October 11, 2020

FARMERS-HERDERS CRISIS: Arms from US, Israel, 19 others flood Nigeria —Report

Armed herdsmen

Armed herdsmen

By Tunde Oso

Arms and ammunition from at least 21 different nations, including the United States, Israel, Iran and 18 other countries are used in the farmer-herder crisis in Nigeria, a report by SB Morgan (SBM) Intelligence says.

The report, according to TheCable, entitled, ‘Report on small arms, mass atrocities and migration in Nigeria’, was funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

Using secondary sources of data including newspapers and research papers, it examined the movement of arms and its relationship with mass atrocities as well as migration within Nigeria.

Findings from the report revealed that proliferation of small arms in southern and northern Nigeria is responsible for the mass atrocities in the different parts of the country.

In the southern region, it said instances of such atrocities “include communal clashes, cultism, kidnappings, ethnic and religious clashes as well as militancy in the Niger Delta”.

“Southern Nigeria has established local arms manufacturing sector and there is also significant importation/smuggling from international sources,” it said.

The report said nations in East Europe and Asia “are the major sources of illegal arms in southern Nigeria”.

On northern Nigeria, the report identified the rise in small arms, mass unemployment as well as corruption as the cause of the high rate of criminality and violence in the region.

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“Local manufactured arms, which are normally fabricated in small-scale factories, without legal permits, contribute to a large percentage of arms in circulation in northern Nigeria (especially in north central Nigeria,” it said.

It said in Benue and Plateau states “locally made weapons are estimated to be used in over 50% of crimes committed”.

The report revealed that Nigeria’s porous borders with neighbouring countries like Chad and Niger Republic facilitate the sourcing of weapons externally in the northern region.

“Ammunition from at least 21 different nations have been used in the herder versus farmer conflicts in north central Nigeria (some of these nations include Israel, Poland, Brazil, Iran, USA, Czech Republic, Algeria and Egypt,” it said.

The report added that the mass atrocities have led to rise in the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the country.