At least 120 people died in clashes between farmers and semi-nomadic herders by late Sunday (June 24) in Nigeria’s central Plateau state over dwindling fertile land.
Authorities imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in central Plateau state after the fighting, part of an escalation of clashes that have raged for years.
Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who was the first to visit the victims said it was “a very condemnable act,” as he spoke on Monday (June 25), and ensured that those culpable would be “punished”.
Osinbajo added, “It is a very condemnable act, and the president has said he is already, the statement said that whatever it takes we must ensure that we not only arrest and find all of those who have done this very heinous act but that they are seen to be publicly punished for these actions.”
President Muhammadu Buhari travelled to Plateau after visiting Cross River State where he inaugurated a rice factory and declared that the country was making progress with its agricultural revolution.
Buhari says it is unfair to blame him for the herdsmen-farmer crisis that has claimed many lives in parts of the country.
The President said this on Tuesday during his visit to Plateau State, following the attack on some villages during which scores of people were killed.
According to him, the “Farmer knows that the Nigerian cattle herder that he knows doesn’t carry nothing more than a stick, occasionally sometimes something to cut grass to feed his cattle.”
“But the present herder, I am told, carries AK47 and people are even blaming me for not talking to them because maybe (they say) I look like one of them.
The violence in Nigeria’s diverse Middle Belt states has now killed more people than the Islamist insurgency in Nigeria’s northeast.