Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the nation’s security forces to put an end to violent attacks, following local reports of between 30 and 50 people killed earlier this week in the Benue region.
The deaths at a market in Zaki Biam were tied to the conflict between Fulani herdsman and local farmers over land use, News24 said. Buhari on Tuesday issued his condolences and his appeal for a crackdown.
“We must condemn inhuman and unnecessary shedding of human blood all over the country,” he said in a statement issued through spokesman Femi Adesina.
“We seem to have lost value for human life, which is sacred. Man is the glory of God’s creation and nobody has the right to unjustly and unlawfully take another person’s life in a reckless manner.”
The Benue region has seen village clashes and hundreds killed over farming and grazing rights in recent years, but the recent uptick in violence and unrest has visited other regions of Nigeria was well – even as the years-long battle with Boko Haram terrorists in the troubled northeast continues to claim lives. Buhari’s appeal for security forces to shut down the violence may, however, raise further questions about human rights violations in the name of peace and safety.
Amnesty International reported on Friday that security forces used live fire and tear gas to forcibly remove 4,700 people in the Otodo-Gbame section of Lagos, with bulldozers dismantling the settlement and destroying homes.
On Tuesday, for a second day, protesters surrounded the Amnesty office in Abuja and demanded that the global human rights NGO leave the country. The protesters were angry because Amnesty frequently questions the tactics of Nigeria’s police and security forces.
Protest leader Ibrahim Abubakar has said that if Amnesty does not leave in seven days, Nigerians will take to the streets to force the government to expel them. Amnesty Nigeria has responded with messages on the importance of a human rights mission that begin in 1961, and its resolve to continue that mission.
Image: Muhammadu Buhari