Stakeholders at a conference yesterday demanded the setting up of a Federal Peace and Conflict Resolution Commission to address the prevalent farmers-herders’ crisis in the country.
They also urged the government to strengthen security arrangements to make both farmers and herders feel safe.
The stakeholders, however, said the proposal for grazing reserves should be embraced, beginning with consenting states.
The recommendations of the stakeholders are contained in a communiqué after a two-day conference organised by The Nation Newspapers and TV Continental (TVC) News in Abuja.
The session was attended by representatives of farmers’ groups, cattle breeders and herders, frontline traditional rulers, state governments, security agencies, members of the diplomatic community as well as notable leaders of thought.
The communiqué, which was read by Dr. Kayode Samuel, said: “Two of Nigeria’s leading mass media organisations, The Nation Newspapers and TV Continental (TVC) News jointly convened a two-day national summit on conflict resolution at the Air Force Conference Centre, Abuja on October 8 and 9, 2018.
“The Summit was conceived as an open forum to promote frank exchange of ideas on burning issues of national and international concern, with particular regard to the herdsmen-farmers’ clashes across the country centred on a view to seeking workable and enduring solutions.
“Government should set up a Federal Peace and Conflict Resolution Commission.
“There is need to strengthen security arrangements to make both farmers and herders feel safe as well as isolate the criminal elements.
“There is need also to resuscitate and massively fund the various river basin authorities especially in the North to enable growth of grass for animal grazing and to minimise nomadic mobility across the country.
“Conflict mediation and peace building mechanisms must be put in place and avenues for constant dialogue between farmers and herders should be promoted.
“There is need to embrace ‘Climate Smart Agriculture’ that sustains both crop farming and animal breeding which could provide a way out of the present crisis.
“The proposal for grazing reserves should be embraced, beginning with consenting states while the old bonds that encouraged cooperation need to be built upon.
“A comprehensive approach to addressing the environmental factors that drive herders southwards must be explored,” the stakeholders said.
According to the communiqué, three discussants, Professor Biodun Adeloye, Professor N.A. Gworgwor and Dr. Eustace Iyayi also offered their perspectives.
The communiqué added: “They spoke of the need to modify nomadism to the advantage of the practitioners and counseled that the nomad needs to combine tilling with nomadism by producing crops like maize on which to nurture their herd.
“Governments should draw up implementation timelines for whatever suggestions are proffered for a more harmonious farmers-herders’ relationship.
“Laws to protect the environment should also be enacted and effectively implemented for the benefit of all stakeholders.
“Massive education that emphasizes the value of combining crop farming with animal husbandry should be established.”