UN Genocide Expert Warns Against Worsening Security Situation In Nigeria

The United Nations (UN) Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide on Thursday voiced concern over Nigeria’s worsening security situation, reported The UN News.

Alice Nderitu appealed to the authorities to undertake counter-terrorism operations in line with international human rights and humanitarian law.  She strongly condemned the 24 January airstrike in which at least 40 herders were killed, and scores of other civilians were injured.

The incident took place in a village on the border of two states, Nasarawa and Benue. She recalled that a similar airstrike in 2017 killed 54 civilians at a camp for displaced persons in Borno State.

The UN official expressed concern, particularly about the situation in Nigeria’s North West and North Central regions, where the air attacks took place. 

“These dynamics of targeting communities along identity lines, if unaddressed, risk further fuelling intercommunal tensions, recruitment by armed groups, and retaliatory attacks, with an obvious impact on civilians” Nderitu added.

The Special Adviser said the worsening security situation in Nigeria due to the politicization of transhumance, the seasonal movement of livestock for grazing, and increasing divisions among communities, including based on stigmatization along religious and ethnic lines.

She warned that in the extremely volatile environment, the authorities must take steps to ensure that the general elections set to be held on 25 February 2023 do not trigger violence and even atrocity crimes.

The UN official also warned about increasing trends of hate speech along identity lines, and incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence that permeates political discourse in the country. She urged all political leaders in the country to abide by a peace accord they signed that includes a commitment to peaceful campaigns.  

Religious and traditional leaders have also been encouraged to work to appease tensions, prevent incitement to violence and address the risk of atrocity crimes ahead of the elections and beyond.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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