Herdsmen/Farmers’ crisis: It is time for pastoralism commission —AGF

Worried by the herdsmen/farmers’ crisis in the country, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) on Tuesday called for the establishment of a ‘pastoralism commission’ even as he called for community-oriented approach in diffusing and eliminating the menace that has retarded economic development and created wide-spread insecurity.

The minister said, addressing farmer-herder crisis from purely theoretical perspectives often devoid of reality and without synchronization with the needs and aspirations of the involved stakeholders is not only counter-productive, but inimical to the emergence and sustenance of a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.

Malami, who was speaking as a special guest of honour at the Peace, Unity and Security Lecture Series 2021 held at the ECOWAS main auditorium, Abuja, where he was represented by his Media Aide, Dr Umar Gwandu said for peaceful coexistence in the country, there is need for strict adherence to the rule of law, respecting the sanctity of the fundamental human rights in all ramifications.

The Chief Law Officer recommended the setting up of regulated grazing reserves to replace the “Burtali” or “Hurumi” pastoral system as well as intensive enlightenment to livestock breeders on the need for sedentary farming and transhumance agriculture as a complimentary economic process to nomadic farming.

He also made case for the provision of water holes in remote grazing locations, subsidized veterinary care and mobile ambulatory services for surgeries and other medical interventions for livestock.

Malami also noted that if infrastructures, social amenities, educational facilities and cattle markets at central locations to accelerate nomadic settlements are provided, the crisis of farmers/herders will be minimised.

Other recommendations for ending the farmer/herders conflicts, according to Malami include, educating communities on the need for peaceful co-existence, Community engagement fora for bridge-building in community relations.

In his words, “It is, perhaps, time to consider setting-up of a commission for pastoralism regulated by law to provide recipes for resolving protracted farmer-herder conflicts.

“The Commission may even engage in or facilitate in-depth analytical studies with a view to providing lasting solutions for the benefit of people and the country.

“Revamping of the activities of the Nomadic Education Commission with a view to complementing the efforts of government in resolving the farmer-herder clashes”, he said and reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment in supporting initiatives and programmes that will help resolve the lingering farmer-herder crises in the country.

He said Nigerians need to be allowed to enjoy freedom of movement and the right of citizens to stay at whatever part of the country they choose to and other provisions as contained in Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to remain fulcrum for a peaceful society.

He submitted, “That mastering and adopting conflict management strategies, interpersonal and inter-community tolerance, enhanced public relations techniques, understanding of multi-culturism and diversity, socially responsible and objective media, properly motivated and well-trained security forces with patriotic Nigerians sincerely committed to duty are recipe for a peaceful Nigeria”.

Malami applauded the organisers of the lecture series for choosing the theme which revolves around the issue of peaceful co-existence and mutual harmony among interrelated and interdependent communities in the country.

According to the AGF, “The choice to discuss these myriad issues is not only commendable but also a timely intervention in the spirit of upholding the need for a united and progressive Nigeria in line with the nation’s motto: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress”.

He charged participants at the lecture to come out with all-inclusive, holistic, practical and result-oriented submissions that would be keyed-into shaping the legal framework for a prosperous nation.

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