The Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD) held a two-day dialogue on the current dynamics of the farmer-herder crisis in North-West Nigeria between the 7th and 8th of June 2022. The dialogue was held at Hotel 2020, Wuye, Abuja. Specifically, the dialogue was to formulate/articulate a plan of action for the incoming administration at all levels of government - federal, state and local government as regards the strengthening of farmer-herder relations in North-West Nigeria.
*HRH Samaila Muh'd Mera, CON - Emir of Argungu, Kebbi state
*Dr. Kwasari - SA to the President on Agriculture
*Samuel Aruwan - Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security & Home Affairs
*Ms. Khadija Gambo - Permanent Commissioner, Kaduna State Peace Commission
*Dr. Chris Kwaja - Modibo Adamawa University of Technology, Yola
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Conflict Transformation Strategist/Gender Specialist, Abuja
*Dr. Bakut tswah Bakut - DG Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution (IPCR)
*Prof. Jude Momodu - Modibo Adamawa University of Technology, Yola
*Dr. James Barnett - Researcher on the CDD book project
*Barr. Yusuf Anka - Researcher on the CDD book projct
*Dr. Saeed Husaini - Research Fellow, CDD
*Dr. Aishatu Yushau Armiyau - Psychiatrist @ Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi
After intensive deliberation and exhaustive debate, the following recommendations were made for mitigating the farmer-herder crisis in North-West Nigeria.
*The herders need to be listened to more. They need to further articulate their position vis-a-vis their own perception of the farmer-herder crisis and mitigation of same.
*There should be specific sanctions for 'ethnic profiling' in the farmer-herder crisis. This should entail a proper definition and agreement on what constitutes ethnic profiling.
*There should be sanctions for impunity.
*State capacity needs to be beefed up in order to ensure that the preponderance of the use of force remains with the state and not in the hands of non-state actors. In this regard, small arms & light weapons (SALWs) need to be mopped up more effectively.
*Politics determines the economy, and by extension social relations (including farmer-herder relations). The selection process into the political space in Nigeria needs to be further interrogated in order to keep prebendalism (money politics), corruption, weaponising of religion/identity.
*The intersection between the farmer-herder crisis and banditry, kidnapping, abduction,etc needs to be further interrogated in order to sever this unholy alliance that keeps fueling the crisis.
*The influx of various ideological groups - ISWAP, ISIS, etc. needs to be focused upon. The tend to finance the crisis on a big scale while exacerbating same.
*The positive role of traditional leaders in the crisis cannot be overemphsised. A clearer mention of their mediatory/conciliatry role could be inserted into the Constitution.
*Ungoverned spaces need to be harnessed for better management, which should include effective community policing.
*Federal Government's NLTP programme needs to be expanded beyond the pilot states for more effective and efficient trickle down effect of the benefits of the concept for mitigating farmer-herder crisis.
*ADR and traditional methods of conflict transformation need to be deployed for effective management of the farmer-herder crisis.
*The Forum on Farmer-Herder Relations in Nigeria (FFARN) needs a higher level of visibility to be able to impartially intervene further in the crisis from the civil society view point.
*The gender dimensions need to be brought to the fore. Women feel the pinch of the farmer-herder crisis differently from men. For example, women become heads of households when their husbands and grown up sons are killed in the crisis. Raped women/girls, traumatised men/boys need psycho-social support which psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers,etc can provide.
*The criminal justice system, where corruption allows an innocent citizen to be substituted for a criminal in Correctional Centres needs to be properly investigated and indeed stopped in order to stop impunity in its tracks.
The recommendations above are not exhaustive. The conversation continues on the corridors, at crucial formal and informal meetings...