Some stakeholders on Peace-building relations have emphasised the need for consistent advocacy, to address the issue of farmers/herders crisis in the country.
They made the emphasis in Abuja, at the ongoing two-day conference, to address farmers/herders conflict in the Lake Chad and Western Sahel.
According to them, there is need for collective effort to promote peaceful co-existence among farmers/herders in the region.
Sen. Shehu Sani, a former lawmaker, said that the issues of farmers/herders conflict was a serious challenge to the country, region and also the world.
According to him, it was impossible to separate the crises between farmers/herders with the problem of terrorism.
“The Sahel and the Lake Chad are time bomb threatening the peace, security, stability and future of not just West Africa but possibly the whole continent.
“An initiative like this that provides the platform for discussion and exchange of ideas is an important intervention to support the government and policy makers to do what needs to be done.
“The danger of delay is that our region is sliding into chaos and to the knowledge of each and everyone of us farmers/herders problem is environmental, security, demographics and it is also a global issue.
“And how we can address the security issues in the Sahel and Lake Chad taken into cognizance what is happening in Libya is also an issue we need to discuss.”
Dr Diamond Preye from Abdulsalami Abubakar, Institute for Peace and Development Studies, said that there was need for government to improve on the standard of living of farmers/herders.
“In as much as we are looking at the ways to address the issues that borders around farmers/herders problem there is also need to look at how their own livelihood can be improved and at the same time how their standard of living can be improved as well.”
Preye said that it was important for the private sector to be involved while trying to address certain problems with respect to providing rural infrastructural facilities that could enhance the standard of living of those in the rural areas.
On the issue of climate change, she said that there was need for community sensitisation on sustainable practices that could limit the impact of the climate change.
“At the regional and national level particularly, ECOWAS, we should develop a communication strategy that will raise awareness with respect to farmers/herders relationship for peaceful co-existence among them.
“And if we are able to put this in place it would go a long way to promote sustainable peace in the region.”
Dr Dayo Kusa (Security) Conflicting Transformation Expert, called on the need to strengthen security outfits, adding that there was need for preventive measures rather than reactive measures.
Kusa alleged that vigilante groups and other locally formed security are formed because the States lacks the capacity to provide security for both farmers and herders.
She said that this problems were applicable across the West Africa and the Sahel.
“Lack of security and accountability have also created an environment in which crimes can prevail freely.
” The prevalence of conflict among both farmers and herders often causes people to feel insecure.”
She, therefore, advised that traditional leaders should collaborate with vigilante groups to ensure peace in the regions.
The conference was organised by Search for Common Ground (SFCG), an International NGO.