By Tobias Lengnan Dapam Abuja
The federal government has introduced the use of biometric registration to monitor the movement of people, goods and livestock into the country.
The resolution is part of government’s effort to ensure lasting peace in the country.
The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, gave this hint yesterday in Abuja at a special town hall meeting to address farmers/herdsmen crisis.
Dambazau said the move was necessitated by the ECOWAS free movement treaty which Nigeria is a signatory to. The minister said a conference was recently organized within the ECOWAS sub-region to review ECOWAS Protocol on the free movement of goods, humans and livestock.
He revealed that “60 per cent of the people in West Africa are Nigerians. You need to know the number of Nigerians who cross the borders to other countries to look for a livelihood.
“It is important for us to see how we can create a balance between the implementation of the protocol and the security of our borders.
“We have introduced the use of biometrics in other to ensure that we take account of every person that comes into Nigeria,’’ he said.
He appealed to the media and citizens to look at the crisis between farmers and herdsmen as a national issue and quit attaching sentiment.
Speaking further on the proliferation of light weapons, the minister said the Nigeria Police Force was currently asking people to openly declare their arms. He said at the expiration of the grace period, the police would cordon off suspected areas, forcefully get the arms out and prosecute those illegally handling them.
“We have given directive; and this is why you see the police going from place to place asking people to declare their weapons. We have given this grace, after which we will go out and condone suspected areas, get the weapons out and even prosecute those illegally handling them,’’.
On his part, the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril, called on the state governments to work together in addressing the crisis.
Jibril harped on the importance of adequate information and intelligence gathering in addressing the clashes. He further called on non-governmental organisations, religious organizations to also assist the government in information gathering to tackle the menace.
“We have what it takes to solve this problem now because if we pass it to our children, they will never forgive us,’’ he said.
Similarly, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, said farmers and herdsmen crisis was a global issue.
Ogbeh said the government was currently training agro-rangers through the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to protect agricultural investments.
Also, stakeholders at the meeting appealed to the federal government to take decisive and prompt steps towards addressing the crisis, to end the loss of lives and properties.