18 January 2018

Nigeria: Herdsmen, Farmers Violence - Osinbajo Leads Nine Governors to Find Solutions

Photo: This Day
Farmer vs Herdsman

The National Economic Council, NEC, has set up a ten-member committee to address the widespread farmers/herders clashes across the country.

The committee is headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and includes nine governors.

Briefing State House correspondents after the NEC meeting, the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, said the committee has as members governors of Zamfara, Kaduna, Adamawa, Benue, Taraba, Edo, Plateau, Ebonyi and Oyo states.

Killings by suspected herdsmen has led to the death of over 70 persons in Benue recently. Attacks by suspected farmers and locals on Fulani communities have also led to the death of several persons in Adamawa and Taraba states.

"The committee has started its meeting right after this NEC meeting," Mr. Ganduje said.

The Kano governor said the committee is expected to " work in accordance with commensurate commitment to ensure that all perpetrators of violence are brought to book."

The Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, who spoke earlier said the NEC considered an update on the need for domestic funding for the treatment of persons living with HIV in Nigeria.

He said the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, and Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of Aids, NACA, Sani Aliyu, made presentations seeking increased funding for HIV services in Nigeria in order to achieve the goal of eliminating HIV/AIDS by the Year 2030.

Mr. Umahi said the presentations stated that such an increase would reduce the dependency on donor funding for HIV services and the attendant development indicators.

"They also called for investment in HIV treatment that will lead to increased life expectancy in the country and a proportionate increase in GDP. They added that the need to invest in HIV/AIDS treatment is important because donor funding is on the decline because of economic circumstances," he said.

The governor said reducing the gaps between those who require HIV medicare and treatment and those who are actually able to access it is another reason adduced to increasing investment in HIV.

"The presentation asked NEC to consider and approve the resolution of the 59th Council on Health that at least between 2.5 per cent to 1 per cent of the monthly federal allocations to states be earmarked for financing the implementation of HIV/AIDS sustainability roadmap.

"Council was also asked to consider and approve the universal free antenatal services and abolition of user fees associated with the prevention of mother to child transmission services.

"Council was also asked to request that the state health insurance scheme including HIV is an indicator for both testing and treatment particularly as related to community health insurance programme.

"Council noted and approved the recommendations above as requested," he said.

Mr. Umahi said the Health Minister also gave the NEC an update on an emergency situation on lassa fever especially in Ebonyi State where some health workers died from the disease last week.

He said Mr. Adewole informed the NEC that "the federal government was going to intervene very quickly in the cases of Ebonyi State and Ogun State where this epidemic has developed".

Mr. Umahi, in his briefing also said the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, informed the council that the federal government is addressing Nigeria's economic situation through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, covering between 2017 and 2020.

He said the minister told council that the key execution points of the plan include the stabilisation of the macro-economic environment to achieve agriculture and food security as well as to ensure energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products.

Other points, he said, are to improve transportation infrastructure and to drive industrialisation focusing on small and medium scale industries

The governor said the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, reported to NEC that the balance in the nation's Excess Crude Account, ECA, as at January 15, 2018 stood at $2.317 billion, while the Stabilisation account had N9.730 billion and the Natural Resources Development Fund had N115.108 billion

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