By Omolola Pedro
The Vice President, Islamic Development Bank, Mansur Muhtar, has revealed that between 2016 till date, over 4,000 people have lost their lives due to the herder-farmer crisis.
Muthar made this known in Abuja at the National Conference on Livestock Reforms and Mitigation of Associated Conflicts in Nigeria, organised by the Kano State Government.
According to him, apart from numerous loss of lives, the crisis had also increased the number of internally-displaced persons, which had led to a decrease in agricultural productivity and exacerbating food insecurity, among others.
He identified the struggle for land, pasture and water, between farmers and herders as the primary cause of the conflicts, adding that legal and legislative inconsistencies, climate change, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocol on free movement of persons and goods, have also contributed to the lingering crisis.
Muthar, therefore, called on state governments to express a higher level of commitment to the resolution of the crisis, which could be achieved through peaceful dialogue at the community levels to build trust and develop amicable ways of resolving the conflicts.
Also speaking at the event, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, warned that Nigerians are currently undergoing hardship for many are hungry and angry, as a result of government policies that have not alleviated their suffering.
The Sultan advocated that the government needs to work to reduce tension in the country. Addressing the incessant herder-farmer clashes in the country, he blamed the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.
He argued that farmer-herder clashes were basically economic issues, and not tribal or religious crisis. Abubakar advised that dialogue among critical stakeholders in the resolution of the crisis should be organised on time.
The Sultan of Sokoto further called for the implementation of previous reports on the resolution of the herder-farmer crisis. The Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, said government institutions had failed at addressing farmer-herder clashes.
He maintained that the controversial Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) Settlement Policy remains the only feasible option for resolving the crisis. Ganduje also called for a review of the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and Goods, to curtail the proliferation of arms and ammunition in West Africa.
At the occasion, the Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science, Prof. Eustace Iyayi, said the livestock industry in Nigeria possesses potentials worth N33trillion, if well maximised.