Stakeholders yesterday proffered solutions to the lingering herders-farmers clashes in the country.
The stakeholders, including experts, spoke at a National Summit on Conflict Resolution organised by Vintage Press Limited, publishers of The Nation and TV Continental, with the theme: “Towards an enduring peace.”
The summit, which took place at the Nigerian Air Force Conference Centre, Abuja, was aimed at creating a platform to find lasting solutions to the seemingly intractable herders-farmers clashes in the country.
The Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Fulani Socio-Cultural Association, in their presentation, said the search for enduring peace between farmers and herders in Nigeria is fundamental to the attainment of food security, development, progress and the achievements of the Sustainable Developments Goals.
“For enduring peace to reign in the rural communities, there are short, medium and long term which include a review of the Land Use Act, to accommodate the interest of all land resources users.
“Halting of aerial bombardments of pastoralists communities in Zamfara, by the Nigerian Army in the name of targeting bandits but rather adopt critical intelligence to target the real bandits and criminal elements masquerading as herders.
“Acceleration of the establishment and development of Grazing reserves by government as an intermediary strategy for the eventual modernisation of the livestock sector.
“The suspension of recent anti-grazing laws enacted by some states which they said have become “recipe for conflicts,” and “the Immediate release from detention of hundreds of pastoralists languishing in jails without trials particularly those arrested in Benue on pretext of violating anti-grazing laws,” the association said.
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It also said perpetrators of conflicts should be prosecuted to serve as deterrence to others and that support should be given for community based conflict resolution mechanisms through communications, campaigns, public enlightenment for peaceful co-existence.
Livestock tracking, using GPS technology, should also be deployed, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore said.
The association’s National Secretary, Saleh Alhassan, who made the presentation also added: “It is, however, sad that the ranging conflicts between herders and sedentary farmers, in recent years, is making peace elusive between these two important economic groups.
“Although these conflicts are not new phenomenon, as revealed by previous studies of herder /farmer conflicts in Nigeria, conceptualising the conflicts, as conflicts, over the control resources such as water and grazing lands between competing groups situate the emphasis on distribution and, therefore, allows for essential insights into the socio-political economy of the land conflicts that have resulted in preventable deaths and anguish.
“The ongoing resource conflicts are not just a contingent phenomenon but are to be viewed against the background of a history of active alienation, mass displacements, cultural and physical aggression and political marginalisation of pastoralist population in the country. Today, Nigerian agricultural policies and some state legislations on land are heavily biased towards sedentary groups and agriculture; in continuity with the tradition which began under the colonial period administration and sustained through the postcolonial era, culminating with the promulgation of the Land use Act of 1978, which made access to land difficult.”
Earlier, while setting the tune for the discourse, former commissioner of Information and Strategy in Lagos State, Dele Alake, in his opening remarks, said Nigeria is at a critical juncture that is in contrast to the country of peace and harmony envisioned by its founding fathers.
He added that Nigeria is uniquely blessed with abundant natural resources and “has what it takes to be at the top. In recent times, we have been challenged and confronted by all manners of threat to,our political stability. We won’t sit and watch till the apocalypse.”