The Oasis Reporters
June 29, 2018
Former Nigerian Aviation Minister and opposition politician, Femi Fani-Kayode has spoken forcefully that “now that the United Nations have finally admitted that Buhari and his government are “encouraging murderers” perhaps they would find the courage and decency to call what is going on in Nigeria precisely what it is: state-sponsored mass murder, ethnic cleansing and genocide! When 11 villages are burnt to the ground and 200 people are slaughtered in one night it is called “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” and not just “murder”. Buhari and his government are mass murderers, ethnic cleansers and genocidal maniacs who have cowered our people into subjugation and submission by establishing an atmosphere of fear, intimidation and terror”.
On the part of the United Nations, it’s
Secretary General, António Gutierrez, concern has been expressed on behalf of the body, who on Thursday spoke on the violent conflicts between farmers and herders in countries across West and Central Africa, particularly the Plateau attacks that claimed the lives of over 86 villagers on Saturday.
In another development, Amnesty International has told the Nigerian government that by failing to hold murderers to account, the “Federal Government is encouraging impunity that is fuelling rising insecurity across the country”.
The Director, Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, stated this in a report released by the international agency on Thursday.
Amnesty International stated that its independently verified estimated figures indicated that since January 2018 “at least 1,813 people had been murdered in 17 states, which is double the 894 people killed in 2017.”
Ojigho stated, “The death tolls reflect killings as a result of farmers-herders conflict, communal clashes, Boko Haram attacks and banditry.
“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.
“The authorities have a responsibility to protect lives and property, but they are clearly not doing enough going by what is happening.”
Ojigho added, “The latest incident in Plateau State, where armed gunmen attacked 11 villages on June 23 for at least seven hours and killed at least 200 villagers without intervention from security forces should be investigated.
“That the violence in Plateau started after an attack, which was followed by reprisals from Thursday, June 21 shows unacceptable security lapses.
“Despite the deployment of security forces, including the military in over 30 states, the escalation of these attacks shows that whatever is being done by authorities is not working.
“There is urgent the need for people who are suspected of committing crimes to be held accountable.
“We hope that President Buhari’s commitment to bring those suspected to be criminally responsible for the killings in Plateau State to justice will break the impunity that has spread through the country.
“In addition, 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?”
He explained, “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 disappear without a trace.”
Amnesty International added that it was investigating the rising insecurity that had resulted in the increase in killings across the country.
The agency also expressed concern about the impact of these killings on farming, especially with the affected villages and farmlands deserted because people fear going back to their homes.
“We are at the peak of the 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,” said Osai Ojigho
The organisation called on the Federal Government to address security lapses that “make it easier for the killers to carry out attacks and disappear.”
“Making arrests and bringing to justice those suspected to be responsible for these attacks are crucial in ending the killings that are gradually turning into almost a daily occurrence. In many instances, these killings happen and no arrests take place,” Ojigho said.
The UN scribe however in a statement by his spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, on Thursday called on all concerned governments, regional organisations, civil society and other relevant actors to work together to find acceptable and lasting solutions to the conflicts.
He spoke a few days after attacks by suspected herdsmen left scores of people dead in Plateau State. Guterres described the trend as being detrimental to regional stability.
He said the UN was ready to support national and regional efforts to resolve disputes between farmers and herders.
The statement read, “The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the increasing frequency, intensity, complexity and geographic scope of violent conflict between farmers and herders, as well as related banditry, extortion and cattle rustling, in several countries across West and Central Africa.
“He condemns the resultant loss of lives, property and livelihoods, as well as population displacement, which undermines peaceful coexistence between communities in many of the affected countries. It is also detrimental to regional stability.
“The Secretary-General stresses that all attacks targeting civilians violate international humanitarian law.
“He urges all concerned governments, regional organisations, civil society and other relevant actors to work together to find acceptable and lasting solutions to these conflicts, in full compliance with existing regional regulatory frameworks and international humanitarian and human rights law.
“The Secretary-General expresses the solidarity of the United Nations with the people and governments of the affected countries. He reiterates the readiness and commitment of the United Nations to support national and regional efforts to resolve disputes between farmers and herders.”
Additional reporting from Punch.