“Time for the Nigerian government to take responsibility for violence”
Joel Amadi is a Nigerian singer who lost his father on July 24. His father was among 10 people killed in an attack from suspected Fulani militants. “I am a victim of the killings in Kaduna,” Amadi says. “I want the whole world to hear my voice. I want peace. I want unity to reign.” Kaduna, a state in northwest Nigerian, has been home to ongoing violence and killing.
Amadi is one of a group of Nigerian musicians, filmmakers, actors and other media members who have participated in a video campaign to address the violence. The campaign is called “Stop the killings in southern Kaduna”.
Open Doors says the killings in Kaduna need to be urgently addressed by the government. On August 9, Christians dressed in black and gathered for a mourning service in a church in Kaduna to protest the killings.
According to OD figures, Fulani attacks in northern Nigeria’s Middle Belt region have claimed the lives of at least 3,507 Christians between January 2016 and June 2020.
The crisis is partly caused by socio-economic factors. Continuing loss of fertile land has pushed the nomadic ethnic Fulani herders gradually southward, intensifying pressure on already scarce resources. At the same time, herders have migrated into the region from neighbouring West African countries suffering drought.
The conflict has also been used by radicals among the Fulani to advance Islam, fuelled by an influx of radical Islamic teachers from Saudi Arabia and Iran. The group has experienced waves of radicalization before in which the conquering of land is justified by the expansion of religion.
Islamist groups have found opportunity in those conditions. “As ethnic violence and banditry continues to expand in northwestern Nigeria, it is likely that [the militants are] attempting to exploit the chaos for its attempted resurgence,” Long War Journal said.
As observers discuss the cause of, and blame for, the violence, most of the responsibility lies with the federal government, said Jo Newhouse, spokesperson for Open Doors in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“There are many concerning reports of wilful negligence, or at worst, complicity, by the Nigerian Security Forces in these deadly attacks against Christian farmer communities,” she said. “Their inaction that has allowed violence to continue with impunity, has also allowed aggressors to take the lives of the most vulnerable in communities, namely the elderly, women and children.”
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