Unic Press UK: Amnesty International has issued a 69-page report ‘Harvest Of Death: Three Years Of Bloody Clashes Between Farmers And Herders In Nigeria’ illustrating the atrocities committed by cattle herders and others, blaming the Nigerian government for being grossly ineffective in tackling the menace that has caused the death of thousands of the innocents.
In the report released December 2018, the group said that its legitimate representatives visited 56 communities in Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Taraba, and Zamfara states, and conducted 262 interviews, including remotely with members of communities in Nasarawa and Plateau states.
An excerpt of the report reads:
“From state to state, community to community, Amnesty International had documents and heard accounts of security forces failure to protect people from deadly attacks by violent groups in the context of the farmers-herders clashes, even when they provided information about impending attacks. The organisation spoke to government officials and community leaders, who all confirmed that there are regular security meetings held and attended by representatives of all security agencies, other government officials and community leaders. In other instances, villagers called security officials to report the threats facing them but several times, no action was taken. In many cases, security forces arrived after attacks had happened, including in places they could reasonably have arrived at earlier to stop the attacks.“
Amnesty International further explains that it has documented 312 incidents of attacks and reprisal attacks in 22 states and Abuja between January 2016 and October 2018, estimating that at least 3,641 people may have been killed, 406 injured, 5,000 houses burnt down and 182,530 people displaced.
On the measures to be taken to handle the problem, Amnesty International appealed to the Nigerian national authorities to:
- Ensure thorough, effective and impartial investigations and prosecution of any person, including members of security forces, who perpetrated abuses and or wilfully ignored attacks:
- Move swiftly to domesticate the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS] Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons into the national laws and ensure the full and effective implementation of the Convention Protection of civilians;
- Investigate all allegations of willful negligence, complicity and other failures of security forces to protect civilians;
- Ensure that members of both farmer and herder communities enjoy their human rights, including rights to land, water and pasture, which are at the heart of the crisis;
- Ensure that all people displaced as a result of the crisis are provided with adequate relief, including protection, shelter, food, healthcare, compensation.