Nigeria’s human rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to the UN Security Council and its members asking that they appeal to the government to end killings and destruction of property by suspected herdsmen across Nigeria, The Nation reported.
The organisation urged the council members to visit Nigeria for an on-the-spot assessment.
The organisation also asked the Council to: “treat the atrocities by herdsmen as terrorist acts, in line with the UN Security Council resolution 2349 (2017), which addresses Boko Haram’s presence in the Lake Chad Basin and calls on all states to combat all forms and manifestations of terrorism.
“Declaring attacks by herdsmen as terrorist acts would help wake up the authorities to seriously address the threats posed by herdsmen and combat the crimes against humanity being committed against Nigerians.”
In the letter dated 16 March 2018 and signed by SERAP deputy director Timothy Adewale, the organisation expressed “serious concern that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is failing to uphold its responsibility to protect the citizens from increasing atrocities by the herdsmen.
To SERAP, the continuous atrocities would pose serious threat to regional peace and security, and by extension, international peace and security.
“The Security Council must act now to protect Nigerians, including women and children, if the Council is not to be accused of failing the people of Nigeria.”
SERAP said: “The attacks by herdsmen have uprooted families, destroyed communities’ socio-economic activities, and taken away their livelihoods and common heritage. These attacks undermine the very purposes and principles of the UN Charter. If not urgently combatted, such attacks may rise to the level of threat to international peace and security. SERAP notes that the first ‘purpose’ listed for the UN is to maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace.”
“SERAP urges the Security Council and its members to publicly condemn these terrorist attacks, express concern about the protection of Nigerians and communities affected by the violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and press the authorities to put in place special mechanisms for bringing those suspected to be responsible to justice, and victims to receive redress, including adequate compensation and guarantee of non-repetition.”
“The Security Council and its members should reaffirm that terrorism of all forms and manifestations, such as the growing attacks by herdsmen in Nigeria, are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivations. They should also recognise that security, development and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing and are vital to an effective and comprehensive approach to countering all forms of terrorism in Nigeria.”
“The Security Council and its members should adopt a resolution to: Characterise killings by herdsmen as terrorist acts and mobilise international support for Nigeria to combat these attacks, including for the authorities to adopt and implement measures to tackle the causes and consequences of these attacks and end all forms of terrorism in the country.”
“The resolution should also call on the UN Secretary-General to carry out a joint visit to Nigeria with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and the African Union Peace and Security Council to investigate allegations of killings by herdsmen and to better understand the root causes of these killings and put pressure on the Nigerian authorities to end them.”