A decades long battle over territory between herders and farmers in Central Nigeria has escalated exponentially with more than 1,000 deaths since January 2018. Growing animosity between ethnic groups coupled with lack of security has fomented this increase in violence in recent years. Inaccurate and bias reporting by local media has created a public frenzy against the predominantly Muslim Fulani herders. This media fervor encourages people to call the crisis a religious war against the mainly Christian farmers and to politicize the crisis ahead of next year’s elections.
Despite the divisive chaos engulfing the Middle Belt, a small group of multi-ethnic men and women, including those from the clashing Fulani and Berom (largely Christian) tribes have joined together to form the ‘Vigilante Group of Nigeria’. Together they are intermediaries for all victims—no matter their creed—as trust between different ethnic groups and security forces is non-existent.