West African Union Court Orders Nigerian Government to Investigate 2016 Killings in Benue

03/08/2019 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a union of west African states that give freed trade and open borders and security to its members, has ordered the Nigerian Government to investigate the 2016 killings in Agatu. During this series of attacks, it is estimated that 500 people were killed. The attacks were conducted by Fulani militants who are believed to have been supported by helicopters.

12 clerics from Nigeria brought the suit to ECOWAS in the hopes that they would be able to get compensation, protection and justice from the government of Nigeria. Since the attacks, no one has been arrested and the government has not helped to rebuild these communities. This has caused many people to criticize the Nigerian government for being biased against Christians.

In the ruling, released on February 26, ECOWAS stated that it did not believe that the violence in Benue state was communal clashes between farmers and herders. The Court also stated that they did believe it to be armed Fulani Herdsmen who were attacking and killing communities in Benue. This is a big change in international coverage of the Middle Belt conflicts, which have long stated that these are just communal clashes and that the Fulani were not responsible. Hopefully, this ruling forces the Nigerian government to protects it citizens and help them rebuild their communities.

For interviews with Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org

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