Kidnapping, Killings, And Communal Clashes In Nigeria

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The last few weeks in Nigeria have been filled with really unpleasant news, to the extent that many Nigerians just “move on” immediately when news is reported, talk about the news for a couple of minutes or just pretend nothing at all was heard. With current happenings and realities, it appears the human life is no longer valued in the Nigerian state and that the government no longer reckons with the constitutional guarantee of the right to life.

The attacks in communities by herdsmen is traced back to 1996. Between 1996 and 2006, no less than 121 people lost their lives in Bauchi and Gombe States as a result of Fulani Herdsmen-Farmers Clash. Since January 2016, several communities in Benue State have been severely attacked by these herdsmen.

Several other states in Nigeria have also encountered this wanton act of violence, including Abia State, Enugu State, Ekiti State, and the Lagun/Iyana-Offa/Offa/Atagba/Lapata communities of Oyo State, among others. This January, these herdsmen launched a fresh attack on some communities in Oyo State, which resulted in the interference of an activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly called Sunday Igboho. He stated that he was called by one “Jabele” to intervene in the killing and kidnapping of Yorubas by herdsmen and an eventual payment of ransom by victims to the “Seriki” (leader) of the herdsmen. Chief Sunday has been commended for his heroic action in restoring peace, particularly to the people of Igangan.

Kidnapping has almost always been a thing in Nigeria. However, some notorious kidnapping cases are important to note. In 2014, members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect stormed a boarding school in Chibok, a community in Borno State and kidnapped 276 girls. Some of these girls have since escaped and returned home, while some were released by Boko Haram. Others have, however, remained with their abductors. In December 2020, members of the Boko Haram sect kidnapped 330 school boys. This untoward act of kidnapping school children is not even the only havoc wrecked by this group; videos have circulated in the recent past where members of Boko Haram were seen beheading some of their victims.

Living in Nigeria these days seems to be filled with fear and uncertainty as a result of many atrocities committed by herdsmen, Boko Haram and kidnappers, among others. People want a safe living space, without undue fear or panic. When will reasonable security and peace return to Nigeria?

Omolara Ajayi
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