A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF STAKEHOLDERS’ WORKSHOP ON “SUSTAINING PEACE AND TOLERANCE IN URBAN SETTINGS, AMPLIFYING THE ROLE OF THE YOUTH SUPPORTING COVID-19 RESPONSE IN NASARAWA STATE, NIGERIA AND 0113675/PBSO- HERDSMEN-FARMER CONFLICT. ORGANIZED BY BRAIN BUILDERS YOUTH DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (BBYDI) WITH SUPPORT FROM THE UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROJECT (UNDP) AT MANYI ROYAL SUITES, LAFIA, NASARAWA STATE ON 1ST AND 10TH FEBRUARY, 2020

After a successful 2 Day Stakeholders’ Workshop on Sustaining Peace and Tolerance in Urban Settings, Amplifying the Role of the Youth in Supporting COVID-19 Response in Nasarawa State, Nigeria and 0113675/PBSO- Herdsmen-Farmer Conflicts with participants drawn from key organizations, Security Agencies, Farmers, Herders, traditional rulers,  communities and religious bodies viz: Jamaatu Nasril Islam (JNI) and Christian Association of Nigeria, and after robust interactions and deliberations led by various facilitators and valuable contributions from participants, the following issues were raised:

ISSUES:

  1. Nasarawa State is predominantly an agrarian state with over 70 percent of inhabitants involved in agricultural practices for food and as a means of livelihood. Crop farmers and herdsmen inter-depend on each other in pursuance of their livelihoods but there is currently a cold air of mistrust and mutual suspicion which led to violent conflicts in various communities in the state. Several lives have been lost and properties worth Billions of Naira have been destroyed in various communities in Nasarawa State over avoidable conflicts. There is palpable fear that the situation may degenerate in the future unless something is done to avert an impending outbreak of the crisis.
  2. Incidences of blockage of cattle routes, poisoning of water/food sources, brutal attack of people and amputation of limbs in the night or day times, wanton destruction of farm crops by sheer criminal negligence, through night grazing or by under-aged children herding cattle have seriously strained relations between farmers and herders.
  3. Illiteracy and ignorance levels in the society are quite high but particularly higher for the nomadic herder communities. The abandonment of nomadic education for nomadic Fulanis aside from other empowerment policies and programmes of government has left the Fulanis feeling excluded by the government and their youth become vulnerable to indoctrination and deception.
  4. Due to the population explosion, it has become much more difficult for ancient grazing routes to be maintained. States with grazing reserves, none of them is functioning. The present state of grazing routes appears unsustainable and needs to be eradicated. This leaves a yawning gap that needs to be addressed.
  5. Participants decried the inadequacy or total lack of alternative approach or mechanism to deal with any anticipated problems before the outbreak of the crisis in` Nasarawa state other than the criminal justice approach. Instead of waiting for offences to be committed before perpetrators will be arrested whether correctly or not, there is a need for a platform for early detection and redress of impending conflicts.   
  6. It was generally agreed that disputes between herdsmen and farmers need to be understood as distinct from any form of criminality. There is the tradition in urban areas of stereotyping of herdsmen as generally meaning Fulanis whereas, other ethnic groups also rear cattle and other animals. This wrong and broad stereotyping have caused untold levels of discontent among persons so wrongly stereotyped. 
  7. There are Civil Society Organizations that have been working round the clock and raising the red flags where necessary in collaboration with community actors but such efforts are usually frustrated by lack of political will by policymakers.
  8. It is also observed that the high unemployment rate of our youth is a challenge. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Educated youth without gainful employment are vulnerable to several social pressures which may include criminality and drug abuse.
  9. Night grazing and under-aged grazing is a big challenge.
  10. There is also the challenge of undocumented migrants from other parts of Africa who perpetrate crimes and run back to their countries, leaving indigenous farmers to suspect indigenous herdsmen.
  11. Both the government, farmers and herders have a share in the blame for the current situation of farmer/herder conflicts in Nigeria.

RECOMMENDATIONS:   

  1. We need a Peace Building Agency for Nasarawa State and urge the state government to do all within its ability and capacity to bring it to pass. This Agency is to work with relevant security agencies, community leaders and religious leaders to receive reports of impending crisis, analyze early warning signs in order to avert crisis. 
  2. Before the state Peace Building Agency is formally established, there is a need for community leaders to liaise with relevant security and religious bodies to organize periodic meetings to discuss emerging security threats. All communities need to do this in the interim.
  3. There is a need for more stringent enforcement of laws banning night and under-aged grazing to serve as a deterrent.
  4. Our policymakers need to demonstrate more political will to eradicate conflicts through equipment and funding of security agencies with the capacity to gather intelligence and swiftly respond to the impending conflict before they occur. 
  5. It is acknowledged and agreed, that because in order to avert crisis or conflicts as a result of ignorance or illiteracy, there is a need for the state to invest heavily in nomadic education and other awareness creation initiatives for the benefit of the state.
  6. There is a need for more support for implementable policies directed towards the empowerment of the youth through all-inclusive entrepreneurship and involvement in agriculture. A better-educated farmer and a better-educated herdsman can coexist in peace, harmony and prosperity.
  7. There is a need to regulate the usage of items that can be used to cause havoc, e.g. cutlasses, etc.
  8. Grazing routes should be eradicated and open grazing should be banned after grazing reserves are created. This will also do away with mercenaries who troop from other countries into our state to cause crisis and run away.
  9. There is a need to regulate migration in Nigeria by the relevant agency (Nigeria Immigration Service).

Signed by members of Communique Committee

 

 

  • Signature _____________

 

ALHAJI SULE DOGO ANDA

Representative, Aren Eggon, 

For and on behalf of all traditional institutions in attendance.

 

 

  • Signature _____________

 

ALHAJI MOHAMMED ABUBAKAR GANA

For Jamaatu Nasril Islam (JNI), Nasarawa State

 

  • Signature _____________

 

PASTOR ELISHA USMAN ANZEINA

For Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN) Nasarawa State

 

  • Signature______________

 

ABDULLAHI MOHAMMED

For All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Nasarawa State.

         

 

  • Signature _____________

 

MOHAMMED MURTALA SULEIMAN

For Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Nasarawa State

 

 

  • Signature _____________

 

EMMANUEL OKOLO ENVOH

Representative, Youth groups and Associations, Nasarawa State

 

 

  • Signature _____________

 

EMMANUEL KUZA, ESQ.

Representative, Civil Society Organizations, Nasarawa State

A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF STAKEHOLDERS’ WORKSHOP ON “SUSTAINING PEACE AND TOLERANCE IN URBAN SETTINGS, AMPLIFYING THE ROLE OF THE YOUTH SUPPORTING COVID-19 RESPONSE IN NASARAWA STATE, NIGERIA AND 0113675/PBSO- HERDSMEN-FARMER CONFLICT. ORGANIZED BY BRAIN BUILDERS YOUTH DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (BBYDI) WITH SUPPORT FROM THE UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROJECT (UNDP) AT MANYI ROYAL SUITES, LAFIA, NASARAWA STATE ON 1ST AND 10TH FEBRUARY, 2020

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