By Ochiaka Ugwu
In a bid to foster an understanding of the nature of the farmers/herders conflict, identify factors responsible for the escalation of the conflict and identify strategic options for the resolution of the conflict made Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI) to organize national discourse, Mr. Khaleel Bolaji, National President of the association has said.
Mr. Bolaji made this known in Abuja yesterday while delivering his welcome address at the opening ceremony of the farmers, herders’ conflict stakeholders’ dialogue organized by AAIN in collaboration with Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PRESCOM).
Mr. Bolaji who said the relationship between farmers and herders has been a mutually beneficial one for quite a long time but lamented that it has much deteriorated to the extent that the violent conflict arising from it has become one of the most challenging security problems in the nation.
He however, expressed optimism that the dialogue’s practical recommendations at the end of the discourse will assist government and key stakeholders in addressing the menace for sustainable peace and development.
Also speaking, Chairman of PRESCOM, Ambassador Emmanuel Imohe blamed the nation’s porous border for small arms and light weapons’ proliferation saying that it has made it possible for it to enter the hands of non-state actors.
Imohe noted that it has become potential trigger for conflict escalation and urged all Nigerians to jointly team up to curtail the inflow as it is everybody’s business.
The chairman of the occasion and former FCT Minister, Mr. Aliyu Modibo Umar said he is convinced that the dialogue will certainly bring recommendation that will be geared towards finding lasting solution to the problems.
Minister of Interior, Mr. Abdulrahman Dambazzau who was represented by Deputy Commandant General of the National Civil Defense and Security Corps, Dr. Ahmed Jega said that climate change and scarce resources were responsible for the perennial clashes.
A labour leader, Isah Aremu who called for the revisit of the 2014 Confab report also suggested that world best practices should be used to solve the farmers, herders clashes.
In his vote of thanks, AANI National Secretary, Dr. Nasirdeen Usman thanked the Nigeria Police, National Universities Commission and other institutions that made the event possible for their support.