A Civil Society Organization, Forum on Farmer and Herder Relations in Nigeria, FFARN, has disclosed that the crisis between farmers and herders may linger if issues regarding access to livelihood between both actors is not addressed.
Bukola Ademola-Adelehin, the project Lead, FFARN noted that the clash over access to means of livelihood has been an underlying cause pitching the farmers against the herders, stressing that the clash is not caused by ethnicity nor religion as against public perception.
“once this issues of livelihood is not addressed, herders and farmers will fight.” She warned.
Ademola-Adelehin, who disclosed this at the end of an agenda learning workshop in Abuja organized by FFARN and Search for Common Ground called for Government engagement to address issues around the governance of land resources, governance of Water resources and the governance of security which according to her are the key issues on livelihood
She however informed that the forum has recorded significant milestone and is working toward engaging relevant policy makers towards a lasting solution to the crisis.
She said: “Before FFARN started, there was a lot of discussion that this is clash between ethnic group , clash between Religious group, but with what we have done in FFARN, we have been able to prove this is not clash between ethnic group or religious group but clash over access to means of lively hood
“Established in 2017, FFARN has successfully implemented the first phase of the project and recorded significant impacts, especially with regard to The banning of Open Grazing the forum was the first body which was able to put together strong evident to really demonstrate the potential negative implications on the law.
“Many states were really interested in putting in place legislature to prevent open Grazing, but by highlighting the potential negative implications and with what finally happened in Benue State, it was able to mitigate the trend” Ademola-Adelehin said
She added: “this is the first forum that has been able to bring together policy makers, scholars from to deliberate on the problems leading to the tension between farmers and herders and has been able to produce a lot of collaboration and a lot of knowledge has been generated and this knowledge has not only been used in Nigeria but has also been used Internationally to really shape the narrative of the conflict.”
Further, Ademola-Adelehin revealed that the forum is working towards engaging actors axrossvthe Sahel.
According to her, “the Conflict between farmers and herders is not a Nigerian thing but across the Sahel. We are looking at engaging actors across the Sahel to learn lessons with how what they are doing well and not doing well and for us to be really able to strengthen how we respond and advocate for this issue.
She also revealed plans to engage and build the capacity of young people in the university noting that class room is different from reality.