Herders, farmers clashes claim 6,500 lives, $14bn in 5 years

Posted by Abbas Jimoh | 25 September 2017 | 1,735 times

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•Armed herdsmen

Nigeria lost 6500 citizens, $14.7 billion and 62,000 others displaced in record 850 perennial clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the Middle Belt region of the country, a report has said.

The report, which was an ‘Assessment of Current Responses to Farmer-herder Conflict in Nigeria’ titled “Responses to Farmers and Herders Conflicts in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria”, stated that the losses were recorded between 2010 and 2015.

It was presented on Friday in Abuja by Dr Chris Kwaja, a Research Fellow of the Search for Common Ground (SFCG) Nigeria, at the forum on Farmer-Herder Relations in Nigeria (FFARN) organised by the Search for Common Ground (SFCG) Nigeria and attended by conflict resolution experts, academics and researchers from government and civil society organisations (CSOs). It was part of a “Amplifying the Expertise of African Peacebuilding Practitioners and Scholars” grant by the Carnegie Corporation.

According to Kwaja, the late Northern Premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello created 415 grazing reserves and routes in the region in 1965 but urbanisation and non-gazette of the routes remains a challenge of utilisation.

The findings, which will be presented to a marked governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, show that concerted efforts by government to resolve the crisis included the establishment of the National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE) in 1989, deployment of security agencies since 2001 and actions by traditional and community leaders among others.

He also listed ‘key enablers’ of the conflicts, including competition for same natural resources of land and water, rapid population growth, unresolved issue around cattle routes and grazing reserves, and climate changes, among others.

“However part of the fallout of these protracted crisis include militarisation of the society and proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALWs),” Kwaja said.

He therefore urged the Federal Government to work with states and local communities to change strategies and domesticate practical policies to end the clashes.

The Project Lead, Mrs Bukola Ademola-Adelehin said researches had shown that the crisis was more of livelihood and not ethno-religious and was also peculiar and dynamic in places where the crisis occurred.

According to her, the event was meant to find lasting solutions and common grounds for harmonious relationship between farmers and herders as obtained in the past and that the forum apart from Nigeria is also being held in Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. (Daily Trust)

Source: News Express

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