Thursday 11 August 2022


The 'National Conference on the Management of Farmer-Herder Relations in Nigeria: Prospects for greater synergy' was held at the Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution (IPCR) on the 10th of August 2022. I was a valued stakeholder at the parley. The Co-conveners of the conference were Neem Foundation and Karuna Centre for Peace-building.

Photo L-R: Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (Retired Chief of Defense Staff/Chair of conference) & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa (Independent Conflict Transformation Strategist/Former Director, IPCR)

The major sub-themes were:

*Mitigation of farmer-herder clashes in Nigeria (Moderated by Prof. Muhammad Isa Kabir)

*Opportunities for greater synergy for farmers & herders in Nigeria (Moderated by Dr. Joseph Ochogwu - IPCR)

Some of the participants were:

*Gen. Martin Luther Agwai - Retired Chief of Defense Staff/Chair of Conference

*Dr. Bakut tswah Bakut - DG IPCR

*Dr. Fatima Akilu - ED Neem Foundation

*Ms. Polly Byers - ED Karuna Centre for Peace-building

*HRH, Alhaji Aliyu Ogah Anawo (OON) - Andoma of Doma

*Dr. Emmanuel Akabe - Deputy Governor, Nasarawa state

*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Conflict Transformation Strategist/Former Director, IPCR

*Ms. Priscilla Achakpa - Global President, Women Environment Programme (WEP)

*Prof. Nana Tanko - ED, Victim Support Fund (VSF)

*Chris Ngwodo - DG National Early Warning & Early Response (EWER), Office of the Vice President

Photo L-R: Ms. Polly Byers (ED Karuna Centre for Peace-building/Co-convener of conference) & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa 

Photo L-R: Dr. Fatima Akilu (ED Neem Foundation/Co-convener of conference) & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa

The major thrust of my submission at the parley was that there should be palpable synergy among stakeholders operating in the field to mitigate the farmer-herder crisis in Nigeria. Let a thousand flowers bloom, but there should be coordination. The stakeholders should stop working in silos and collaborate for positive and sustainable impact.

Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (Rtd Chief of Defense Staff/Conference chair) said most of the drivers of crime and criminality stem from elite manipulation of facts, culture and religion. Therefore, we must train ourselves to see opportunities for peace and subsequently equality for all. We must work together to build a better and equitable Nigeria.

Dr. Emmanuel Akabe (Deputy Governor, Nasarawa state) submitted that ethno-religious crisis in Nigeria is a disease. We must work together to establish the root causes and deal with them decisively, lest we get consumed in the fracas.

HRH Alhaji Aliyu Ogah Onawo (Andoma of Doma) was worried about the fact that the farmer-herder conflict has evolved, while sparing no class, tribe or religion. Therefore, we must all evolve strategies to tackle these challenges in ways that ensure sustainable peace for us and those unborn. We must go back to our traditional methods of conflict resolution.

Ms. Priscilla Achakpa (President WEP) fingered climate change as one of the most significant and least talked about causes of conflict and violent attacks that affect Nigerians irrespective of orientation and background. There should be more gender sensitive response to the farmer-herder conflict in Nigeria.

Ms Polly Byers (ED Karuna Centre for PB/Co-Convener of Conference) alluded to the scenario where there is direct involvement in peace-building at the community, state and national levels where citizens are given tools and skills to address mutual challenges. This leads to sustainable peace at all levels. We should stop separating 'farmers' from 'herders'. Both groups are collectively 'farmers of Nigeria' - the former are crop farmers while the latter are livestock farmers.

For Dr. Fatima Akilu (ED Neem Foundation/Co-convener of conference), we must strengthen efforts to give credence to voices that provide positive and sustainable solutions for resolving conflicts that hurt our country...

In conclusion, the discussion was robust, multi-dimensional and sought sustainable solution for the farmer-herder quagmire. Climate change and the competition for the scarce natural resources - land and water remain the elephants in the room... 

2023 edition, 12th December... National conference on the management of farmer-herder relations in Nigeria - Protecting our communities initiative

There were presentations/situation reports from various LG areas in Plateau, Adamawa and Benue states...

L-R: Ms. Polly Byers (ED Karuna Centre for Peace-building/Co-convener of conference) & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa