Farmers/Herders Crisis: Presidency hails UK’s focus on ending conflict

Cattle on farm [Photo: View Point Nigeria]
Cattle in a farm [Photo: View Point Nigeria]

The presidency has commended the British government over the recent report by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the herder-farmer clashes in Nigeria.

This was disclosed in a statement issued Thursday by presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu.

According to the presidential aide, the report indicated that there are many causes of the conflict, ranging from competition over land to climate change.

Mr Shehu explained how the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) would help tackle some of the causes of the conflict.

“The programme was set to deal with these (causes of conflicts) by preventing open grazing of cattle and, consequently, the destruction of crops.

“Enclosed ranching is a core component of the programme. For farmers, this guarantees their yield and livelihoods. For herders, all livestock produce more meat and milk in a ranch rather than being always on the move.

“These plans do not come at one or another’s expense. Instead, they shall make both farmers and herders richer.

“We must learn to live together because there isn’t another way. Our diversity should never be a cause for conflict, but a source of strength from which the nation can draw,” he noted.

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Mr Shehu also said that engagement with various stakeholders is key to resolving “this age-old conflict”.

For decades, many parts of the country, especially the northern states have been enmeshed in a bloody battle between herders and local farmers.

The clashes resulted in a high number of deaths and displacements.

In a bid to find a lasting solution, the federal government through the agriculture ministry in June launched the RUGA programme to enable willing states to contribute large areas of land for animal husbandry settlements.

The presidency had said 12 states had indicated willingness to be part of the Ruga. But the government, however, suspended the programme after it was heavily criticised by many Nigerians with many state governors opposing it.

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