Farmers-Herders Clash: Regulated Grazing Zones Still the Way Out, Says Malami

Abubakar Malami
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN),

•Recommends constant engagement of stakeholders, revamping of nomadic education commission, others

Tobi Soniyi in Lagos and Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), yesterday, insisted that if the country truly desired an end to the protracted clashes between farmers and herders in some parts of the country, then, it must embrace a regulated grazing location system.

The minister, who listed a number of practical measures that could be taken, said if those suggestions were implemented to the letters, they would help significantly in resolving the constant farmer/herder’s conflicts that are prevalent in many parts the country.

Apart from regulating the grazing locations, some of the other measures he listed, included the need to always engage with critical stakeholders as well as revamp the Nomadic Education Commission, amongst others.

Malami, who spoke on Saturday at the AB Dikko memorial symposium in Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State, said farmer/herder’s crisis was real and therefore required real-time and practical solutions.

In a statement by his Media Aide, Dr. Umar Gwandu, the minister said, “The better approach towards resolving the crisis over the short, medium and long terms is to directly involve the stakeholders in coming up with solutions at the conception, implementation and monitoring phases.”

According to the Minister, community-oriented approach was likely to yield greater dividends “in defusing and eventually eliminating the menace that has retarded economic development and created wide-spread insecurity”.

He said addressing farmer/herder’s crisis from purely theoretical perspectives, often devoid of reality and without synchronisation with the needs and aspirations of the involved stakeholders, was not only counterproductive, but also inimical to the emergence and sustenance of a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.

The Minister, therefore, advocated the setting-up of regulated grazing reserves to replace the “Burtali” or “Hurumi” pastoral system and intensive enlightenment to livestock breeders on the need for sedentary farming and transhumance agriculture as complementary economic process to nomadic farming.

He said such things as the provision of water holes in remote grazing locations, subsidised veterinary care and mobile ambulatory services for surgeries and other medical interventions for livestock would be of great help.

Emphasising the need for providing social amenities, educational facilities and cattle markets at central locations to accelerate nomadic settlements, Malami said educating communities on the need for peaceful co-existence and community engagement fora for bridge building in community relations were of utmost importance.

According to the Minister, revamping of the activities of the Nomadic Education Commission with a view to complementing the efforts of government was essential in resolving the farmer/herder’s clashes.

In 2018, the Amnesty International said more than 3,600 people were killed in clashes between farmers and herders in Nigeria since 2016.

The international human rights organisation also claimed that more than 2,000 were killed in 2018 alone, while the bloodshed had made thousands of other people homeless.

It noted that of the 310 attacks recorded between January 2016 and October 2018, 57 per cent were in 2018 and were most frequent in Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Taraba and Plateau States.