By Usman Shuaibu
Stakeholders at a conference yesterday demanded the setting up of a Federal Peace and Conflict Resolution Commission to address the prevalent farmers-herders crisis in the country.
They also urged the government to strengthen security arrangements to make both farmers and herders feel safe.
They however said the proposal for grazing reserves should be embraced, beginning with consenting states.
The recommendations of the stakeholders are contained in a communiqué after a two-day conference organized by The Nation Newspapers and TV Continental (TVC) News in Abuja.
The session was attended by representatives of farmers’ groups, cattle breeders and herders, frontline traditional rulers, state governments, security agencies, members of the diplomatic community as well as notable leaders of thought.
The communiqué, which was read by Dr. Kayode Samuel, said: “Two of Nigeria’s leading mass media organizations, The Nation Newspapers and TV Continental (TVC) News jointly convened a two-day National Summit on Conflict Resolution at the Air Force Conference Centre, Abuja on 8-9 October 2018.
“The Summit was conceived as an open forum to promote frank exchange of ideas on burning issues of national and international concern, with particular regard to the herdsmen-farmers clashes across the country, with a view to seeking workable and enduring solutions.
“Government should set up a Federal Peace and Conflict Resolution Commission.
“There is a need to strengthen security arrangements to make both farmers and herders feel safe and to isolate the criminal elements.
“There is a need to resuscitate and massively fund the various river basin authorities especially in the north to enable growth of grass for animal grazing to minimize nomadic mobility across the country.
“Conflict mediation and peace building mechanisms must be put in place and avenues for constant dialogue between farmers and herders should be promoted.
“There is a need to embrace Climate Smart Agriculture that sustains both crop farming and animal breeding could provide a way out of the present crisis.
“The proposal for grazing reserves should be embraced, beginning with consenting states while the old bonds that encouraged cooperation need to be built upon.
“A comprehensive approach to addressing the environmental factors that drive herders southwards must be explored.