Nigeria's Government ignoring growing violence



Real freedom too often gets lost behind self serving moves by governments that are working to solidify their base. The increasing conflict in Nigeria is directly related to the present National government’s lack of interest in extending equal protection to all of its citizens. While the vicious antics of Boko Haram have received some public attention, there has arisen a second upheaval with potential to impact the future stability of the country of Nigeria.

Conflict has risen between Muslim Fulani herdsmen and Christian landowners. While initially there were complicated factors revolving around ownership and usage of land, this has now become a conflict pitting one faith community against another. It has been exploited by outside extremists who have both introduced a radical Islamist theology that targets Christians and their communities, and which have provided outside resources to feed the conflict.  For several years there have been increasing numbers of attacks on Christian villages. Fulani herdsmen have been encouraged to form militias and in Kaduna state alone it is estimated that there are now more than 50,000 Christians who have been displaced from 109 villages. There is fertile soil for this ideology amongst parts of the Fulani community as herdsmen search for new land for their flocks.

This development falls at the feet of President Muhammadu Buhari, himself a Fulani, who in 2015 was elected president of Nigeria. He has done little to respond.

Because the response of the national government has been so tepid, little has been done to protect these communities. Individuals, schools and communities have been targeted. The result has been an ever increasing number of herdsmen attacks, of deaths, of kidnappings and rapes. (Christian landowners)

The Nigerian government needs to do better. Their failure to seriously address a tribal land use issue has been allowed develop to the point that it has become a full blown campaign that threatens to spread division and violence throughout Nigeria. It could not have been handled more poorly.

What began as a regional conflict has been allowed to grow. Now Civil Society organizations are issuing genocide warnings for Nigeria.

It is not too late for the Nigerian government to do the right thing, to establish control in these areas and to promote the basic freedom and protection that every Nigerian citizen deserves

Too often in the past these first warnings have been ignored. Eventually the world is forced to pick up the pieces of conflicts that have repercussions for decades. Let's not let this happen in Nigeria.

For more information see APPG Report



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