Herders crisis caused by poor policy communication, says Imam Onike
Speaking during a dinner held in honour of the missioner by the British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, Ms. Harriet Thompson at her Lagos residence, the cleric said the orgy of violent farmer/herders clashes is due to lack of government’s efforts to always communicate its policies well to the stakeholders and generality of Nigerians.
He identified climate change, increased urbanisation, lack of mutual trust among the populace as other factors that could have instigated the crisis.
According to him, findings of some recent studies have confirmed environmental change as one key cause of the clashes.
He buttresses his point by recalling the crisis among farmers in Oyo North who are predominantly Muslims and Fulani herdsmen who are also mostly Muslims.
He faulted the acceptance of National Livestock Transformation policy of the government over RUGA (Rural Urban Grazing Area) by some state governors.
“Why did every governor accept the National Livestock Transformation Policy and some of them kicked against the government genuine efforts to tame the frequent clashes between farmers and herdsmen through RUGA?
“Whereas the same model of RUGA is being used in Israel called KIBBUTZ, and the Israeli people are making huge economic gains from it. If the problem is poor communication of policy, then there is the need for government to always endeavour to communicate its policies clearly, by not giving room to mischief makers to perpetrate their evil intentions,” he said.
He urged the government to activate the National Livestock Transformation Policy that all the states have supported. He suggested swift punishment for those linked to the farmers/herdsmen crises.
“Government should quickly prosecute all the criminal elements that had been arrested in connection with various farmers/herdsmen crises. This should be done after the government must have revealed their identities to Nigerians, with a view to dispel rumour countering the narrative that says the acts are perpetrated only by Muslim Fulani’s.”
While thanking the British Deputy High Commissioner, Onike assures that NASFAT is ready to partner with any international body that is ready to contribute to the success of the Nigeria project by ensuring good interfaith relations and peaceful co-existence in Nigeria.
Political Counselor, British High Commission, Dominic Williams, Political Adviser to British Deputy High Commission Lagos, Mr. Wale Adebajo, and some Muslim leaders also attended the dinner.
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