Former head of state, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar has decried the economic effect of herdsmen and farmers clashes, saying Nigeria has lost $13.7 billion within one year.
He stated this at a one-day forum on farmer-herder relations in Nigeria in Minna, Niger State, yesterday.
He said the losses were recorded in the clashes in Benue, Kaduna, Plateau and Nasarawa states.
According to him, within the same period, statistics has shown that 2,500 people were killed while 62,000 were displaced in Kaduna, Benue and Plateau states.
“With respect to economic impact, the federal government loses $13.7 billion annually as a result of farmer/herder conflicts in Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Plateau states. Averagely, these four states lost up to half (47%) of their internally generated revenue”, Abdulsalami declared.
“The hidden cause of these conflicts on every sphere of our national life is enormous. it has been estimated that about 2500 persons were killed nationwide in 2016,”
He said it had become imperative for governments at all level to put in place appropriate policies and responses against farmers/herders clashes across the country to forestall recurrences of such clashes in future.
General Abdulsalami said the recent crises in Plateau, Benue and other states which resulted in losses of lives, property, displacement of persons and families, untold hardships to communities and individuals affected, were, no doubt, threatening the fragile peace of the nation.
He recalled that farmers and herders had beneficial and cordial relationship with minimal conflict in the past and also had mechanisms of resolving their misunderstandings without resolving to destructive acts of violence against one another, but regretted that “there is a breakdown of communal trust,conflict resolution mechanisms and these conflicts have become deadly.”
The one day even packaged by a Non Govermental Organisation He therefore Search for Common Ground SCG in collaboration with the General Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development Studies, the Former Nigeria said has brought optimism that for sustainable solutions to farmers/herders clashes in the country.
Project analyst Search for Common Ground, Bukola Adeleye in an address traced the causes of farmers/herders clashes to struggle for control of arable land and water in the affected areas saying that the conflicts had little or no relationship with religion and ethnicity.