President Muhammadu Buhari said Monday in Abuja that poverty, injustice and the lack of job opportunities were mainly responsible for inter-communal and intra-communal conflicts in Nigeria.
Speaking while receiving a delegation from the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, an organization active in the promotion of peace in Nigeria, President Buhari said to achieve enduring peace in the country, greater effort must be made to eradicate poverty and injustice.
The president described ethnic and religious conflicts in parts of the country as outward manifestations of underlying problems of joblessness, injustice and poverty.
On conflicts between farmers and herdsmen, President Buhari said that a plan to map out grazing areas will soon be presented to the Nigerian Governors Forum as a temporary solution to the frequent conflicts until cattle owners are persuaded to adopt other means of rearing their cattle.
Repeated clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers have led to thousands of deaths.
On Sunday, the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in charge of Vunokilang Police Station in Girei Local Government Area of Adamawa State was killed alongside 30 other people in an attack by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
The suspected herdsmen raided four villages: Demsare, Wunamokoh, Dikajam and Taboungo in what is believed to be a vengeance mission over an existing feud with farmers in the area.
Several houses and other property in the villages were also burnt in the attack.
The DPO, Okozie Okereofor, a Chief Superintendent of Police, who was deployed to the state about two months ago, was said to have been ambushed when he was leading police officers to the disputed area. He was killed in the eventual shootout with his assailants.
The Police in Adamawa have confirmed the killing of Mr. Okereofor.
“The DPO and his team were attacked while on official duty in the affected villages where he was killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen,” the spokesperson of the Adamawa State Police Command, Othman Abubakar, said.
Mr. Buhari commended the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue for the relative peace that had returned to Plateau State as well as their on-going activity in Southern Kaduna.
He agreed with the centre that dialogue was always preferable to the use of law and order mechanisms and force in the resolution of conflicts.
The Executive Director of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, David Harland, told President Buhari that following their success in facilitating the settlement of the inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflicts in Plateau State, the group had moved to Kaduna State.
He expressed the hope that the techniques used in bringing peace to Plateau State can soon be deployed to deal with the Boko Haram insurgency and other conflicts in Nigeria.