On 3 May, WILPF Nigeria gathered 13 civil society organisations and supporters to protest against a recent massacre carried out by armed Fulani herdsmen in Enugu State in the southeast part of Nigeria. The massacre, which is part of an increased number of deadly attacks by Fulani herdsmen, happened on 25 April and claimed several lives and forced people to flee their homes.
“We strongly condemn the killings, rape, abductions and maiming of our people in vulnerable communities. We strongly condemn security agencies who despite early signs failed the law abiding citizens they were supposed to protect,” said Joy Onyesoh, President of WILPF Nigeria and the initiator of the demonstration in a joint statement to the media.
The demonstrators also called for humanitarian aid to victims and demanded “accountability and zero tolerance for unlawful extra-judicial killings and wanton destruction of properties in accordance with Nigeria’s constitution and obligations under international human rights laws.”
Enugu’s governor responded to the demonstrators and promised, among other things, that a displacement camp would be organised for those who abandoned their homes at the wake of the invasion.
The recent increases in violence by Fulani herdsmen is linked to increased arms proliferation, climate change and impacts on agriculture, state responsibility and impunity. But the issue is not new. Disagreements over the use of essential resources such as farmland and water between farmers and Fulani herdsmen have killed thousands of people over the past two decades.
On 28 April, in a direct response to the massacre, WILPF Nigeria held a meeting where they tried to find solutions to the increased attacks by herdsmen on communities. They also visited the affected community, spoke with survivors and victims and offered assistance.