A new study report released on Monday by Amnesty International (Amnesty), an international human rights group, suggests the clash between herders-farmers across the nation over access to natural resources has led to the death of at least 3,641 Nigerians in the last three years, with over 2,000 people killed in 2018 alone.
Rapid population growth in Nigeria and climate change are the two main factors that have forced farmers and cattle herders into closer quarters. The scarcity of access to fertile land and water has resulted in a clash between the two groups eventually resulting in the death of thousands of people. As most herders are Muslim and ethnic Fulanis, and farmers are predominantly Christian, their ethnicity and religion also added to the clash.
The study report titled Harvest of Death: Three Years of Bloody Clashes Between Farmers and Herders, which is based on 262 interviews and 230 documents, including medical records and military reports, blames the authorities over its failure to investigate the violence and not doing enough to stop the killings, looting or burning of homes and prosecute the attackers behind the deadly conflicts between farmers and cattle herders.
“The Nigerian authorities have failed to prosecute those who have committed crimes,” said Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International Nigeria, reported Bloomberg. “People are grieving on both sides of the conflict but feel that the only way you can get attention is with violence. So the cycle continues.”
The Nigerian army on Monday condemned the Amnesty International report, accusing the organization of unfounded allegations against the leadership of the Nigerian military.
Army spokesman Sani Usman said in an official statement that the goal of Amnesty International (Nigeria) behind releasing the report is to destabilize and dismember Nigeria. He warned that if such recklessness continues then the army will have no option left but to close all the Amnesty International offices in Nigeria.