Nigeria: Arrest, Punish Those Responsible for Killings, U.S Tells Govt

Battle between farmers and herders in Nigeria

The U.S. Deputy Chief ‎of Mission Nigeria, David Young, has urged the Nigerian government not to allow perpetrators of deadly violence in many states get away with their crimes.

He called for a crackdown on deadly attacks that have led to over a thousand deaths in various northern states.

Most of the attacks are linked to herdsmen - farmers clashes.

Mr Young suggested ways the Nigerian government could end the ongoing killings in Zamara, Kaduna and Plateau states.

My Young, ‎while addressing journalists in Kaduna on Wednesday, described the killings as tragic and very complex to deal with.

‎He explained that part of the solution to the problem would be for the government to arrest those behind the killings.

Mr Young, who said he visited the three states affected by the herders-farmers crisis, also said it was very important for justice to take place to stem the tide.

"As Nigeria deals with its issues of insecurity and violence, I know it is a major concern, that I heard about from people here in Kaduna as well as Zamfara and Plateau, about the issue of loss of lives and how tragic that is. It's important to emphasise that for us (U.S.) and our people, all lives are sacred and we mourn the passing and tragedy that happened.

"I learnt that in Kaduna and Zamfara during my trip that all communities are touched by this violence between farmers and herders. All are touched by this violence and again it's a tragic loss that we mourn and we stand in solidarity with people who lost loved ones," he said.

"I learnt that there are very complex causes for the criminality that we see across different states. I met with many people in Abuja as well and around the country and our team at the Embassy looked at these issues, talked to folks all across Nigeria.

"With great concern, I realised that it is very complex and there is no particular simple solution that is easily available," he added.

He said those indicted as being responsible for the violence should be arrested.

"Obviously the critical importance is cracking down on the criminality and having effective and efficient law enforcement agencies that really focus on issues of impunity. It is very important that criminals and others are not able to get away with this kind of impunity‎ and violence," he said.

He also said the government should create opportunities for the youth so as to divert their attenttion from criminality.

"We are partnering with Nigerian leaders in some o‎f these areas and in terms of improving education and health, economic opportunities, agriculture and other sectors. It's critically important that people have opportunities and hope to envisage a better future so that young people do not go into criminality.

"Another important message is that it's important to have individuals ‎acting as peace makers and working to promote dialogue across communities, ethnic groups and religions.

"I heard lot of inspirational stories during my visit to here (Kaduna), Zamfara and Plateau about people who are working individually and leading other communities to work as peace makers to prevent the cycles of violence and reprisals and counter reprisals that lead to such bloody deaths and destruction. United States contributes over $1 billion each year to work with our Nigerians partners to create a better future for Nigerians."

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