Thursday, August 7, 2014

Niger State seeks peace between herdsmen, farmers

Governor Muazu  Aliyu of Niger State on Thursday called for mutual understanding and harmonious co-existence between herdsmen and farmers in the country.
Aliyu, who is also the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, made the appeal in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.
The governor was reported to have spoken at a symposium on ‘Disentangling Farmers and Herdsmen Clashes: Fostering Peaceful Co-existence’, and a book presentation for victims of the clashes in Minna. 

The statement by Aliyu’s Special Assistant on Media, Alhaji Tanko Dada, quoted the governor as saying that it was imperative to address vexing factors causing clashes between the farmers and herdsmen.
It listed the issues as land use, land ownership, damages to crops and farming along the river, among others. 
“We must not forget that herdsmen are emotionally attached to their cattle and any solution or policy action that does not recognise this fact may not yield the desired results.
“Part of the problem with the Fulani’s today is the break in their culture, where a large number of them do not own cattle instead they are kept in sedimentary farms to look after the cattle of the elite farmers,” he said.
The governor said local and state governments must set aside and clearly demarcate grazing reserves and cattle stock routes for herdsmen as well as gazetting such reserves and stock routes to curb the incessant clashes.
According to him, apart from giving legal backing to the reserves and stock routes by the governors in the region, “we must also approach the Federal Government to increase its interest in addressing the identified challenges.”
Aliyu said the Niger State Government had gazetted most of the grazing reserves and the cattle stock routes in the state in a bid to curb encroachment on the routes by farmers.
He said management committees had been set up at state and local government levels to address and resolve issues arising from the interactions between the farmers and pastoralists in the state.
Aliyu said the presentation of the book, ’100 years of Nigerian history’, was aimed at addressing the needs of the victims of such clashes.
The governor said the initiative would complement recent Federal Government efforts at addressing the plight of victims of insurgency.
He donated N3.5m on behalf of the Niger State Government, while the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim, donated N200, 000.
The Lagos State Government also donated N400, 000 and Kano State Government N250, 000, among others at the event. 

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