The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, on Tuesday, said the setting-up of a commission for pastoralism, regulated by law, could provide recipes for resolving protracted farmer-herder conflicts in the country.
According to the AGF, simply addressing the farmer-herder crisis “from purely theoretical perspectives often devoid of reality and without synchronization with the needs and aspirations of the involved stakeholders”, is not only counter-productive, “but inimical to the emergence and sustenance of a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria”.
In an address be presented as a special guest of honour at the Peace, Unity, and Security Lecture Series 2021, held at the ECOWAS auditorium in Abuja on Tuesday, Malami, argued that the Commission, when established, could facilitate in-depth analytical studies with a view to providing lasting solutions to the recurring clashes between herders and farmers.
He said: “One of the issues that dominated the media space in recent time is the issue of farmer-herders conflict. The Farmer-herder crisis is real. It, therefore, requires real-time and practically-oriented solutions.
“The better approach towards resolving the crisis over the short, medium, and long terms is to directly involve the stakeholders in the coming up with solutions at the conception, implementation, and monitoring faces.
“In this case, the community-oriented approach is likely to yield greater dividend in diffusing and eventually eliminating the menace that has retarded economic development and created wide-spread insecurity.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is not out of place for me to say that simply addressing farmer-herder crisis from purely theoretical perspectives often devoid of reality and without synchronization with the needs and aspirations of the involved stakeholders is not only counter-productive but inimical to the emergence and sustenance of a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
“It is against this backdrop that I proffer the following recommendations for the consideration of the symposium:
The setting up of regulated grazing reserves to replace the ‘Burtali’ or ‘Hurumi’ pastoral system.
“Intensive enlightenment to livestock breeders on the need for sedentary farming and transhumance agriculture as complimentary economic process to nomadic farming.
“Provision of water holes in remote grazing locations, subsidized veterinary care and mobile ambulatory services for surgeries and other medical interventions for livestock.
“Provision of infrastructure – social amenities, educational facilities and cattle markets at central locations to accelerate nomadic settlements.
“Educating communities on the need for peaceful co-existence; after all these communities have lived harmoniously side by side and even intermarried for generations.
“Community engagement fora for bridge-building in community relations.
“Nigeria is predominately agricultural in nature and by geography. To that extent, there is constant mobility of herders across the different belts of Nigeria.
“It is, perhaps, time to consider setting-up of a commission for pastoralism regulated by law.
“This might provide recipes for resolving protracted farmer-herder conflicts. The Commission may even engage in or facilitate in-depth analytical studies with a view to providing lasting solutions for the benefit of people and the country.
“Revamping of the activities of the Nomadic Education Commission with a view to complementing the efforts of government in resolving the farmer-herder clashes.
“It is in the same context that I want to reiterate the commitment of the Federal Government of Nigeria in supporting initiatives and programmes that will help resolve the lingering farmer-herder crises in the country”.
The AGF further maintained that strict adherence to the rule of law, respecting the sanctity of the fundamental human rights in all ramifications, including freedom of movement and the right of citizens to stay at whatever part of the country they choose to, are some factors that would guarantee a peaceful Nigeria.
“I want to submit that mastering and adopting conflict management strategies, interpersonal and inter-community tolerance, enhanced public relations techniques, understanding of multiculturalism and diversity, socially responsible and objective media, properly motivated and well-trained security forces with patriotic Nigerians sincerely committed to duty are a recipe for a peaceful Nigeria”, Malami added.