Worried by the lingering clashes between farmers and herders across the country, stakeholders from various sectors converged on Abuja on Tuesday to seek a permanent solution to the crisis.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the programme was organised by the National Orientation Agency to examine the causes of the clashes and discuss ways to tackle them.
The programme also focused on enlightening stakeholders on government’s policies and actions toward tackling the menace.
NAN also reports that the forum attracted stakeholders from the media, farmers and herders associations, technical experts, NGOs and top government officials.
Dr Garba Abari, Director-General, NOA, in a keynote address, said that the larger population in the rural communities lacked understanding of some government policies to resolve the crisis.
He said: “There is a need for intensive campaigns to sensitise Nigerians to those programmes so as to find a lasting solution to the crisis. That is why we organised this forum.
“As the government agency in charge of orientation, we felt we must live up to expectation by organising a forum where everyone will ventilate his views. It is our view that a cross fertilisation of these views will assist us to find a way out.
“The clashes have become too incessant and persistent. They have become a matter of urgency and a challenge to all stakeholders. We must all put heads together toward ending this lingering crisis.”
Abari said that the agency had deployed several communication platforms to reach various segments of the society with messages on government policies and programmes.
He said: “There are numerous programmes and activities being deployed by government at all levels which hold significant benefits for many citizens.
“Unfortunately, many at the grassroots and, indeed, quite a number of Nigerians, who live in urban areas, are either not aware or do not know the procedure for harnessing the benefits offered by these programmes and policies.
“It is, indeed, against this backdrop that I wish to say that the very important role that NOA was established to play cannot be over-emphasised.”
He further explained that the forum would focus on the national livestock plan programme, national security and protection of public properties in the oil sector.
Tar Ukoh, one of the stakeholders and a farmer, decried the incessant crisis between farmers and herdsmen, saying that it was getting worse by the day.
He said: “I am a Fulani man and we used to live together with other tribes irrespective of wherever you come from.”
According to him, it is on this note that the National Livestock Transformation Plan was packaged to minimise the areas of clashes between the two groups.
He said: “A major component of the plan is the `Sharing the Green Grass’ programme focused on establishing a symbiotic relationship between the farmer and the herdsman.
“What we want to emphasise is the promotion of community peace building.”
Muhammed Bello, another participant and a member, National Livestock Transformation Plan, expressed hope that the forum would create enabling platform to find solutions to the farmers/herders clashes.