Rising crime rates in Central Nigeria might be due to unresolved mental ailments caused by the prolonged farmer-herder conflicts within the region.
Victims of such violent conflicts often face a range of mental problems that in time manifest in their behavior, experts say.
Discussants on Healthwise, a live radio program on Rhythm 93.7 FM, Jos, Plateau State, Wednesday said rehabilitation of such victims as first priority is crucial to secure communities within which they reside.
Dr. Ikere Clement, the Vice Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association, Plateau State Chapter listed the most common mental ailments to include post traumatic stress disorders, anxiety and among others, panic disorders.
These he said often lead to substance abuse, rape and violence.
“They come into the society and all they know is violence – how to survive. It is no surprise therefore that vices like robbery, kidnapping and the likes are increasing in Jos today,” said the professional gynecologist on the program.
Presently, none of the thousands of internally displaced persons in the Plateau State capital has undergone any trauma healing, said another discussant, Mrs. Yilfomwul Gomsum.
Emergency Agencies and Humanitarian organizations mostly concentrate on physical needs, ignoring the psychological, said the Director Safera Global Center for Social Development, Jos.
The needed health interventions, however, cannot be achieved amid violence, said Dr. Austin Onuoha, Media Consultant, Search for Common Ground, a US. based peace international nongovernmental organization.
He said, “In a normal situation, the infrastructure for health in a developing country like Nigeria is inadequate.
“When conflict comes, the inadequate infrastructure is destroyed.
“That makes healthcare more inaccessible and even worse, when Doctors cannot work in unsafe communities.”
Peaceful coexistence according to the veteran Peace Journalist not only provides for good healthcare but other human needs.
“The money that would have been used to rebuild broken infrastructure would be used to develop other sectors like agriculture, schools and others,” Onuoha said.
All the panelists were unanimous in their call for state and non-state collaboration to end violent conflicts and their consequences on human societies.