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Over 60,000 killed in farmer-herder crises since 2001 – Dons

Lecturers in the Department of Political Science, University of Abuja, have decried the destruction of lives and property in farmer-herder crises in Benue and Plateau states.

The academics also noted that the lack of political will on the side of the government to prosecute the killers had continued to fuel the killings.

No fewer than two communities in Plateau State recently suffered reprisal attacks from herdsmen which led to the death of 21 people.

According to a statement made available to our correspondent on Friday, the lecturers spoke during a book review titled, “The root cause of farmers-herders crisis in North-central Nigeria” organised by the department and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

One of the lecturers, Dr Olowu Olagunju, said the conflict in the North-Central zone of the country had led to the death of over 60,000 Nigerians since 2001.

Olagunju said, “The farmer-herder crisis has been reported in 22 out of the 36 states in Nigeria with the North-Central zone having the highest incidences in the country. The crisis has resulted in lethal violence which accounted for over 60,000 deaths since 2001, a death toll that was higher than that of the Boko-Haram insurgency.

“It was on record that between 2016 and 2018, there were about 3,641 deaths resulting from a series of reprisal attacks between the two groups.”

Speaking further, the don stressed the need to mediate and put measures to immediately address the crisis through collaboration with traditional rulers and community leaders.

Also speaking on the matter, another lecturer in the department, Dr Oluyori Nenadi, while corroborating Olagunju’s remarks, called for commitments from stakeholders.

She added, “The lack of political will by the government is one of the reasons fueling the crisis. The political will to arrest and punish the offenders adequately is a motivating factor for continued attacks in Nigeria.

“Resolving conflict involves the commitment of all the stakeholders from the federal, state, local government level and civil societies.”

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