The West African Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA-Nigeria) has disclosed that no fewer than 3,641 people were killed in Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Zamfara states between January 2016 and October 2018 due to violent clashes between herders and farmers.
President of WAANSA-Nigeria, Ms. Josephine Habba, who disclosed this at a press conference in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, to mark this year’s Arms Control Week of Action stated further that within the same period in the North East, Boko Haram carried out more than 65 attacks, causing 411 civilian deaths, and abduction of at least 73 people, including women.
Habba said: “There remains at least 1.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, while 395 lived in camps or similar settings and 61% in host communities.
“According to the UN, 5.2 million people in the North East are in urgent need of food assistance; 450,000 children below the age of five are in urgent need of nutrition. In July 2018, Doctors without Borders reported that 240 children had died from malnutrition in Borno State.”
Habba lamented further that in Benue State alone, 483,692 persons have been displaced, adding that 56.24 % of the displaced population are children and 22.59% are women, while 21.17% are men.
This statistics, she said, are based on the profiling of IDPs in Benue State carried out by Jireh Doo Foundation (JDF) in collaboration with Benue State Emergency Management Agency (BSEMA) and Community Links.
While noting with sadness that killings are still ongoing across the country, the WAANSA President said it was for that reason that the Network had been at the forefront of advocacy for an end to illicit trade and misuse of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria.
“The negative impact of poor control of arms in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. More than 3,641 people were killed in Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Zamfara states between January 2016 and October 2018 due to violent clashes between herders and members of farmer communities, 57% of them in 2018 alone.
“These clashes have been a fight to control and access resources, including water, land and pasture. According to Amnesty International (AI), the Nigerian government has the constitutional responsibility to protect lives and property of its citizens.