces.
He added that villagers in all the areas visited by Amnesty International described losing everything as their homes were burned and their food supplies carted away by attackers.
AI said since 2016, both sides in the conflict have increasingly sought to destroy each other’s livelihood with herders setting fire to farms and farmers engaging in cattle rustling.
Ojigho noted that “The root cause of this conflict has nothing to do with religion or ethnicity; it is largely about land and access to grazing.”
“But in some places, because of the failures of the security forces, competition over resources is used as a pretext to kill and maim along ethnic or religious lines.
“The conflict has also been dangerously politicized by some state government officials who have inflamed tensions by embarking on a blame-game along political party lines,” said Osai Ojigho.