Gift Joseph Okpakorese
Challenges of insecurity and insurgency have in the recent past taken a new dimension and trend especially as there are pieces of evidence of constant robbery attacks, molestations, kidnappings, and killings in various regions across the federation.
One of the major factors apparently responsible for the challenges of insecurity is the constant disputes between farmers and herders. There seems to be no headway at the moment as various attacks and reprisal attacks are witnessed especially in farmlands and forests located at the outskirts of cities and towns across the nation.
Reacting to this issue, an All Progressives Congress major leader, Bola Tinubu, has advised that in as much as it is significant to strengthen the security equipment and personnel in the federation, it still won’t be enough to put a stop to the lingering crisis between herders and farmers in parts of Nigeria.
More so, the former governor of Lagos State has disclosed that the solution to the crisis between herdsmen and farmers in the country has an economic origin, as such; it would take an economic dimension to profer a solution.
The above statement was disclosed by Tinubu while delivering a discourse as the chairman of the 2021 Sardauna Memorial Lecture held in memory of one of Nigeria’s founding fathers, the late Sir, Ahmadu Bello in Kaduna on Saturday the 27th March 2021.
During the lecture, he discussed the topic, ‘Reduction of the Cost of Governance for Inclusive Growth and Youth Development in Northern Nigeria in a Post-COVID-19 Era’.
The prominent figure of the All Progressive Congress lamented the effects of the lingering crisis on the food production and development of the nation and emphasized that;
“As I said in my recent statement on the pressing issue of the herder and farmer dispute, we must appreciate that martial security measures alone will not suffice. Problems that are essential of an economic origin must also have an economic solution. Enhanced security may be the necessary first step, but it cannot be the only step. We cannot resolve this problem by holding on to one-dimensional answers.
“We must all be dispassionate in our search for solutions. These challenges are multi-faceted and so shall the solutions must be.
“The issue of insecurity, poverty, unemployment, and extremism have many things to do with governance, over time. At the bottom, we must tackle our deep and widespread poverty.
News sources The PUNCH had initially revealed recently that, the migratory herders in parts of the country, especially in the South-West geopolitical zone, have been accused of violations on farmlands of indigenous farmers with their herd. This incidence has resulted in the destruction of farm produce worth millions of naira in the course of the last few months. Moreover, it’s been gathered that some herders have also been accused of assaulting women in host communities, kidnapping those who are wealthy, and in some cases, killing host residents.
As a way of recommendations to the federal government, Tinubu in a press statement on March 13, 2021, titled, ‘Tinubu’s Statement on the Herder Crisis’ had insisted that both farmers and herders need economic “assistance to break the current cycle of violence and poverty”.
Many concerned and well-meaning Nigerians, however, agreed with the opinion of ex-governor Tinubu, insisting that dialogue and mutual understanding have to be embraced in dealing with the already delicate and precarious situation. Hence, stakeholders on both sides need to convene a meeting with the federal government to act as a guide and mediator to seek common ground. Government must build structures and infrastructures such as ranches and creating an enabling environment for herders to breed and pasture their livestock, without constantly moving around. Moreso, farmers are to be encouraged with grants and loans to acquire lands and fertilizers, and other necessary types of equipment, to improve the agricultural sector and promote peace and tranquillity in the nation.