By Dipo Olowookere
A 16-member committee has been constituted by the Federal Government to come up with a framework on how to address the lingering conflict between the pastoralists and sedentary (livestock and crop) farmers in the country.
Inaugurating the panel in Abuja, Minister of Interior, Mr Abdulrahman Dambazau, noted that the conflict which has been escalating with each passing year, assuming different dimensions and spreading geographically, has resulted to wanton destruction of lives and properties, distrust amongst the ethno-religious groups in the country and threat to the internal security and socio-economic development of the nation.
He charged the team to recommend workable and pragmatic solutions that will help achieve desired objectives, assuring that the outcome of their deliberations would be given due consideration, as government was determined to bring lasting peace and stability to the country.
In his opening remark, the Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Mr Muhammadu Maccido, enjoined the committee to come up with ways and means of tackling the enormous challenges posed by the pastoralists and sedentary farmers’ conflicts.
In a response, the Chairman of the panel, Professor Oshita Oshita, who is also the Director-General, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, appreciated the enormity of their assignment, and promised that the committee would work assiduously to deliver peace in that sub-sector of the nation’s economy, stating that peace for Nigeria is not negotiable.
He added that the committee would work to ensure that the two pillars on which government hangs its economic diversification plan, farmers and herders, live peacefully, while Government diversifies the economy.
The terms of reference for the team include: Identify the problems underlying the conflict from regional and national perspectives; have an overview of past police investigations including those that have been implemented and to highlight the successes and challenges of each.
The rest are: Situate the Niger-Benue generally and Nigeria in particular as areas of conflict between pastoralists and sedentary farmers; identify regional and local laws and regulations that impact on the conflict; and outline tentative strategy to deal with the conflict and vis-à-vis methodology for open stakeholders’ forum. The Committee has two weeks to submit its report.
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