Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, SAN, says farmer/herder conflicts require a real-time, practically-oriented solution.
Mr Malami made this known on Tuesday at `the Peace, Unity and Security Lecture Series 2021’ in Abuja on Tuesday.
Represented by Dr. Umar Gwandu, the minister’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Mr Malami said that farmer-herder conflict would need direct involvement of all stakeholders in seeking for solutions.
“The better approach towards resolving the crisis over the short, medium and long terms is community-oriented approach.
“It is likely to yield greater dividend in diffusing and eventually eliminating the menace that has retarded economic development and created wide-spread insecurity.
“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.’’
He said that some of the ways for a peaceful Nigeria include strict adherence to the rule of law, respecting the sanctity of the fundamental human rights in all ramifications.
“This rule of law include freedom of movement and the right of citizens to stay at whatever part of the country they choose to and other provisions as contained in Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria remain fulcrum for a peaceful society.
“I want to submit that mastering and adopting conflict management strategies, interpersonal and intercommunity tolerance, enhanced public relations techniques, understanding of multi-culturism: and diversity, socially responsible and objective media, properly motivated and well-trained security forces with patriotic Nigerians sincerely committed to duty are recipe for a peaceful Nigeria’’.
He called for the establishment of regulated grazing reserves to replace the “Burtali” or “Hurumi” pastoral system and intensive enlightenment of livestock breeders on the need for sedentary farming and transhumance agriculture as complimentary economic process to nomadic farming.
Mr Malami also suggested the 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.
Other solutions include educating communities on the need for peaceful co-existence; after all these communities have lived harmoniously side by side and even intermarried for generations.
“And also community engagement for bridge-building in community relations,’’ he added.
Mr Malami said Nigeria is predominately agricultural in nature and by geography, hence, the 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 the 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 the people and the country’’.
He also called for the revamping of the activities of the Nomadic Education Commission with a view to complimenting the efforts of government in resolving the farmer-herder clashes.
He, therefore, reiterated 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.
He called for all-inclusive, holistic, practical and result-oriented submissions that would be keyed-into shaping the country’s legal framework for a prosperous nation that all will be proud to bequeath the posterity.