By Angela Atabo
The Search for Common Ground, a Civil Society Organisation, said Nigeria required a strong synergy between researchers and practitioners to curb the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
The group’s Country Director, Mr Rajendra Mulmi, said this at the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum for Researchers and Practitioners on Farmer-Herder issues in Abuja on Thursday.
Mulmi said that the farmers and herdsmen crisis in Nigeria had destroyed the middle belt part of the country and was threatening peace in other parts of the country.
He said that there had really not been a workable policy to curb the crisis because researchers and practitioners had been working in isolation without a comprehensive collaboration based on the true reality.
He said that a partnership between researchers and practitioners in the field of peace building and conflict resolution was necessary for policy makers in Nigeria to proffer lasting solutions to the conflict.
“The combination of meeting of ideas and partnership between the academic and field practitioners in conflict resolution into policy collation, will bring credible insight to resolve the conflict.
“When researchers provide evidence and practitioners draw out practical issues based on the reality on ground, then the result and data can be influenced to inform policy that will bring change.
“The more we strengthen the relationship between the two, we will be put on a stronger foot for a policy that will solve the issue and the more we integrate them, the more we benefit.’’
Mulmi advised that for the crisis to end, the policy targeted at resolving it should be formulated based on the reality on the ground as witnessed by practitioners in the field and researchers through rigorous study .
Mrs Bukola Ademola-Adelehin, Conflict Analyst for Search for Common Ground and Project said the program’s objective was to focus on new developmental ideas to end farmers -herders conflict.
Ademola-Adelehin said that the group had been working with farmers and herders in the Middle Belt to bring the conflict to end .
She said that one thing that really stood out for the organisation was that no ethnic group was just a farmer or was just a herder .
“So an identity of who a really herder is complex because there are people that are even far away from the major ethnic groups who associated with herding who engage other people to take care the cattle for them . ‘’
She said that the conflict between the two was more complex than what Nigerians really know and only an in-depth study done by practitioners and researchers would present the reality on ground.
Ademola-Adelehin said the forum was aimed at translating the evidence from peace building programme and academic research into policy influence on farmers and herdsmen crisis .
She added that the forum would be a regular one that would bring together researchers and practitioners from different ogranisations with the goal of carrying out policy influencing at different levels .
This, she said, was to help the organisation to focus on how to get more evidence by bringing synergy between what researchers were doing and what practitioners, NGOs and community based organisations were doing in response to the conflict.