The ICG also noted that the farmer-herder conflict has become Nigeria’s gravest security challenge, now claiming far more lives than the Boko Haram. Over 1,300 Nigerians have been killed in the conflict between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria in just seven months, the International Crisis Group, ICG, says.The group in a recent report released on Thursday, July 26, 2018, pointed out that violence between Nigerian herders and farmers has escalated, killing more than 1,300 people since January 2018. According to ICG, the conflict has evolved from spontaneous reactions to provocations and now to deadlier planned attacks, particularly in Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Nasarawa and Taraba states.Herdsmen-Farmers Conflict now deadlier than Boko HaramThe ICG stressed that the conflict which used to be spontaneous attacks have become a premeditated attack claiming several lives more than Boko Haram claimed in seven months.ICG said the conflict has evolved from spontaneous reactions to provocations and now to deadlier planned attacks, particularly in Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Nasarawa and Taraba states.”What were once spontaneous attacks have become premeditated scorched-earth campaigns in which marauders often take villages by surprise at night. “Now claiming about six times more civilian lives than the Boko Haram insurgency, the conflict poses a grave threat to the country’s stability and unity, and it could affect the 2019 general elections. “The farmer-herder conflict has become Nigeria’s gravest security challenge, now claiming far more lives than the Boko Haram insurgency. It has displaced hundreds of thousands and sharpened ethnic, regional and religious polarisation. It threatens to become even deadlier and could affect forthcoming elections and undermine national stability,” ICG stated.ALSO READ: Miyetti Allah says 5,000 herdsmen have been killed in 10 yearsThis is what ignited premeditated attacksAccording to the ICG, some factors have been discovered to be the reasons behind the aggravated but age-long conflict.”Three factors have aggravated this decades-long conflict arising from environmental degradation in the far north and encroachment upon grazing grounds in the Middle Belt: militia attacks; the poor government response to distress calls and failure to punish past perpetrators; and new laws banning open grazing in Benue and Taraba states,” ICG pointed out.ICG further wrote, “The conflict’s roots lie in climate-induced degradation of pasture and increasing violence in the country’s far north, which have forced herders south; the expansion of farms and settlements that swallow up grazing reserves and block traditional migration routes; and the damage to farmers’ crops wrought by herders’ indiscriminate grazing.”Herdsmen-Farmers conflict poses security challengeThe ICG also noted that the farmer-herder conflict has become Nigeria’s gravest security challenge, now claiming far more lives than the Boko Haram insurgency. The group also stated that the conflict has displaced hundreds of thousands and sharpened ethnic, regional and religious polarisation. The conflict, the group also said, is threatening to become even deadlier and could affect forthcoming elections and undermine national stability.Miyetti Allah says 5,000 herdsmen have been killed in 10 yearsThe Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore has claimed that an estimated 5,000 cattle herders have been killed in several states in Nigeria in an ongoing crisis of conflicts between nomadic herders and local farming communities.While speaking during an interview with Nigerian Tribune, Kautal Hore’s Secretary-General, Saleh Alhassan, lamented that enough has not been reported about the murder of herdsmen. According to him, cattle herders have been brutally killed, with at least two million cows lost without any consequences for the perpetrators.He said, “We have lost estimated two million cows since this crisis started in Plateau and Taraba states, in Southern Kaduna and in parts of Kogi and Niger states. We have equally been victims in Zamfara and a few other states in the North.”For instance, 800 of our people were killed by a militia group in Mambilla Plateau. We also suffered the killing of 97 of our people by Bachama militias in Numan, Adamawa State. In Southern Kaduna, to be specific, in Kajuru, we lost 103 members.”So far, 5,000 of our people have lost their lives in the last 10 years, since this crisis erupted. The most painful thing is that nobody has been put on trial. Nobody has been charged.”In Southern Kaduna, for instance, in 2011, 400 of our people were murdered and nothing was done to the people who perpetrated this dastardly act. Today, the killers are walking on the streets as free citizens. Nobody was arrested or prosecuted.”ALSO READ: How FG wants to put a permanent end to herders-farmers crisis ICG profers solution to Hersdmen-Farmers conflictThe ICG says the Federal Government of Nigeria has taken welcome but insufficient steps to halt the killings and increased deaths as a result of the herdsmen and farmers conflict.Proffering possible solutions to the current herdsmen-farmers conflict posing security challenge to the Nigerian government, ICG stressed the need for attackers to be prosecuted while protecting both farmers and herdsmen.”The federal government should better protect both herders and farmers, prosecute attackers, and carry out its National Livestock Transformation Plan. State governments should roll out open grazing bans in phases. Communal leaders should curb inflammatory rhetoric and encourage compromise. International partners should advocate for accountability and support livestock sector reform.”The federal government’s immediate priorities should be to deploy more security units to vulnerable areas; prosecute perpetrators of violence; disarm ethnic militias and local vigilantes; and begin executing long-term plans for comprehensive livestock sector reform. The Benue state government should freeze enforcement of its law banning open grazing, review that law’s provisions and encourage a phased transition to ranching.