Please find below a statement from Paul Mershak, Tearfund's Country Representative for Nigeria, based in Jos, in response to the recent violence in central Nigeria. Tearfund has been running a peacebuilding programme between settled nomadic herdsmen and farming communities in the Middle Belt of Nigeria for many years.
To interview Paul Mershak please contact Sarah Baldwin in the Tearfund Media Team on firstname.lastname@example.org. or call +44(0)7776211518.
Paul Mershak, Tearfund Country Representative for Nigeria said, 'I am horrified to hear about this most recent violence between nomadic herders and farming communities in central Nigeria over the past few days, which this time has cost 215 lives. Tearfund condemns these horrendous acts and the huge cost to human life and widespread destruction this has caused.
We have been working in the Middle Belt of Nigeria on peacebuilding, and this escalating cycle of attacks breaks our heart. In the last few years, we have brought adversaries together through peace committees and helped settlers, pastoralists and farmers come to a place of forgiveness and reconciliation. We have also worked with the youth, who have pioneered new ways to bring peace to their villages and towns, sick of a lifetime of hatred and violence, and helped create a state-level peacebuilding strategy with the Plateau State Peacebuilding Agency, backed by the Government, the first of its kind in Nigeria.
All of these efforts, and those of fellow agencies can help. But now has come the time for the Government to intensify its efforts to bring lasting peace to the Middle Belt region, to commit to a high-level and properly planned peacebuilding strategy, whilst assisting victims with the recovery of their homes and lives, regardless of their background. Now has also come the time to bring all perpetrators of violence to justice, so we can look for a brighter future for Nigeria.'
Notes to Editors:
- 215 lives have been lost in attacks, according to Governor Gbong Gwom Jos
- Tearfund's peacebuilding programme takes place in Plateua state-Jos North &Mangu LGAs, Bauchi state-Tafawa Balewa & Bogoro LGAs and Taraba state-Wukari