Investigation: Nigeria’s Security Forces Deployed For Peace Accused Of Extortion, Harrasment

Findings by Daily Trust Saturday in Taraba, Benue and Kaduna states have revealed that some security agents deployed to conflict-ridden communities to maintain law and order between farmers and herders engage in unprofessional conducts. Residents of the affected areas alleged that instead of restoring peace, these security agents exacerbate the crisis through intimidation and extortion.

The lush green vegetation that colours the plains of Benue State gives a sense of calmness and reassurance of peace to any visitor passing through the state, known as the Food Basket of the Nation. Benue is blessed with an abundance of natural resources and agricultural potential, just like Taraba State, which lies at its west. Equally endowed with green vegetations, hills and mountains with valleys that stretch as far as the naked eye can see, Taraba State also boasts of agricultural prowess and provides a home for both peasant and commercial farmers, as well as pastoralists.

The riverine hinterlands of these two states are similar to those in southern Kaduna, where agriculture remains a crucial activity. These states and other parts of northern Nigeria are endowed with arable land resources that are a delight to every agrarian society.

However, a long-standing conflict between farmers and pastoralists over land use has taken a dangerous dimension in the last two decades. This has plunged several parts of the region into violent crises that have resulted in displacements and loss of lives and livelihood.

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Conflict and security experts say these clashes, which often take religious and ethnic dimensions, had existed for centuries but are now more evident as a result of growing population and climate change, which puts more pressure on arable land.

With traditional means of settling these disputes breaking down to almost non-existent capacity, the Nigerian government deployed security forces, mainly, the military to many parts of the North, to ensure that law and order is restored while farmers and herders work together to build peace in their communities.

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Ifah Sunday Ele
Ifah Sunday Ele
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