By Augustine Erameh
In the wake of the Arab Spring that rocked the entire northern African region and led to effective leadership change in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, majority of security pundits, political analysts across African regions have raised concerns about proliferation of small and light weapons and the dire spillover effects and impacts that this may eventually have on the entire continent. Consequently, almost every part of Africa currently experiences one form of conflict or another.
In recent times the Nigeria has witnessed worrying trends with an upsurge in the activities of pasturalist (Fulani Herdsmen) which has had very dire consequences across the North Central including Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa and some parts of Kogi.
For instance, Youth Against Disaster Initiative (YADI) has confirmed that during the dry season, low feedstuff and low water in rivers would trigger an early movement of herds in search of pasture and water as early as December/January, thereby increasing the risk of conflicts between herdsmen and farmers; overgrazing and overcrowding settlements could further intensify conflicts between herdsmen and farmers in the affected areas. “Communal clash has remained a persistent phenomenon between farmers and herdsmen across the country, especially during the dry season starting from November/December every year. Various Farmers-Herdsmen clashes in the country have resulted to serious socio-economic losses to the innocent individuals in the country,” the group said.
Also, devastating floods and boundary disputes affecting many communities have intensified forced displacement of citizens in almost every part of the country.
Apart from the above, the ongoing alarming attacks on innocent citizens and facilities by Boko Haram insurgents have increased the magnitude of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), overriding demand for a collective and coordinated response to address not just displacements but also the accompanying challenges and more importantly causes of these breakdown in security in the country. Recently, this among other challenges informed the decision of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with support from Ford Foundation to organize one day civil society organisations for setting up a virtual network on Displaced Persons. The meeting aimed at establishing a network of CSOs working on IDPs related issues across the country; and developing a communication strategy for the network.
In order to achieve the underlined objectives, the event launched ‘Civil Society Organisation Network on IDPs’ with zonal coordinator across the six geo-political zones in the country including: Mr. Imran Abdulrahman, North Central; Dr. Usman Mohammed, North West; Mr. Ikekwoba Paul, South East; Mr. Usman Abubakar, North East; Mr. Imaobong Umoren, South South; and Mr. Okungunmi Cletus, South West.