By Omolola Pedro
The Federal Government has been called upon to consider the establishment of the “Ministry of Livestock Resources”, as it is the practice in many other West African countries, in a bid to bring an end to the reoccurring farmer-herder crisis. This is, according to the communiqué issued following the conclusion of its National Conference on Livestock Reforms and Mitigation of Associated Conflicts, which took place at the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Conference Centre, Abuja, FarmingFarmersFarms reports.
The conference had in attendance, scholars, professionals, captains of industry and practitioners in the fields of agricultural development, value chain specialists and researchers in diverse areas of animal production. The conference made a call on the government to improve and strengthen the security architecture of the country in order to prevent violent crimes like cattle rustling, village raids, kidnappings for ransom, and the trade in illegitimate weapons and drugs.
“There is the need to strengthen the process of litigation for more effective dispensation of justice and handling of the various cases relating to violent crimes and other perpetrators of violent conflicts. There is the need to reform the security and judicial architecture, to ensure the curtailing of farmer-herder conflicts, cattle rustling, illegal arms trade, importation and proliferation in the country. Political leaders at all levels need to refrain from politicising the issue of farmer-herder conflicts and other associated issues while pursuing inclusive processes that will strengthen unity and cooperation in the country”, the communiqué partly read.
It also urged the Federal Government to invest in transforming Nigeria’s traditional livestock production systems by creating necessary infrastructure, skills, and capacity. The communiqué, signed by the Chairman, Conference Planning Committee, Prof. Atthairu Jega, who said that it is estimated that 500 million pastoralists globally depend on livestock herding for income, wealth and survival, as well as for social safety nets. In managing the affairs of farmers and herders, the communiqué called for the strengthening of roles given to traditional leaders and community members. Additionally, it urged the government to adopt proactive early warning and early response mechanisms in order to strengthen peace-building initiatives at all levels among farmers and herders.