By Chimezie Godfrey
The Attorney General of the federation and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has proposed the establishment of a commission for pastoralism regulated by law to address the lingering farmer – herder crises in the country.
Malami who made the proposal at the “Peace, Unity and Security Lecture Series 2021,” held on Tuesday in Abuja, stressed that the triple issues of peace, unity and security are of great significance to the cherished and collective culture of serene and harmonious co-existence of Nigerians.
He noted that some of the ways achieve a peaceful Nigeria include strict adherence to the rule of law, respecting the sanctity of the fundamental human rights in all ramifications, including freedom of movement and the right of citizens to stay at whatever part of the country they choose to and other provisions as contained in Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria remain fulcrum for a peaceful society.
The Attorney General stressed that mastering and adopting conflict management strategies, interpersonal and intercommunity tolerance, enhanced public relations techniques, understanding of multi-culturism and diversity, socially responsible and objective media, properly motivated and well-trained security forces with patriotic Nigerians sincerely committed to duty are recipe for a peaceful Nigeria.
He pointed out that there exist strong connections among drug abuse, family cohesion, insecurity, insurgency and disruption of socio-cultural foundation, political stability and economic prosperity of communities and nations.
According to him, substance abuse may cause public health disorder, national economic retardation, human resource stagnation and distract the attainment of priority goals and objectives of any community, citing the recent waves of cases of rape and other maladaptive behaviors which he said may not be unconnected with drug abuse.
He therefore stressed that it is against this backdrop that the Federal Government of Nigeria established and support agencies to address these challenges.
According to him, the establishment of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development as well as Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Police Affairs, among others, are all geared towards achieving the objectives of having a peaceful, serene and luminous atmosphere for a healthy, mutually beneficial and fruitful stay as citizens and inhabitants of the country.
The Attorney General further stressed that one of the issues that dominated the media space in recent time is the issue of farmer-herders conflict, adding that Farmer-herder crisis is real.
He said, “It, therefore, requires real time and practically-oriented solutions. The better approach towards resolving the crisis over the short, medium and long terms is to directly involve the stakeholders in the coming up with solutions at the conception, implementation and monitoring faces.
“In this case, community-oriented approach is likely to yield greater dividend in diffusing and eventually eliminating the menace that has retarded economic development and created wide-spread insecurity.
“It is not out of place for me to say that simply addressing farmer-herder crisis from purely theoretical perspectives often devoid of reality and without synchronization with the needs and aspirations of the involved stakeholders is not only counter-productive, but inimical to the emergence and sustenance of a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
“It is against this backdrop that I proffer the following recommendations for the consideration of the symposium:
“The setting up of regulated grazing reserves to replace the “Burtali” or “Hurumi” pastoral system.Intensive enlightenment to livestock breeders on the need for sedentary farming and transhumance agriculture as complimentary economic process to nomadic farming.
“Provision of water holes in remote grazing locations, subsidized veterinary care and mobile ambulatory services for surgeries and other medical interventions for livestock.
“Provision of infrastructure – social amenities, educational facilities and cattle markets at central locations to accelerate nomadic settlements.Educating communities on the need for peaceful co-existence; after all these communities have lived harmoniously side by side and even intermarried for generations.
“Community engagement fora for bridge-building in community relations.”
He added,”Nigerian is predominately agricultural in nature and by geography, therefor there is constant mobility of herders across the different belts of Nigeria.
“It is, perhaps, time to consider setting-up of a commission for pastoralism regulated by law. This might provide recipes for resolving protracted farmer-herder conflicts.
“The Commission may even engage in or facilitate in-depth analytical studies with a view to providing lasting solutions for the benefit of people and the country.
“Revamping of the activities of the Nomadic Education Commission with a view to complimenting the efforts of government in resolving the farmer-herder clashes,” he said.
Malami reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government of Nigeria in supporting initiatives and programmes that will help resolve the lingering farmer-herder crises in the country.