Establish ranches to resolve farmers/herdsmen conflicts ― NISER

FOR sustainable peace between farmers and herdsmen, the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Ibadan, has urged federal and state government to see to the setting up of cattle ranches through the public-private partnership.

This is as the institute called for the setting up of grazing reserves in states that have consented as a temporary measure to minimise friction between herders and farmers.

The NISER research team led by Professor F.O.N. Roberts, identified these imperatives among others, at the January edition of the institute’s monthly seminar series, held on Tuesday, titled, “Strategies For Resolving Conflicts Between Farmers and Herdsmen in Nigeria”.

In the research report as delivered by Dr Hakeem Tijani, NISER held that ranching, which had proven successful around the world, would engender peaceful coexistence between farming communities and pastoralists.

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He warned that there still may be catastrophic clashes between farmers and herdsmen stemming from fierce competition over access to resources, increasing population, climate change, environmental degradation and changing patterns of resource use and supply.

To resolve conflicts, Tijani especially recommended effective stakeholders’ engagement through dialogue, implementation of policies to address the incessant problem of water shortage and drought.

The report also called for coordination between Nigeria and Lake Chad Basin countries to regulate movement across borders, especially cattle rustlers, armed herders among others aggravating tension and insecurity.

Furthermore, the report called on the federal government to address environmental factors that are driving herders’ migration to the South through the implementation of Great Green Wall initiative for the Sahara and Sahel that will restore drought and desert degraded environments.

The NISER research team also called for the strengthening of cross-border cooperation with the security forces of neighbouring countries to control the circulation and possession of illicit firearms and ammunition.

Among other reasons that NISER identified as causing farmers/herdsmen conflicts were grazing the land and water scarcity, damage to crops and plants, obstruction of traditional migration routes and livestock theft.

In his remarks, Chairperson of the event, Professor Oka Obono pointed to irredeemable poverty as what is pushing Fulanis into herding and trekking distances in search of pasture.

He added that the reasons for herdsmen clashing with farmers are anger, aggression, shrinkage of Chad and the need to re-green the North.
Obono, however, noted the need to re-green the North using technology, stoppage of desertification and holistic response to climate change.

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