WORRIED by recent spate of deadly attacks and killings by herdsmen in Nigeria, a group, the West Africa Responsibility to Protect Coalition (WAC-R2P), has called on Federal Government to urgently adopt measures aimed at combating the menace.
The group made the call on Wednesday in Lagos in a statement issued by its Executive Director, Wale Adeboye, while reacting to the fresh killings of about 81 people by herdsmen in Benue State, a few days ago.
According to the WAC-R2P, the Federal Government needed to do more than just issuing of statements condemning the acts to developing measures that would strengthen the protection of her citizens across the country against reoccurrence of the herdsmen atrocities, especially on the corridor that had become herdsmen target.
The group, while calling on the government to urgently end atrocities in the country, lamenting that herdsmen killings had left behind devastated communities, families, friends and loved ones struggling to cope with life after and eagerly waiting to get justice and healing.
“The trauma of such mass atrocities is unimaginable. The current response from the Nigerian governments and its agencies do not indicate a will to prevent and protect her population from such mass atrocities.
“Rather than take proactive actions to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice, what the victims get often are less assuring public statements. Such statements do not build societal resilience or reduce the risk of reoccurrence.
“Nigerian government must focus her resources and energy on bringing about immediate long-term solution to the herdsmen atrocities. The targeting of and invading of communities by herdsmen is intolerable and constitute mass atrocity crimes. The Nigerian authority must fully hold accountable those committing these atrocities or who impede efforts to halt it.
“With the herdsmen associated killings reaching a climax, the situation must be a source of concern and action for Nigeria and Nigerians. The international community must also wake up and confront the reality that this situation might just be the proof needed to establish the linkages between violent extremism and the movement of herdsmen,” the group said.
It urged the ECOWAS, African Development Bank (ADB) and other international development agencies/actors to become more interested in factors driving herdsmen’s movement and associated atrocities, stressing that there was need for the Nigerian government and the international community actors to interrogate the connection of herdsmen crisis in association with global warming and climate change.
The group added that unless this situation was addressed holistically, herdsmen crisis posed immediate and future consequences to food security, human security and reduction of poverty of the Nigerian people and the ECOWAS population.