Herdsmen/farmers’ crisis, UN to intervene

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Herdsmen and farmers clash
Herdsmen and farmers clash

By Ericjames Ochigbo

The United Nations has concluded plans to intervene in the incessant crisis between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) arm of the World body said that arrangements has been made to address the crisis so as to increase food production in Nigeria.

FAO’s Country Representative in Nigeria, Mr Tall NournMacki made the planof the UN known at a workshop on the validation of studies conducted on conflict between farmers and herdsmen and management of grazing reserves.

The workshop also provided stakeholders with a forum to reviewed the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the responsible Governance of the Tenure of land, fisheries and forests (VGGT).

NournMacki said while there were growing competition for the use of land and other natural resources, millions of household in Nigeria and elsewhere in African still depended on agricultural land for their livelihood.

Represented by the FAO Regional Livestock Officer, Mr Bernanu Bedane, NournMacki said many Nigerians do not have peaceful enjoyment of land resources and that conflict does not aid national growth and economic development.

He said it was important to put in place effective, affordable, accessible and transparent dispute and conflict resolution mechanisms in the interest of peace and national development.

“We may all be aware of the inter-communal tensions that are associated with conflicts between farmers and herdsmen concerning grazing reserves and stock routes.

“Effort has been made to undertake a study to identify the root cause of such conflicts and create a common foundation for policy dialogue and conflict mediation around such which may be applicable in different parts of Nigeria.

“This workshop is expected to ensure that the recommendations of these reports fall in line with applicable land governance regulations in Nigeria as well as compliant with VGGT implementation principles,” he said

The country rep said efforts at poverty eradication would be a mirage where deserving people are disenfranchised because of conflict.

NournMacki said many families have been further impoverished by other conflict situations in the country.

He said that at this period of change, Nigeria needed the collaboration of all sectors and stakeholders to ensure the desired national success.

He said participants at the workshop were nominated on the strength of knowledge and expertise in land governance.

According to him, the participation of the stakeholders will ensure objective and informed discussions and the recommendation of implementable solutions.

He said the outcome of the workshop would significantly contribute to on-going debates on governance of pastoral lands at both Federal and State level.

While declaring the workshop open, the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola said the outcome of the workshop would aid government resolve the crisis in no distant time.

Represented by the Director, Land and Housing, Mr Olurotimi Onabanjo, Fashola said the Federal Government participated in the negotiations, constitutional meetings, drafting and endorsement of the VGGT.

He said it was therefore, imperative to review the implementation at interval at both state and federal level.

The minister expressed confidence in the calibre of participants to achieve the desired goals of the workshop.

Also speaking, the National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Mr Ike Ubaka said he was delighted as issues concerning farmers and food security was being discussed.

He expressed the gratitude of farmers to FAO for their efforts to support farmers to ensure sustainable food production.

According to Ubaka, farmers and herdsmen are of one family and have been existing for many years in peace.

The president said conflicts between farmers and herdsmen were as a result of scarce land resources and it was being hijacked by political and social interests.

Ubaka said efforts were on going to recover more arable land from dessert encroachment in the North to reduce movement of cattle. (NAN)

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