From: Lawrence Enyoghasu
A team from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Abuja, on Wednesday, visited the Sarkin Fulani of Lagos and the Chairman Council of Chiefs, South-west, Muhammadu Abubakar Bambado, over the incessant deadly clashes between suspected Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the country.
The team, which comprised Conflict Mitigation Officer, Felicia Genet, Programme Officer at the USAID, Abuja, Mukhtar Shittu, Programme Officer at the USAID, Abuja and Meghan Luckett from the Economic and Political Office at the US Consulate General Office in Lagos held a closed door meeting with the monarch at his at his palace in Surulere.
Founder and Executive Director of Strength in Diversity Development Centre (SDDC), Lagos, Nigeria Imam Shefiu Abdulkareem Majemu, who facilitated the interactive session, told the newsmen after the closed door meeting that “it was to discuss the Herdsmen/Farmers clashes in recent times with a view to seeking lasting solutions to the incessant conflicts.”
According to him, the meeting was also aimed at heralding the beginning of the effort to bring both parties to the dialogue table with its proposed Fulani/Farmers Dialogue Forum that would be held in July this year
In his welcome address earlier, the host, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Bambado expressed optimism that such intervention from bodies like the USAID would go a long way in turning the crises into opportunities not only for the two parties involved but to the whole nation at large.
He thanked the team for “reaching out to us in our collective search for a lasting solution to the perennial clash between herdsmen and farmers witnessed in different parts of the country” adding that, “today’s event, which can best be described as a follow-up and an enlarged version of the last meeting we had with the representative of the American Consulate that visited early this year, is yet another opportunity to renew our contacts and discuss further from where we stopped the last time we met.”
Bambado admitted that, “without mincing words, clashes between Fulani Herdsmen and farmers have reached a frightening level which calls for concerted efforts from all stake holders – the three tiers of government – Federal, State and Local government authority; the private sector – banks, insurance companies and business community; cattle owners and of course the herdsmen.”
The concerned monarch therefore added that, “our international friends are also welcomed on board as partners in our search for an enduring solution to the perennial problems occasioned by these clashes.”
Our international friends are also welcomed on board as partners in our search for an enduring solution to the perennial problems occasioned by these clashes.
He concluded by enumerating some problems staring the nation in the face thus: Rich foraging stock in the North Eastern region of Nigeria is no longer available for use because of the Boko Haram crisis.: The impact has been a downward, southwards movement by nomadic Fulani herdsmen as they move in search of water and foraging resources for their cows: The incessant clashes have drastically effected food security and have caused losses in billions: States affected by Herdsmen-Farmers conflicts lost an average of 47% of taxes (Internally Generated Revenue) during these attacks : AndOther economic impacts include: impeding trade practices, reduction in crop yield, displacement of farmers, loss of lives and properties, loss of products in storage and destruction of public and private buildings.
While admitting that the picture is indeed very bad, Bambado asserted that, “no matter how much we can do by ourselves, whether it be by interactive meeting, it is never enough, so, in the spirit of true cooperation, the Association of Fulani Chiefs (South West Nigeria) is willing to network and join in an action-oriented effort to take a holistic look at the herdsmen-farmers crises with a view to solving the problems that beset the land and general development in Nigeria once and for all.”
He fervently wished that “we achieve success in our deliberations which would yield very useful impact on the people and economy of the country.”