Friday 27 September 2019


In the last two decades, many of the conflicts in Africa are as a result of disagreement about the relationship of citizens with the extant natural resources in their clime. Some examples are the Niger Delta crisis over crude oil/environmental pollution; the Farmer-Herder crisis about fodder/water, climate change and the use of land by both farmers and herders. Indeed, these conflicts have regional, continental and international dimensions; etc. However, not much attention has been paid to the germane issue for mediating these conflicts with a view to transforming them into more manageable forms in order to ensure continued peaceful coexistence.

Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa @ the West Africa Network for Peace-building (WANEP) & African Peace-building Network (APN) workshop on 'Mediating Natural Resource Conflicts in Africa: Connecting Practice to Research & Policy'.

There was a pot potpourri of academics/researchers, practitioners and policy makers at the workshop:

*Dr. Cyril Obi - Programme Director, APN
*Dr. Emeka Eze - Executive Director, WANEP
*Ms. Bridget Osakwe - National Coordinator, WANEP Nigeria
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Conflict Transformation Expert & Member, Forum on Farmer-Herder Relations in Nigeria - FFARN
*Dr. Nathaniel Danjibo - IPSS, University of Ibadan
*Umar Ahmed - Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto
*Godfrey Maringira - University of Western Cape, South Africa
*Dr. Onyinye Oyindo - University of Port Harcourt
*Prof. Felix Asogwa - Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT)
*Jacinta Nwaka - Dept. of History, University of Benin
*Nathaniel Awuapila - CORAFID, Nigeria
*Ebenezer Asiedu - ECOWAS MFD
*Abubakari Ahmed - UDS, Wa, Ghana

After exhaustive deliberations, the following observations were made:

*Natural resources are a major cause of conflicts in Africa.
*Land, the main source of the natural resources, is loaded with historical, spiritual and cultural significance that goes beyond its contemporary value in many cases.
*Local disputes over natural resources may have national, regional, continental and international dimensions.
*Natural resources are managed by complex and overlapping systems of traditional and modern institutions.
*There is price volatility for natural resources traded on the international market.
*Violent conflicts over natural resources likely to occur in countries with weak institutions.
*There is a lack of revenue transparency in the management of commodity chains for natural resources.
*Responses to natural resource conflicts are reactive rather than proactive.
*Early warning about natural resource conflict is not often accompanied by early response to same.
*Reportage of natural resource conflict discountenances sensitivity.
*There is no database of natural resource conflict mediators in Africa.

The following were recommended:

*More attention should be paid to prevention, management and mediation of natural resource conflicts in Africa.
*The spiritual, historical and cultural dimensions of land as a commodity in Africa should be taken into consideration by researchers, practitioners and policy makers in their work.
*The national, regional, continental and international dimensions of local natural resources conflicts should be taken cognisance of by mediators, practitioners and researchers.
*African countries need to develop strong institutions which would put effective and efficient modalities in place for the prevention and management of natural resources conflicts.
*There should be revenue transparency in the natural resource sector. There should be value added to natural resources prior to export.
*Early warning of impending natural resource conflict should be complemented by early response.
*Reportage of natural resource conflict should pass the sensitivity test.
*Members at the inaugural workshop on 'Mediating natural resource conflicts...' should form the core of mediators in the field of natural resource conflict. More intensive training and interaction/workshops/conferences, etc are however needed.
*The trained core of 'natural resource mediators ' could form the team for 'mediation missions' commissioned by regional and continental bodies in Africa.
*The Mediators' Network comprising academics, practitioners and policy makers should be housed in the interim by WANEP.
*A database of natural resource conflict mediators should be compiled and constantly updated.

This is indeed a successful maiden outing for an ambitious project to identify and nurture academics, practitioners and policy makers who could effectively mediate natural resource conflicts in Africa. Bravo! 

Related Links

*Mediation & the principle of emergence - Kluwer Blog
*Why empathy may be the most important skill you'll ever need to succeed in Mediation
*Interface between traditional and modern approaches to Conflict Mnagement by Iddy Ramadhani Magoti
*How to argue in a healthy way
*From Sudan to Mali, how climate wars are breaking out across the Sahel
*5 reasons why Mediation should be mandatory
*Natural resources, sustainable development & peace in Africa
*Will the colonised ever speak?
*How are you showing up as an active listener during Mediation? 5 steps to avoid
*Watchdog Mediation: Mediation is increasing in consumer disputes
*5 ways to boost your bottom-line with empathy during Mediation
*Negotiation: Moving beyond intractability
*Silence as argument in conflict situations
*How to be a good listener
*Breaking Nigeria/Africa's 'resource curse' through eco-system investing
*What is 'deep listening' during Mediation & how can it help during the Covid-19 pandemic?
*What great listeners actually do
*3 ways to build empathy in Mediation


Friday 20 September 2019


The Forum on Farmer-Herder Relations in Nigeria (FFARN) expanded its scope beyond analysis of the Nigerian situation. The conference held in Abuja between the 18th and 19th of September 2019 was attended by practitioners, academics, policy makers and other stakeholders from both Anglophone and Francophone countries. There was cross-fertilisation of ideas on the following areas: Environment, Security, Governance, Livelihood and Gender. I was a major stakeholder at the parley.

               L-R: Nicolas Wicaksono (Research Fellow, SFCG) & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa

FFARN, under the auspices of Search for Common Ground (SFCG) collaborated with the Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Abuja to examine cross-cutting issues on the selected themes mentioned above in the Sahel and Western Sahara. I retired from IPCR in 2010 as the pioneer Director, External Conflict Prevention & Resolution. I was the very first and only female Director in IPCR to date.

The following were some of the participants:

*Prof. Isaac Olawale Albert - Prof. of Peace Studies, UI & Keynote Speaker
*Dr. Bakut Tswah Bakut - DG IPCR
*Sher Ali Nawaz - Country Director, SFCG
*Dr. Andrew Kwasari - SSA to the President on Agriculture
*Dr. Shidiki Abubakar Ali - University of Bamenda
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Consultant/Conflict Transformation Expert & Fmr. Director, IPCR
*Dr. Chris Kwaja - Centre for Peace & Security Studies, MAUTECH
*Dr. Koffi Alinon - Independent Consultant, Togo
*Dr. Saleh Momale -Kaduna State Peace Commission
*Dr. Joseph Ochogwu - IPCR
*Ms. Grace Awodu - IPCR
*Alice Kambire - West Africa Network for Peace-Building (WANEP)
*Djafarou Amadou - L'Association pour la Redynamisation de L'Elevage au Niger (AREN)
*Senator Shehu Sanni - Nigeria
*Dr. Anthony Bature - Federal University, Wakuri
*Abdoulaye Guindo - Association pour la Promotion des Initiatives de Developpment Communautaire (APIDC)
*Antoine Monemou - Association de Cooperation et de Recherche pour le Developpement (ACORD)
*Toyin Falade - SFCG
*Nathaniel Awuapila - Civil Organisations Research Advocacy & Funding Initiatives Development (CORAFID)
*Philip Vande - Federal University, Gusau
*Joseph Gimba - Centre for Peace Education & Community Development, Jalingo
*Adagba Okpaga - Centre for Peace & Development Studies, Benue State University
*Dr. Diamond Preye - Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace & Development Studies (AAIPSDS), Minna
*Chom Bagu - Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), Bauchi
*Dr. Ardo Aliyu - APESS
*Dr. Aboki Nawani - Centre for Youth, Women & Community Action, Lafia
*Dr. Agoso Bamaiyi - Adamawa State Agency for Peace, Rehabilitation & Reconstruction

A major observation was that many of the problems related to farmer-herder issues are similar across Anglophone and Francophone countries. Some of the observations and recommendations were:

*There is intensified 'feminisation of poverty' as a result of the farmer-herder crisis. Food scarcity is rampant.
*The societal fabric is broken. Symbiotic relationship between farmers and herders stalled. The means of livelihood is now skewed.
* The conference should be made an annual event.
*Extant rules and regulations for stock routes should be re-visited.
*There is mass displacement of the populace which has led to serious humanitarian problems.
*Indigenous knowledge, which is widely available in the region should be deployed to solve the problems of farmers and herders.
*Value should be added to agricultural products across the value chain.
*Relevant technology, including AI, should be deployed to solve extant problems.
*Both farmers and herders are assets.
*Laws promulgated to solve the farmer-herder problem have now become part of the problem.
*Re-vitalisation of the Lake Chad region needs urgent attention. The effort of the Lake Chad Basin Governors' Forum is noted in this regard. See for example my Blog post on the Governors' first conference:  #LCBGF
*The Private Sector should be involved as part of the solution.
*Ungoverned spaces within nation-states continue to fuel crime. Vigilante groups are trusted more than government security forces.
*There should be greater collaboration between practitioners, academics and policy makers.
*Early response to conflict should complement identified early warning signs.
*In recent times, the intersection between farmer-herder crisis, rural banditry, kidnapping etc. is blurred because they often occur simultaneously.
*We need more positive narratives as regards the farmer-herder crisis.
*The National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) in Nigeria, recently adopted by the 19 northern states and the 'Agro Rangers Specialised Force are some good practices from Nigeria that could be examined in countries in the region under review. The Togo 'grazing zones' where a decent amount is paid on each cow, results in considerable income. This is another good practice for other countries to emulate.
*Security is beyond perimeter fencing. It is important to also enhance human security which ensures a level of confidence building in the populace.

A major take away was that regional solution to the farmer-herder crisis should be intensified because the challenge is beyond borders. Beyond working in silos, nation-states should reach out across the region for sustainable action to resolve the crisis. ECOWAS and the AU have critical roles to play in this regard.

Related Links

*The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice orders the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) to investigate the January 2018 'mass killings and destruction of property in Benue state
*Conflict prevention in the Sahel: Emerging practice across the UN - The UN must act earlier, often in non-Muslim settings where the UN is led by a Resident Coordinator (RC)
*Effort of the Judiciary in resolving the farmer-herder crisis in the Middle-Belt of Nigeria
*France to withdraw troops from the Sahel region
*The warning signs are flashing red: The interplay between climate change & Violent Extremism (VE) in the Western Sahel by Tom Midendrop & Reinier Bergema
*Mapping the Geography of political violence in North & Central Africa
Towards sustainable peace: Development approaches to tackling fragility, conflict and violence
*The warning signs are flashing red: The interplay between climate change & violent extremism in the Western Sahel
*Report: Liptako-Gourma is the epicentre of a security crisis affecting the Sahel-Saharan strip
*Grappling with Sahelian insecurity   #WestAfricaInsight
*West African Presidents urge US to stay in the fight against terrorism
*Western Sahel: Protests & Risks>agenda>2019/01>all-the-warning-signs.../
*Growing violence in West Africa
*Violence in the West African/Sahel region
*We have to stop destroying nature - and 2020 should be the year we act
*Africa's pastoralists: A new battleground for terrorism
*Changing contexts & dynamics of farmer-herder conflicts
*Understanding farmer-herder conflicts in West Africa
*Growing herdsmen militancy is adding to West Africa's insecurity
*Herdsmen militancy & humanitarian crisis in Nigeria
*The trajectories & dynamics of herdsmen militancy no1 2016/thetrajectories.pdf
*Climate change, migration & conflict in West Africa
*CoV: Loneliness is a modern invention - Understanding that history can us get through this pandemic
*Integrated approach to building peace in Nigeria's farmer-herder conflict
*Climate war in the Sahel? Pastoral insecurity in West Africa is not what it seems - Leif Brottem
*Urban elites' livestock exacerbate farmer-herder tensions in Africa's Sudano-Sahel
*How gum acacia trees could help build peace in the Sahel
*When climate change meets positive peace
*Climate change: Recognising the impact on West Africa
*Stabilising the Sahel
*African land grabbing: Whose interests are served?
*Sahel: What to look out for in 2021
*Sahel violence: Stepping back from the precipice
*West Africa Transitional Justice mechanisms need bottom-up approach
*G5 Sahel: N'Djemena Summit should re-define France-Sahel cooperation
*Sahelian crisis