17 January 2018

West Africa: Ecowas, Govt to Tackle Challenge of Livestock Movement

Abuja — The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Federal Government are spearheading the renewed efforts aimed at tackling the problems associated with transhumance and its attendant security concerns in the sub-region.

Transhumance is the movement of livestock from one grazing ground to another in a seasonal cycle, typically to lowlands in winter and highlands in summer.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel de Souza, stated this while receiving the Minister of Interior, General Abdurahman Danbazzau (rtd) and his team yesterday in Abuja.

He said the collaboration had become imperative giving the complex problem of transhumance and the need to checkmate the activities of herdsmen in West Africa.

He told his guests that the clashes between herders and farmers had become incessant resulting in pockets of draught and increasing movement of cattle to coastal areas within the sub-region.

"And if herders are moving with arms at a time when there is a reduced number of arable land, this has a serious security implication. Whereas it is the ECOWAS Commission that regulates the movement of arms into West Africa," he stated.

He lamented the poor commitment by national governments to ECOWAS protocol on transhumance where parties to the conflict are unaware of the provisions of the pact with regards to corridors which provide grazing opportunities.

"With the concurrence of the Nigerian side, a high-level inter-ministerial conference will be convoked sometime in the month of February to find amicable solutions to the problems," Souza added.

Danbazzau noted that the dimensions to regional security had become very worrisome with the herders-farmers' clashes occurring alongside terrorist attacks.

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