The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has appealed to the UN Security Council to urgently hold a special session on Nigeria and to visit the country to press the authorities to end endless killings and destruction of property by suspected herdsmen across Nigeria, particularly in the North Central of the country.
The organization also asked the Council: to treat the atrocities by herdsmen as terrorist acts, in line with the UN Security Council resolution 2349 (2017), which addresses Boko Haram’s presence in the Lake Chad Basin and calls on all states to combat all forms and manifestations of terrorism.
“Declaring attacks by herdsmen as terrorist acts would help make up the authorities to seriously address the threats posed by herdsmen and combat the crimes against humanity being committed against Nigerians”, it said.
In the letter signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, the organization expressed serious concerns that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari was failing to uphold its responsibility to protect the citizens from increasing atrocities by the herdsmen, which if not urgently addressed would pose serious threat to regional peace and security, and by extension, international peace and security.
“The Security Council must act now to protect Nigerians, including women and children, if the Council is not to be accused of failing the people of Nigeria.”
“SERAP urges the Security Council and its members to publicly condemn these terrorist attacks, express concern about the protection of Nigerians and communities affected by the violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and press the authorities to put in place special mechanisms for bringing those suspected to be responsible to justice, and victims to receive redress, including adequate compensation and guarantee of non-repetition.
“The Security Council and its members should reaffirm that terrorism of all forms and manifestations, such as the growing attacks by herdsmen in Nigeria, are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivations. They should also recognize that security, development and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing and are vital to an effective and comprehensive approach to countering all forms of terrorism in Nigeria.
“The Security Council and its members should adopt a resolution to: Characterise killings by herdsmen as terrorist acts and mobilize international support for Nigeria to combat these attacks, including for the authorities to adopt and implement measures to tackle the causes and consequences of these attacks and end all forms of terrorism in the country.
“The resolution should also call on the UN Secretary-General to carry out a joint visit to Nigeria with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and the African Union Peace and Security Council to investigate allegations of killings by herdsmen and to better understand the root causes of these killings and put pressure on the Nigerian authorities to end them.
“The resolution should express concern that unabated killings by herdsmen may ultimately contribute to undermining the ability of the Nigerian authorities to provide security, good governance, social and economic development in the country. It should affirm the international community’s solidarity and full support for the victims of killings by herdsmen and the communities affected, including those displaced because of the attacks.
“SERAP notes that hundreds of people including women and children, have been killed apparently by herdsmen, and several more have been displaced and others forced to flee their homes and communities. The past weeks alone have seen some of the worst attacks against innocent citizens, including unlawful killings, destruction and pillage of property by herdsmen across the country. The attacks have been fuelled by impunity that has plagued the authorities’ response to the problem.
“According reports, at least seven people have been killed and property worth millions of naira destroyed following series of attacks on Takum and Ussa local government areas of Taraba State by herdsmen. In Plateau State of Nigeria, a man identified as Joseph Alli, 23, was killed and beheaded by herdsmen during a fresh attack on Rotsu village, Miango District in Bassa Local Government Area of the State.
“His killers reportedly ate the food that he was about to eat, burnt the kitchen and food barn in the house and left. Three houses around the area were also burnt. In Kogi State, at least 50 people have been killed, with several still missing following an attack on Oganenigwu in Dekina Local Government Area of the State by herdsmen.”