Farmer-Herder Clash: Scholars, Practitioners Inputs Germane to Peace, Says Mulmi

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Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

The Country Director of Search for Common Ground, Mr. Rajendra Mulmi, has said inputs of scholars and practitioners in the field of peace building and conflict resolution should be of necessary consideration to policy makers in the country to find a lasting solution to farmers/ herders conflict.

Mulmi stated this during a recent two-day outcome mapping tagged ‘Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum’ in Abuja, organised by an international peace building and advocacy organisation, Search for Common Ground as part of its ‘Amplifying the Expertise of African Peacebuilding Practitioners and Scholars’.

He said the clashes has not only ravaged the middle belt part of Nigeria but has become a threatening issue to peace and tranquility in other parts of the country.

According to him, integration of confluence of ideas and collaboration between the academic and field practitioners in conflict resolution into policy collation, will bring credible, relevant and timely insight to the pressing challenge of resolving the herders/ farmers conflict across geo-political borders of Nigeria.

He said policy targeted at resolving the farmers/ herders’ conflict in Nigeria should be formulated based on the reality on the ground as witnessed by practitioners during their various intervention programmes and researchers through different position papers presented on issues of conflict and peaceful resolutions.

The forum, he said, brings together researchers from the academic and practitioners interested in the farmers/herders issue in Nigeria to discuss the dynamics of the conflict, its policy implications, possible solutions, and recommendations, adding that the goal is to translate existing evidence from peacebuilding.
“The project will build on existing early warning and early response system in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria and work in collaboration with selected Nigerian universities, research institutes, a think-tank, relevant government institutions, non-governmental organizations with interest in the farmer- herder conflict in Nigeria”, he said.

Mulmi, who said conflict and differences are inevitable why violence is not, stated further that Search for Common Ground partner people around the world to ignite shared solutions to destructive conflicts and work at all levels of society to build sustainable peace through three main avenues

He said: “In the tension and hostility mounting before violent conflict, we’re there helping to prevent it. In the anger and chaos of war, we’re there working to end violence. In the pain and destruction of the aftermath, we’re there bridging divides to build lasting peace”, he added.

He said the organisation adopt the tools of dialogue, mediation, and media/ advocacy in fulfilling its mandate working in 59 countries across the globe with 802 local partners and engaging 795,000 participants every year.
“Whether at the local or national level, we bring people together across dividing lines to discover and achieve shared goals. We work with those traditionally in power and those without a platform, often women and youth. Examples are mediation, training youth leaders, back channel diplomacy, and more.

“While a dialogue affects dozens, media impacts millions. We use media to stir up thoughts and discussions across a whole society about the root causes of violence and how to overcome differences.

“We provide a safe space for people to work out their conflicts at the local level. With some creative thinking, we bring divided communities, neighbours, and families together to discover their common humanity.”
In the Middle Belt, he said the organisation works in Plateau, Kaduna and Nasarawa which would be replicated in the North-East region, while it has worked in the Niger Delta states of Bayelsa, Rivers and Abia where it provides means of livelihood to ex-militants.

The Conflict Analyst for Search for Common Ground and Project Lead for the project, Mrs. Bukola Ademola-Adelehin, said the project titled ‘Amplifying the Expertise of African Peacebuilding Practitioners and Scholars’ aims to increase knowledge-sharing on farmer-herder conflict between peacebuilding scholars and practitioners with policy makers in Nigeria and globally. This is to translate evidence from peacebuilding programme and academic research into policy influence on farmer – herder conflict in Nigeria.

According to her, “Farmer-herder conflict in Nigeria has different dimensions including religious and ethnic colorations as well the livelihood that directly pitched farmers and herders against each other in stiff competition for land and water resources critical to sustaining their livelihood.

“Addressing this protracted and often violent conflict required a new way of doing things and building synergy between peacebuilding practitioners and researchers working on the issue to focus on strengthening the quality of the evidence collected through practice and increase the dissemination of practitioner knowledge towards policy institutions”, she added.