The West Africa Network for Peace-building Nigeria (WANEP-Nigeria) has called on women to lead peaceful actions to put an end to recurring farmers-herders clashes and the rising spate of killings in the country.
The Coordinator of WANEP-Nigeria, Chief Bridget Osakwe, disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday at a one-day Policy Dialogue on Promoting Women’s Involvement in Peace Processes in Nigeria themed: “Working with Stakeholders to Promote Women’s Participation in Peace building in Northern Nigeria”.
According to her, the quest for territorial control of arable land for grazing activities, obstruction of traditional migration routes among other reasons has led to destruction of farmlands and products.
“Revenge killings emanating from alleged theft/killing of livestock and sexual violence especially rape of women and girls, attributed to herdsmen has thrown up new challenges to human security in the country. More alarming is the proliferation of small arms and light weapons resulting in high fatality and internals displacements,” Osakwe said.
While lamenting the killings in Benue, she said that a spill-over effect of the violence has been witnessed in other states of Edo, Delta, Enugu, Kaduna, Kogi, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo and Taraba among others with women and children being the worst hit as victims.
She said, “We want state actors to partner with women groups and women-focused civil society organisations in addressing the underlying causes of conflict between farming communities and herdsmen in the affected states to find sustainable solutions.”
Also, WANEP-Nigeria board member and a lecturer at the University of Maiduguri, Prof. Patricia Donli, said Nigeria is under siege of war and that thinking otherwise is a dangerous self-denial that should be corrected.
She stressed the need to involve more women not just to make the numbers in committees or participation but to ensure that the women were directly involved in formulation and implementation of policies to end the violence and ensure sustainable peace.