FG mulls “definitive policy’’ to tackle herdsmen, farmers’ clashes
The Federal Government says it is exploring the implementation of a definitive policy that will involve all stakeholders and security agents to tackle the lingering herdsmen/ farmers clashes in the country.
The Minister of Interior retired Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau disclosed this in Abuja at the opening of a strategic stakeholders meeting on the pastoralist/sedentary farmer conflict in Nigeria.
The minister, who decried the lingering crises along the Niger-Benue river basin axis, warned that the crises were capable of tearing the corporate existence of Nigeria, if not dealt with decisively.
“The effect of this conflict has been loss of life, dislocation of people and communities, and the disruption of socio-economic activity,
“Even more importantly, it is a threat to the integrity and peaceful coexistence of the Nigerian state.
“The objective, therefore, is to identify any laws and regulations that impact on the conflict, this will, in turn, inform the design of a definitive policy intervention,’’ he said.
Dambazau said that the stakeholders’ meeting was convened by the Ministry of Interior to find a lasting solution to the problem in view of its effect on the internal security of the country.
He said that the meeting would look into recommendations of past committee reports on the issue, security investigations and deliberate on a new strategy to address the menace.
“There have been a number of committees and think-tank type investigations into the conflict in the past.
“It is the intention of the ministry of interior to gather these together and note which have been implemented, highlighting the effects and failures of each in order to arrive at narrative and doctrinal certainties,” he said.
The minister said that in spite of the fact that conflict was prevalent in the North central region of the country; issues such as herdsmen migrating from outside the country would also be looked into in view of the security threats.
He said that indications had also emerged of opportunistic criminal angles to the conflict such as cattle-rustling, armed robbery, kidnapping and even the Boko Haram terrorists taking advantage of the situation for their dastardly acts.
He charged participants at the meeting to be professional and fashion out implementable solutions to the problem.
Mr Bassey Ekpenyong, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of interior said that the nation had lost too many lives due to the senseless killings as a result of the clashes.
He urged participants at the meeting to set the right framework for the meeting would be a prelude to a bigger stakeholders meeting that would involve the farmers and herdsmen directly involved in the crises.
The one-day stakeholders meeting was attended by officials from the Ministry of Defence, Nigeria immigration Service (NIS), Police, Civil Defence and the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).
Others are officials from the Ministry of Agric, Water Resources, Boundary Commission, National human Rights Commission and the National Orientation Agency (NOA).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that clashes between herdsmen and farmers in parts of the country had resulted in deaths and loss of property worth millions of naira without any permanent solution to the crises