Civil Society intervention in managing the aftermath of killings around contestation over land between herders and farmers in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria is gathering space. Earlier today, the peacebuilding INGO provided a platform at which those who heal fissures in the society took a deep breath on the conflict. Now, the Abuja based Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, (CISLAC) has declared its commitment to what it calls “a progressive national agenda that fosters peaceful and just co-existence and development of all ethnic nationalities in the country”.
Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, CISLAC Executive Director, says that whatever nomenclature assigned to the killings by whatever interests groups, it runs contrary to everything commonsensical as well as the letters and spirit of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Describing the spate of violence as an unfortunate narrative in Nigeria’s national development, it condemns it in its totality, calling on the Federal Government to decisively bring all elements fingered to be culpable either directly or remotely to justice, adding that the act of violence was terrifying and mind boggling.
It has also followed up by decrying a “seeming slow and inefficient response of the Government to security issues” which it says leaves a lot of rooms for misguided perceptions and the escalation of such conflicts. CISLAC is fearful of the possibility of exploitation of the security situation thrown up by the killings by political, ethnic, economic and other vested interests
Government, it says, should become more alert, sensitive and holistic in addressing not just the current threats and violence in Benue state but across the entire country. The Executive Director argued that the onus of securing lives and properties lies as the primary responsibility of government and demands proactive engagement of security agencies to forestall breakdown in law and order across by apprehending all fomenters of trouble and violent conflict.