The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has strongly criticized the federal government’s ‘Pulaku Initiative’, labeling it as an inadequate response to the calculated and well choreographed herders’ terrorism against farmers plaguing the nation.
According to HURIWA, the initiative serves as a thinly veiled attempt to shield herder terrorists, failing to address the root cause of the violence and perpetuating injustice.

Contrary to the government’s portrayal, HURIWA contended in a press statement signed by its national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, that the conflicts are not merely disputes over land and resources but orchestrated acts of terrorism by herder militias against innocent farming communities.

The association highlighted extensive statistical evidence gathered since 2015, underscoring the severity of the atrocities committed by herder militias against farmers.

HURIWA stressed that over the past decade, there have been more than 5,000 reported cases of attacks on farmers by herders, resulting in thousands of deaths and widespread displacement of communities across Nigeria.

“These attacks have not only claimed countless lives but have also led to the destruction of farmlands, livestock, and properties, exacerbating poverty and despair among affected populations.

“The media has extensively reported on incidents involving the killings and kidnappings of farmers by suspected herdsmen, along with instances of farmland destruction by cattle. Despite these reports, little action has been taken to hold the perpetrators accountable. In 2020 alone, more than 1,531 deaths were attributed to farmer-herder conflicts and insurgency in Nigeria, according to Amnesty International.

“Furthermore, a study conducted by Zinariya Consults in 2021 revealed that over 300,000 Nigerians were displaced, with 1,868 deaths recorded in four states between 2018 and early 2021 due to clashes between farmers and herders. Benue State emerged as one of the most affected areas, with the Benue State Emergency Agency reporting 5,138 farmers killed by herders between 2015 and 2022, with the highest number of fatalities occurring in 2021.

“Additionally, the South-West region of Nigeria has also experienced significant casualties, with reports indicating that more than 4,000 individuals were killed by herders between 2015 and 2021. These statistics underscore the urgent need for decisive action to address the root causes of the conflicts and ensure the safety and security of all Nigerians affected by the violence,” HURIWA underlined.

Continuing, HURIWA emphasized the urgent need for decisive action to hold perpetrators accountable and deliver justice to the victims.

The organization condemned the government’s failure to address the perpetrators of these heinous crimes, noting that herder militias responsible for the violence have largely evaded accountability.

“Despite numerous incidents of bloodshed and destruction, very few individuals have been prosecuted or held accountable for their actions. Instead of prioritizing justice and security, the ‘Pulaku Initiative’ offers a superficial solution that ignores the suffering of victims and the urgent need for accountability, ” it said.

Again, HURIWA raised concerns about the composition of the steering committee overseeing the ‘Pulaku Initiative’, noting the absence of meaningful representation from affected communities and human rights organizations.

The organization, therefore called for greater transparency, inclusivity, and consultation with all stakeholders to ensure that the initiative’s implementation is guided by the principles of justice, human rights, and the rule of law.

HURIWA reaffirmed its commitment to advocating for the rights and dignity of all Nigerians affected by the farmer-herder conflicts.

The organization further urged the government to abandon the ‘Pulaku Initiative’ and instead focus on addressing the root causes of violence, promoting accountability, and safeguarding the rights and security of all citizens.

“As Nigeria grapples with the devastating consequences of herder-terrorism, we remain steadfast in our call for genuine solutions that prioritize the protection of human rights, uphold the rule of law, and foster lasting peace and reconciliation in the country, ” HURIWA concluded.


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