By Ochiaka Ugwu
The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) has condemned in strong terms the recent killings in Guma, Logo of Benue State and in some communities in Taraba State.
This was made known by the Director General of the Institute, Prof. Oshita O. Oshita in a press briefing addressed in Abuja yesterday.
Oshita noted that the act of violence undermines the fundamental rights of Nigerians as enshrined in the constitution and also giving rise to inter-group distrust.
His words, “You are aware that in recent times our country has been facing challenges with peaceful coexistence, particularly between herders and crop farmers. The recent killings in Guma and Logo Local Government Areas of Benue State and earlier on in parts of Taraba State as well as the clashes between the two occupational groups in other parts of Nigeria are to say the least, condemnable.
“These acts of violence undermine the fundamental rights of Nigerians as enshrined in the constitution. The attacks and killings are fuelling inter-group distrust, polarizing communities and jeopardizing the peace and security of our dear country”.
Speaking further, Oshita said the report of the 2016 Strategic Conflict Assessment (SCA) of Nigeria conducted by IPCR which was presented to Nigerian public in late 2017 highlighted the increasing prevalence of herders-farmers conflicts and the sheer potential that these have to destabilize the country.
According to Osita, “The SCA is accompanied by a National Action Plan (NAP) which clearly articulates measures to be adopted in addressing the phenomenon of violent conflicts between herders and sedentary farmers”.
He cautions that the recurring reign of terror on hapless communities by unknown persons for whatever reasons at this time when the central government is focusing on developing agriculture and diversifying the economy represents serious threat to rural communities that constitute the bedrock of agriculture.
He however, on behalf of the institute appealed to Nigerians for calm, restraint and tolerance saying that violence is a tool for the coward.