17 January 2019

Nigeria: Herders/Farmers Conflict, Complex, Regional - Interior Minister

The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, says the farmers/herders conflict is a complex issue as well as regional in nature.

Mr Dambazau made the assertion on Thursday in Abuja, at a Special Ministerial News Briefing with the theme: "The Journey So Far" from November 2015 - November 2018.

The event showcased the achievements of the ministry in line with the federal government's focal points of improving security, revitalisling the economy and fighting corruption.

"It is a regional issue, that is why in the ministry we decided to see how we can manage the crisis because it is about crisis management," he said.

He explained that to tackle the farmers/herders clash, the federal government invited about six or seven governors of the affected states for a meeting.

"When the farmer/herder issue happened in Benue, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Zamfara, and Plateau, we invited all the governors of these states.

"About six or seven governors were invited to the ministry and all the commandants of the Nigeria Security Civil and Defence Corps of those states.

"We had a meeting to discuss the issues, because the herder/farmers conflict is an issue that is spreading along certain corridors.

"We discussed how best we can tackle those problems because not one single state or local government can deal with it; based on that, we came up with a communiqué.

"One of those observations we had was the fact that it was also a regional problem, if not continental, because we have farmers, herders that move from one country to another taking advantage of the protocol of free movement of trans-humans," he said.

The official explained that the protocol of free movement of trans-humans is linked to the protocol of ECOWAS free movement of persons, goods and services.

"We initiated a conference on that as fallout of that meeting we had with the governors," he said.

The minister said the conference was meant to ensure the implementation of the protocol signed in 1998.

"If a herder is coming from Ghana to Nigeria, there must be certain areas where the cattle will be inspected, there must be international health certificate.

"We must ascertain the number of cows the herder is moving with to ensure that they don't carry weapons of any kind and that they followed the laid down routes.

"In doing that all these, clashes between herders and farmers will be completely reduced if not eliminated.

"What is happening is that herders along the routes go into farmlands and sometimes destroy the crops. We cannot stop free movement because if we do that it is going to impact on us," he said.

Mr Dambazau said the ministry had organised a Strategic Stakeholders' meeting on Pastoralist/Sedentary Farmers conflict aimed at solving the conflict.

Earlier, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, noted that this is not the first time the administration would give a score card.

He said Mr Dambazau had always been regular in all the town hall meetings they have had.

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