According to findings, 676 people were killed in various communal and boundary disputes in Nigeria between January 2018 and August 2022.
In addition, 444 houses were destroyed during the crisis period under consideration.
This is happening as security forces fight to keep bandits, militants, and other violent criminals at bay across the country.
Security experts said the development required immediate intervention to prevent it from jeopardising the 2023 general elections, and that the situation could worsen the country’s security crisis if the government did not address it on time.
According to the findings, the majority of the clashes were the result of unresolved age-old disputes, with a few others being new cases.
A breakdown, according to states, indicated that Ebonyi State recorded the highest communal clashes in the country with 131 deaths; Taraba State, 116. Benue had 92 incidents, Kogi 67, and Cross River 73.
These were the five worst-hit states within the period.
Further breakdown of the incidents showed that a total of 113 persons were killed in 2022.
In Ebonyi, 63 persons were murdered during boundary disputes/communal clashes; Kogi 27; Cross River 8; Gombe 1; Niger 4; Akwa Ibom 3; Benue 2; Taraba 4 and Enugu 1.
In 2021, 185 persons were reportedly killed and they included 40 persons in Ebonyi; Benue 48; Gombe 22; Taraba 11; Cross River 3; and Akwa Ibom 2.
Others were Abia 3; Kwara 5 ; Oyo 2 ; Osun 6; Ondo 3; Edo 1; Yobe 11; Adamawa 13 ; Niger 3; Anambra 2 ; Bauchi and Delta had five cases each.
The year 2020 recorded the least number of incidents and causalities as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. However, 27 deaths were recorded with nine killed in Benue; Abia 2; Taraba 5; Anambra 4; Ondo 2 and Delta 5.
A total of 121 persons were killed in 2019 with Kogi accounting for 30; Ebonyi 15; Taraba 23 ; Benue 21; Cross River 18; Ondo 4 ; Bayelsa 2 ; Lagos-1 and Edo 7.
In 2018, a total of 230 persons were allegedly slain with six killed in Adamawa; Delta 12 ; Kwara 2; Cross River 44; Kogi 10; Abia 10 ; Nasarawa 39 ; Ebonyi 13; Gombe 1; Taraba 73 ; Benue 12 and Niger 8.
Further breakdown revealed that within the five-year under review, Delta recorded 22 deaths; Nasarawa 39; Gombe 24; Adamawa 19; Niger 15; Abia 15; Yobe 11; Kwara 7 ;Ondo 9; Anambra 6; Bayelsa 2; Edo 8; Bauchi 5; Akwa Ibom 5; Osun 6, Enugu 1; Lagos 1 and Oyo 2.
Commenting on the sad development, the National Boundary Commission said most of the clashes involved unresolved age-long disputes over boundaries, farmland and natural resources.
The commission in a report disclosed that it was handling 86 disputes across the country.
The report provided by the NBC Director-General, Adamu Adaji, explained that the North-West zone currently has 15 interstate disputes; North-Central 15; North-East 14; South-West 14; South-South 14 and South-East 14.
On the measures adopted to manage the issues, the commission disclosed that it had established functional boundary committees in local government areas across the country; erected boundary pillars, and also embarked on enlightenment campaigns.
“The commission has also adopted a policy on equitable sharing of straddling resources between affected states, local governments, and communities as the case may be,’’ the agency stated.
Speaking further on solutions to boundary disputes and communal clashes, the NBC said, ‘’The issue of prevention of clashes is normally handled by law enforcement agencies. However, the commission has resolved many boundary disputes.
“One of the main mandates of the commission is to intervene, determine and deal with any boundary dispute that may arise among local government areas or communities with a view to settling it.
“The commission has a total of 86 interstate boundary disputes out of which a number of interventions have been carried out, depending on the merit of the issues. Over half of these boundary disputes have been resolved while others are at different stages of the intervention process.’’
The report further clarified that disputes might be due to a quest for farmlands, infrastructure, or natural resources along the boundaries.
In boundary matters that were decided by the court, the commission said it would act as directed by the judicial authorities.