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UN sends message to Buhari govt over violence, herdsmen killings in Nigeria

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Ms Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, asked the Buhari government and the international community to pay particular attention to the persistent violence in north-central Nigeria.

“The situation in central and northern Italy seems to extend to other parts of the country. Urgent action is needed to end the violence that sustains thousands of lives, “Callamard told a news conference Monday in Abuja.

The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) quotes the United Nations official saying he has called the conference to share his findings on “arbitrary deprivation” in the country.

“According to my preliminary results, Nigeria is a pressure cooker for internal conflicts with problems of poverty and climate change that add to the crisis.

“If the crisis in central Nigeria is ignored, its expansionary effects will extend throughout the sub-region given Nigeria’s important role in the continent. In this case, the main victim will be the country’s vulnerable population “.

According to her, the crimes committed in the Northeast are not only against the victims and the Nigerian state.

“The crimes are against humanity; accountability must be delivered and the people must be involved and present in those processes.

“The suspected perpetrators – whether they are Boko Haram, other split groups or even security agencies – must also be held accountable,” Callamard added.

She called for trust in the Justice sector, saying that distrust could lead to the proliferation of vigilante groups and cases of jungle justice in the country

Callamard urged government to ensure access to justice for victims of human rights violation, and expressed happiness at the positive signs in the north-east demonstrated by the decrease in the number of killings over the last years.

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“I have found some positive signs; for instance, in the north-east, the number of allegations of arbitrary killings or death in custody has decreased over the last two years.

“This evolution needs to be thoroughly assessed to determine the factors and actors that allowed for that positive development.”

She said that Nigeria was currently being confronted by regional and global pressures, saying that the situation could be blamed on population explosion, increased number of people living in poverty, climate change, desertification and the increased proliferation of weapons.

The UN official said that the step taken by the government to consider ranching and increased security in the country was a welcome development.

“Ranching is a long term measure but steps must be taken now and a great deal of discussions and consultations must take place.

“Due to the level of distrust and lack of confidence, more efforts must be placed on finding long-term solutions. There is need for a roadmap that must develop meaningful accountability.

“There must also be a real plan toward ending the excesses of the security agencies,” she said.

She also called for more attention to the herders/farmers conflicts to check its spread, urging government to also look for a shorter immediate solution to the humanitarian crisis enveloping some parts of the country.