Stakeholders in the south east Nigeria have called on the governments of the zone to help in resolving the conflict existing between cattle herdsmen and farmers in the region. Discussants and participants at the Development Policy Forum in Enugu organized by African Heritage Institution made this call on recently.
Addressing the participants at the forum, the Executive Director of African Heritage Institution Prof. Ufo Okeke-Uzodike lamented that the country is divided by politics and governance issues, geography and region of origin, ethnicity, religion and social class and these has impeded on the development of the country. He noted that there is need to address the pastoralist question and intergroup relations in the country.
Speaking on the theme, “Everywhere as grazing land: The pastoralist question and intergroup relations in Nigeria” the guest speaker, Dr. Azeez Olaniyan, a political scientist, Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti said grazing must be restricted and the idea of making everywhere grazing area cannot be sustained. He added that though the Ekiti State Model is a good example but there is need to adopt the 2014 Confab on pastoralism as a working document which recommended establishment of ranches equipped with modern technology such as fodder development, abattoirs, creating businesses around the livestock chain and establishment of grazing reserves.
He added that there is need to change the narrative of the pastoralists from being a regional, ethnic or religious problem to a national security issue that requires concerted efforts. And also that cattle must be reared in designated grazing zones and herders should be encouraged to purchase land.
In his contributions, Chief Nduka Eya, the Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, an elder statesman noted that there is need to bring back history into the curriculum of schools as this will help in educating the young children on where they we are coming from and where we are heading. He emphasized the need for equity, justice and fairness in our governing process as this will help in checkmating conflicts in the country.
AIG H. H. Karma of Zone 9 who was also present at the seminar stated that the conflict between herders and farmers has been happening around the country for a long time. He recommended collaboration between the police, the government and communities to ensure peace between herders and farmers and other members of the community. He added that in Anambra State, Governor Obiano used this collaborative strategy and it worked. He warned that arming vigilantes will not solve the problem but rather it would escalate the problem and create dangerous downstream problems. The Executive Director of African Heritage Institution Prof. Ufo Okeke-Uzodike, in his remarks lamented that the country is divided by politics and governance issues, geography and region of origin, ethnicity, religion and social class and these has impeded on the development of the country.
Materials from the event:
You can read the Press News on the Seminar here: Press News on Everywhere as grazing land