The rule of law advisory team, office of the Vice President of Nigeria has organized a capacity building training for community and religious leaders on conflict prevention and resolution to tackle the incessant farmer-herder conflicts.
Speaking during the training in Kaduna, Special Adviser to the Vice President on Rule of Law,Fatima Waziri-Azu, said specifically, the conflict prevention and resolution pillar will support rebuilding relationships at the community level to promote mutual trust,confidence building and consolidation of peace process.
She said the farmer-herder crisis has become one of Nigeria’s gravest security challenges in recent times, nothing that although, the crisis has been in existence for decades, but significantly worsened in 2014 resulting in many deaths.
Waziri-Azu,while dismissing the notion that government has not done anything to solve the problem said the Federal government has done much to end the crisis.
She said: “For many of us here,we know that farmers and pastoralists have had a very long history of harmonious relationship. Recognising that urgent actions are needed to solve this problem both in the immediate, short and long term,the plan was developed after a year long consultation with stakeholders from the affected States and beyond to get their input into the plan.
The usual top to bottom approach was not utilized during the development of the plan,it is people – oriented, stakeholders were consulted and their observations and suggestions were inputted into the plan.
We can see that the plan is encompassing and is designed to support government at all levels. It addresses peace and security, transformation and national growth”
This focus on capacity building of community leaders in peace building, conflict resolution and management amongst others and that is why we are here today.
“Infact the need to strengthen the capacity of traditional institutions in peace building was strongly endorsed by stakeholders during the consultative process that led to the development of the NLTP especially in the areas of conflict mediation.
The workshop is to provide community and religious leaders involved in peace building processes such as yourselves practical skills and capacity to prevent,manage and resolve conflicts effectively ” Waziri-Azu said.
On her part, the Attorney- General and commissioner for justice, Umma Hikima, said she believed that the workshop will assist in resolving problem of farmer-herder conflicts by way of alternative dispute resolution: “In Kaduna state, in trying to solve the problem of communal and farmer/herder conflict, we have established peace commission in 2017. One of the objectives of the peace commission is the adoption of proactive measures in the development and implementation of strategies that would promote peace and harmonious coexistence” she said.
Also speaking, Hajiya Hauwa Gambo, permanent commissioner of Kaduna state Peace Commission, said the conflict between herders and farmers may not end unless people stop bringing ethnicity and religion into it: “When you politicise the issue of herder/farmers conflict it will be difficult to resolve”