The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, has expressed deeply concern over the resurgence of violence that took the lives of 23 people in an attack on commuters in Nigeria’s hilly Jos, Plateau state, on Saturday 14th August 2021.
It said that the attack set the tempo for identity-related unrests in the
Although the state government has imposed a 24-hour curfew to restore normalcy, the latest Jos crisis is a clear testament to severe identity-related conflicts within this state, said Musa Awalu, executive secretary of the CISLAC.
“From farmer-herder crisis to ethnoreligious wars and indigene-settler dichotomy, the state is a hill of identity-based violence. Collated data from the Nextier SPD Violent Conflict Database shows that about 68 people have been killed in 17 incidents in the first half of 2021. The state periodically suffers from deep-seated violent identity and communal clashes.
CISLAC, the Nigerian chapter of Transparency International, entirely condemns these
unwarranted and senseless killings in Jos as well as any other violent act across every part of Nigeria. This killing is one too many and must be investigated and perpetrators need to be brought to justice. Every Jos crisis is a reminder of unresolved violent identity-based conflicts that exist in the state. It is also a call to action, dialogue, and proactive peacebuilding measures that will blur ethnic sentiments, end group suspicion and set the tempo of durable
peace.” Musa said.
On the government side, it indicates reactive security efforts that have come short of
preventing attacks and reprisals, he said urging for increased intervention efforts to be centred on community-led approach to building peace and efficient securitisation of crisis-prone locations.
“CISLAC/Transparency International Nigeria urges the Nigerian Government to cultivate the will to disincentivise identity crisis in the state. Highly regarded as a miniature Nigeria with about 50 ethnic groups, group-based feuds are likely and very frequent to happen. An article, Plateau: Where Peace is Murdered, argues that the politicisation of identity markers such as ethnicity and religion adds to the state’s deep-rooted violence. The publication further posits that identity has been used to launch political ambitions, which sow seeds of division and fierce group competition and discord.
Such aggression has moved beyond the political
space to literally all aspects of the civilian life; inter-group squabbles have turned violent, and reprisal attacks are always almost inevitable. The weekend mayhem and revenge attacks that followed are evidence of this., he said.
Musa called for increased efforts towards promoting justice and peacebuilding in communities will curtail the growing proclivity towards violence. Intervention focus in deeply divided societies such as Plateau state should increase peace education at the grassroots level.
“To ensure sustainability and local ownership, there is a need to create change champions in communities where peace. intertwined with strong education efforts is implemented. The imperative of peace education and peace ambassadors is to promote dialogues at the community level and maintain or even
reinstall a sustainable path of peace.
“Government’s approach to peace is very much the key in deeply divided societies.
Governance measures must be seen as unbiased and not aligned to any group. This will promote public trust and come in handy in implementing conflict resolution strategies to forestall peace among groups. Additionally, community-based dialogue platforms are essential in triggering locally-led peaceful approaches to conflict and contextualising inherent conflict types and people-led solutions. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), employing dialogue is essential for achieving peace, fostering mutual understanding, self-expression, and reconciliation.” he added.