Peacepro urges govt, BCDA to resolve border disputes
More than 60 percent of Nigeria’s 36 states are still grappling with intra and inter-border crisis leading to loss of lives and property. An Independent Peacebuilding organisation, Foundation for Peace Professionals, popularly known as Peacepro, on Friday, expressed concerns over the recurring border-related crisis in Nigeria.
The organisation, which has been mapping threat to Peace across the country, also noted that intra and Inter-state border-related crisis had broken out or persisited in more than 20 states of the federation in 2021.
In a statement made available to Prime Business by the Executive Director of PeacePro, Mr Abdulrazaq Hamzat, the group stated that, in the January edition of PeacePro’s State of Peace report alone, land-related communal dispute led to crisis in more than 13 states; and, in the subsequent months, similar clashes occured in more than 20 states of Nigeria.
According to Hamzat, Inter-state border clashes between Abia and Akwa Ibom Ikwuano Council communities
and Ini and Obot Akara Council claimed several lives in January, while clashes between Enugu and Ebonyi State border communities also claimed many lives.
Hamzat also noted that, intra-state border-related crisis took place in many states.
“In Osun State, intra-state crisis took place between Erin Osun and Ilobu communities. In Adamawa State, it was between Lamurod community and others. In Akwa Ibom, Okopedi and Ammamong and several other communities were engaged in armed conflict. In Anambra State, it was among Aguleri, Umueri and Umuoba. In Benue State, Ibilla took up arms against Ukpa community. In Cross River, Abakang was against Alok.
In Delta State, Effium was against Ezza community. In Taraba State, Tiv and Jukun in Chachenji village took up arms against each other and several other states across Nigeria,” he said.
Hamzat also decried non-implementation of several court judgements relating to land disputes, saying that government should not continue to disregard its own institutions, as that would amount to culpablility in the persistent crisis of land ownership.
According to him, there are several court judgements relating to land disputes, including Surpeme court judgements that are not yet implemented. Some of the judgements are dated back to the 1980’s.”
He noted that non-implementation of these court judgements has encouraged lawlessness across the country, not only from disputing communities, but also from government.
“While PeacePro’s is aware that court judgements are mostly given based on soundness of lawyers and legal technicalities, not necessarily to resolve the matter in a truthful manner, we still beleive that judgements from the highest court in the land over land disputes should not be left un-executed.”
He, therefore, called on Federal Government, state governments and Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA) to come up with initiatives to address the numerous border-related disputes in the country to avoid persistent bloodshed that has become a regular part of Nigeria’s experience.