By Usman Shuaibu
Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State has requested for technical assistance from the Norwegian government in the area of environmental degradation control, social investment, education and agriculture and animal husbandry.
Governor Masari made the request Wednesday when he visited the Norwegian Ambassador Mr. Jens-Petter Kjemprud in his Abuja residence, where he appreciated the rich technical expertise of Norway in environmental control, education, agriculture, science and technology as well as entrepreneurship.
The Governor informed his host that one of the problems faced by his state and others in the Northern part of Nigeria, was the perennial conflict between Hausa farmers and Fulani herdmen as a result of lack of sufficient land to simultaneously accommodate farming and grazing by the respective groups.
According to the Governor, desert encroachment, land erosion and other ecological factors, on the one hand, and the exponential population increase on the other, have made competition for land even more acute, and the search for a solution very urgent.
He lamented that the conflict had transformed the farmers and herdsmen into mortal opponents living in mutual suspicion and animosity, often leading to deadly confrontations as witnessed in recurring savage banditry, kidnapping and reprisal attacks by the herdsmen.
The Katsina State Governor warned that “the situation may even assume a religious dimension despite the fact that we are (more or less) one and same people in culture, religion and outlook”.
He said his administration had been very much up and doing seeking for solutions to address the restive situation among the herdsmen, noting that the government has built primary schools, clinics and demarcated grazing routes in most of the places prone to the conflicts.
In addition, “the government has also not neglected the herders’ basic requirement, which are water points and grazing reserves, because we ate addressing the issue, accordingly.
Governor Masari however, observed that “to have peace, we need to move the majority of the population AWAY from POVERTY, and to do that successfully, we have to give them quality education, at least at the foundation (primary and secondary schools) level.
While promising to support the Katsina State government, the Norwegian Ambassador agreed that his country had the knowledge to offer in the fields requested by the Governor, given the fact that Norway has many rich and experienced Research (tertiary) Institutions versed in those areas.