Recent violence between Christian farming communities and Muslim Fulani herdsmen have claimed the lives of 23 persons in the middle belt areas of Nigeria, Plateau State. Premier reports that 19 people were killed in a village in Plateau and the following day, four more were slaughter making reconciliation of Christians and Muslims in the region seem farfetched. A Christian from northern Nigeria who prefers to be referred to as Sulieman accounted that Plateau state had experienced some of the worst violence: “This year alone we counted more than 56 villages that have been attacked. Even last week, there have been at least three attacks. These attacks target these communities; burning houses, killing people and basically displacing people from their homes, from their farmlands and from their sources of income.” He explained that the clashes between Christians and Muslims in the state was as a result of battles over land, adding that Christians move from the north to avoid discrimination and clashes with those in the states they move to. Sulieman said “The attacks from 2009-2014 have mostly been through Boko Haram in the north east, where several Christians were uprooted from their communities and many of those people ran from those communities to places like Jos and Plateau state to find a place of refuge, but now we struggle with communities being attacked by Muslim Fulani herdsmen and the agenda is basically because of religion, they want to displace those people and take over the land. “At the moment there is no reconciliation in sight and the attitude of government is also not good because government is responsible to protect its people but this government has allowed the people to be continuously attacked.” Sulieman called for intervention in order to stop the killings in the country: “Something really needs to be done or the church is really, really going to be destroyed. The government isn’t coming to our aid” He prayed for peace during next year’s election, asking God to intervene so that the country will elect a leader who will be compassionate and promote equity, justice and righteousness.
By: Anne Clement Bassey