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NISER tasks FG on farmers-herders conflicts


The frame of a burnt out motorcycle is seen in a house burned down by Fulani herdsman in the Ganaropp village in the Barikin Ladi area near Jos on June 27, 2018. Plateau State in Nigeria has seen days of violence where more than 200 people have been killed in clashes between Berom farmers and Fulani herders, Nigeria is facing an escalation in clashes between farmers and Fulani herders over land use and resources that is deepening along religious and ethnic lines. STEFAN HEUNIS / AFP

In a bid to find lasting solution to farmers-herdsmen conflicts, the Federal Government has been told to strengthen security arrangements for herders and farming communities, especially in the north central zone.

This is part of the recommendations of the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Ibadan, Oyo State, at its monthly seminar series, which focused on “Strategies for Resolving Conflicts Between Farmers and Herders in Nigeria,” which identified grazing land and water scarcity, damage to crops and plants, obstruction of traditional migration routes, and livestock thefts, as factors responsible for incessant conflicts.

A research fellow from the Department, Dr. Hakeem Olatunji Tijani, who presented the seminar, anchored most of the conflicts on increasing population, climate change, environmental degradation and changing patterns of resource use and supply. He lamented that these have continued to have serious implications for the political economy “hence the urgent need for government to act proactively to avoid more catastrophic outcomes.”He expressed concern that strategies at curbing the perennial conflicts between farmers and herdsmen had focused more on manifestations rather than the root causes of the conflicts.

Tijani therefore recommended effective stakeholders’ engagement and interaction through dialogue, implementation of relevant policies to address incessant problem of acute water shortage and drought as some of strategies capable of resolving the conflict.”

As part of measures to boost security, he urged government and security agencies to sustain and improve on early warning systems, maintain operational readiness of rural-based police and other security units, and encourage communications and collaboration with local authorities.

He canvassed the establishment of grazing reserves in consenting states in order to minimise contacts and friction, noting however that this should be temporary measure until when ranches will be established for the animals.

The gathering also advised government to encourage the establishment of cattle ranches all over the country using the instrumentality of public private partnership (PPP) arrangement, noting that the establishment of ranches holds promise for sustainable peace between the farming communities and the pastoralists.

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