I was a valued stakeholder at the Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD), United States Institute for Peace (USIP) and the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) Office - The Presidency joint conference on 'Emerging trends and dynamics in the farmer-herder crisis in Nigeria'. The parley was held on the 19th of November at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja. Two major papers were presented:
*Farmer-Herder conflicts in Northern Nigeria: Trends, dynamics & Gender perspectives by Dr. Nathaniel Danjibo &
*The implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP): The journey so far by Dr. Andrew Kwasari.
Some of the participants at the conference include:
*Ms. Idayat Hassan (represented by Shamsudeen Yusuf) - Director CDD
*Amb. Abdu Zango - Country Manager, USIP for Nigeria, the Middle East & Africa
*Dr. Andrew Kwasari - SSA to the President
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Non Resident Senior Fellow, CDD & Member of FFARN (Forum on Farmer-Herder Relations in Nigeria)
*Prof. Oshita Oshita - Member of FFARN
*Dr. Nathaniel Danjibo - University of Ibadan
*Dr. Chris Kwaja - Modibo Adama University of Technology,Yola & Member of FFARN
*Tog Gang - Search for Common Ground (SFCG)
*Adagbo Onoja - Media Practitioner
*Kadija Ardido Haruna - Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN)
*Hon Nyam Pam Dareng - Fmr. Member, House of Representatives
*Chrisantus Lapang - SFCG
The objectives of the conference were to:
*Critically review the result of field research to bring stakeholders to speed as regards new trends in the farmer-herder crisis.
*Effectively deliberate on government responses in adapting to the challenging dynamics of the conflict with special emphasis on the NLTP.
*Generate recommendations with practical strategies to be employed by state and non-state actors towards mitigating the conflict. Such suggested solutions should be strategic and measurable.
The research was in Benue, Kaduna, Katsina and Nasarawa states. Locations, not communities were the targets for Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). In Katsina state, farmer-herder crisis has declined and mutated into banditry. In Benue state, the slang is 'It is either you ranch or you ruin your animals'. The conflict has reduced with the activities of Operation Ayem Akpatuma. In Kaduna state, the conflict was intense in 2012 and has abated between 2013 and 2019 for the following reasons:
-The establishment of the Farmer-Herder Relations Committee.
-Mutation of the conflict into banditry.
-Introduction of early maturing seedlings for early harvesting.
-Presence and operations of security agencies.
In Nasarawa and Katsina states the activities of livestock guards sometimes lead to the killing of pastoralists' cows. In Zamfara state, for example, the issue of armed banditry has been complicated by the activities of illegal miners.
According to Dr. Andrew Kwasari, some progress has been made on the implementation of the NLTP. 'Even if Nigeria succeeds in implementing the NLTP, neighbouring countries need to do the same for the impact of the work done by Nigeria to be felt in the West African region'. Gender dis-aggregated data are being compiled at every turn.
The following were my observations, comments & recommendations:
-The NLTP needs continuous advocacy for it to be internalised at the grassroots level. For example, the research finding was that there was no mention of the NLTP in the communities. I suggest that the NLTP should be further 'democratised' by translating the precis version into the major Nigerian languages and indeed pidgin.
-The failed peace meetings by MACBAN in Benue and Nasarawa states should be re-visited.
-The establishment of Dangote Company in Nasarawa has enhanced security in the state, because while the Company is protecting its assets and workers, the citizens are also protected by proxy. More of such Companies should be established in areas ravaged by the farmer-herder conflict.
-Vigilante groups should be further encouraged in their Early Warning and sometimes Early Response role.
-Pastoralists and Religious leaders should reach out more to one another.
-Traditional leaders should be empowered to play their mediatory role in the farmer-herder conflict more effectively.
-Government policies that pertain to the farmer-herder conflict should be more consistent and sustainable.
-Perception is everything. Both farmers and herders should perceive that they are being equally treated by appointed Mediators, Conciliators and indeed government.
-There is a need to move from 'Project-based approaches' to the 'Sustainable development' approach.
-Small Arms & Light Weapons (SALWs) should be aggressively mopped up. They are the 'weapons of mass destruction' in Africa.
-The sponsors of those committing atrocities in the farmer-herder conflict should be unveiled, named, shamed and prosecuted!
-Conflict-sensitive reporting is essential. Reporters should be trained in the art of effective 'conflict reporting'.
-The fact that herders constitute a significant proportion of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) population should be addressed.
-Have the 'Anti-grazing Laws' really engendered peace? If not, should we be eyeing novel strategies for peace?
The conversation, according to the organisers, would continue at the state level and in various communities. We keep our fingers crossed...
*Farmer-herder conflict: 10 states ready to implement NLTP - Presidency naija247news.com
*Implementation of NLTP will address farmer-herder conflicts - CDD https;//dailytrust.com/implementation-of-nltp-will-address-farmer-herder-conflicts/
*Unsafe land: In many parts of the North-West, especially Zamfara state, bandits levy farmers before they can harvest their crops https://nextierspd.com/unsafe-lands/
*Governance, fragility & insurgency in the Sahel: A hybrid order in the making https://www.nupi.no/.../governance-fragility-insurgency-sahel.../
*Science combating desertification in the Sahel spearheaded by Barkissa Fofana, a female Microbiologist from Burkina Fasso fao.org/fao-stories/articles/en/c/1179165/
*BH blocks Lake Chad routes issafrica.org/iss-today/boko-haram.../
*World Bank plans to invest over $5b in Drylands in Africa worldbank.org https://t.co/MYVKiYYG2V?amp=1
*Insecurity & Covid-19: Threats to electoral democracy in Africa cddwestafrica.org
*People and war nextierspd.com
*Deradicalising, rehabilitating & reintegrating: Building peace in Nigeria cddwestafrica.org
*Dilemma of the demise of Chad's Idris Deby nextierspd.com
*Aid cuts, political impasse and extremism - What next for local communities? https://lnkd.in/d_De8jJ