The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) on Thursday, November 19, in Abuja, suggested that the farmers/ herders’ conflict in Nigeria and border countries can be addressed with the National Transformation Plan (NLTP).
The Centre’s Principal Programs Officer, Yusuf Shamsudeen, said this at an Experience and Learning Conference on Farmer and Herder Conflicts in Nigeria.
The conference organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in partnership with the United State Institute of Peace (USIP), the National Transformation Plan (NLTP), and the Forum for Farmers and Herders Relations in Nigeria (FFARN) seeks to engage various stakeholders to support each other’s efforts in addressing farmer and herders conflict as well as some of the associated security challenges across Nigeria.
The conference is also expected to serve the purpose of educating Nigerians on the terms of the implementation of the NLTP and how critical stakeholders can provide support and improve on the existing plan and structures.
Yusuf, representing CDD’s Director Idayat Hassan, in a goodwill message, said the Centre is also seeking ways to closely work with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and government agencies to implement the NLTP.Yusuf said the CDD believes the NLTP is very crucial to addressing the farmer/herder conflicts across Nigeria and beyond.
He said there is a number of economic challenges confronted, like the scarcity of economic resources, water resources, and others and that adequate implementation of the NLTP will be sufficient to address most of these problems.
Yusuf said: “For instance, as CSOs, we are to provide support to the government and one of the key things which we think is quite important is for people to be aware of this because the implementation cannot be done. In the isolation of people who are the direct beneficiaries of such interventions to be totally ignorant.”
“We cannot also do that without understanding the emerging concerns to farmers’/herders’ conflict in the country. So, one of the key things is that it’s important for us to dwell more on how to bring socio-coherence among these people because they need to work together for a common aim and we cannot do that without the need to address the differences between them.” Yusuf added.
In his address, the special adviser to the president on agriculture and coordinator, NLTP, Dr. Andrew Kwasari said the essence of the meeting is to take stock of achievements and way forward in addressing conflicts in the country.Kwasari said there are security, livelihood, and relationship issues hampering the farmers’ and herders’ conflict resolutions.
“If you deal with livelihood issues, you are also dealing with security issues and when you deal with security issues you are also addressing more fundamental issues that affect the Nigeria economy,” Kwasari said.
He also noted the major thing to do is figure out what every stakeholder is doing in terms of intervention and find a common ground outside the government and CSOs to adopt.
Dr. Chris Kwaja of the Centre for Peace and Security Studies at the Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola said, so far, 19 northern governors have committed to resolving conflicts between the farmers and herders in line with the NLTP.
He said the state governments found the locations they want to work within the grazing reserves to remodel it as areas for livestock production.
Kwaja said: “Almost all the governors believe in the NLTP and they know that because it allows them to implement in line with the realities of their own situations so there is no one size that fits every state.”
He said: “Every state will prioritize what is most important in addressing and developing its state from the social-economic perspective and to maintain also cohesion in society and this is very important for us because it is a flexible policy.”
In her contribution, Dr. Dayo Kusa, a senior fellow at the CDD called for training and retraining of media practitioners in reporting issues of conflict.
She said conflict reporting is a sensitive issue and should be handled as such. Speaking on individual beliefs and dealings with parties involved, Dr. Kusa said: “Perception is everything, there is the perception that aside is favoured.”
Kusa said small arms and light weapons are weapons of mass destruction in Africa and must be nipped in the bud. “Perception goes across to trust and once we are able to get perception right, then we have trust.”
She also called on traditional rulers’ involvement in the peacebuilding process.
According to Dr. Kusa, traditional leaders have traditional methods of mediation which can be sharpened for use in resolving these farmers’ and herders’ conflicts.