UN, others initiate action plan to tackle Adamawa farmer-herder conflict

The United Nations International Organisation for Migration (IOM-UN) and other stakeholders in the migration sector on Thursday initiated a mitigation project aimed at tackling farmer-herder conflicts in Adamawa.

The project, initiated at a meeting in Abuja, is tagged: “Contributing to the Mitigation of Conflict over Natural Resources between Farmer and Header Communities in Adamawa state, Nigeria (COMITAS)”, and is expected to be implemented in five Local Government Areas of the state, including Demsa, Girei, Numan, Lamurde, and Mayo Bella.

Speaking at the meeting, the Chief of Mission (A.I), IOM-UN Migration, Prestage Murima, said the COMITAS project would tackle the ongoing crisis between farmers and herders and strengthen traditional conflict resolution mechanisms.

She noted that disputes that had led to violent conflicts between farmers and herders had persisted in Nigeria because of competition over natural resources due to demographic growth.

“We all know that natural resources, expansion of human settlements, privatisation of land, year-round farming practices, environmental degradation, and climate change are factors that contribute to this crisis.

“We also know that these resource-based conflicts have been complicated by ethnic, religious, and political bias.

“This mechanism will improve access to early warning signals/trends and also establish transhumance of data collection and information management systems.

“So, basically COMITAS seeks to let Nigeria know that it is possible for herders and farmers to co-exist in a peaceful environment,” Murima said.

Mr Sher Nawaz, Country Director, Search for Common Ground, said that the team had achieved a lot so far, which provided an understanding of organising the stakeholders towards achieving the project.

“We have a community-based security architecture established in all the targeted communities and local government areas.

“This will enable the community members and security service collectors to collaborate and solve some of the challenges faced by their communities,” he said.

Nawaz added that the media was playing a major role in ensuring peace-building and conflict resolution in the project’s implementation.

Ndubisi Ayanwu, Country Director, Mercy Corps expressed his sincere gratitude to the federal government, the European Union (EU), and the Adamawa government, among others, for the support received in the course of the project to date.

“Mercy Corps remains ever committed to supporting lasting solutions to address the farmer-herder conflict in Nigeria.

“The COMITAS core objective aligns with Mercy Corps global objectives to help address the climate and environmental shocks associated with conflict, and how this occurrence affects natural resource availability,” Anyanwu added.

In his speech, EU’s Programme Manager, Peace and Security Programme, said that it was very important for stakeholders to work together and resolve the root causes of crises.

“It is very important to resolve the farmer-herder conflict and promote peace and prosperity in Nigeria.

“The EU is determined to support the COMITAS project in promoting peace and security in Adamawa and other parts of the country.

“We wish that this project will create a positive impact,” he said.

Riviere expressed his appreciation for the work done by the stakeholders in the affected communities towards peace building and livelihood.

“The EU will also support these same communities with small social infrastructure such as schools, markets, health centres, and water points, among others,” he said

The project, which will be jointly implemented by IOM, Search for Common Grounds, and Mercy Corps is to be funded by the EU through the instrument of stability and peace in response to conflicts and crises. (NAN)