Benue conflict: Rights group frowns at jungle justice

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Olaseni Shalom UGRFP’s Executive Director

The United Global Resolve for Peace (UGRFP), an NGO, has condemned in strong terms the reoccurring killings in Benue by persons suspected to be herders.

UGRFP’s Executive Director, Mr Olaseni Shalom, in a statement on Friday in Abuja, said that the recent upsurge in clashes between farmers and herdsmen constituted a dent in Nigeria’s history.

Shalom said that it was unfortunate that many years after its independence, Nigerians had not found unity amidst their existential diversity.

“ In what has been described by many as barbaric and cruel, killer herdsmen have unleashed terror on various territories within the country, with attendant loss of lives and properties.

“The situation, as usual, has resulted in claims and counter claims by ethnic leaders, religious entities, political stalwarts; some of whom have politicised the incidents, and consequently heated up the polity instead of deescalating the increasing tension.

“At the core of these claims and counterclaims is blame-trading, the contemporary currency in Nigerian polity, such that the various actors have constantly stated that one group took action before another; and as such, their action is a reprisal.

“It has therefore become pertinent, in the face of this imminent collapse of order and peace in our society, with looming chaos, that we must hurriedly arrest this festering danger.’’

He said that recent development had become a wake up call to all concerned authorities to wake up to their responsibilities.

According to him, a situation where one alleges and strikes and another launches reprisal is never the way of peace and reconciliation, and as such, should be avoided.

“ That is why we, at UGRFP will continue to clamour for a reorientation of our security architecture to reflect emerging threats,’’ he said.

Shalom said that in a bid to end the scourge of jungle justice, UGRFP would continue its nationwide campaign against jungle justice in Lagos state by March.



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