The Technical Sub-Committee set up by the National Economic Council (NEC) Working Group has recommended the adoption of ranching in some of the states affected by farmers/herdsmen clashes as a sustainable solution to the conflicts.
The states are Zamfara, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Taraba and Benue.
The Working Group also recommended that the state governments of the five affected states allocate land for this purpose.
A press release, signed by Laolu Akande, senior special assistant to the president on media & publicity
The communique also stated that “Contrary to some online media reports, NEC did not discuss or pronounce a ban on the movement of herdsmen.”
The recommendation was reached as the committee presented an interim report at this month’s NEC meeting presided by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The sub-committee is headed by Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, with the governors of Plateau and Adamawa states among the committee’s members.
“Following its visit to five out of seven of the affected states, including Zamfara, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Taraba and Benue, the committee, in its report to NEC today, noted that a root cause of the conflict was the struggle for scarce land and resources,” the communique highlighted.
Briefing the press after the NEC meeting, as highlighted in the statement, Mr Umahi said most of the killings, especially in Benue State, are carried out by herdsmen from outside the country and called for the deployment of more security operatives in the area.
Scores of people have e been killed by suspected herdsmen in Benue since the start of the year. The latest was over a dozen worshippers including two clerics killed in a church this week. Residents then retaliated on members of a Hausa community killing many of them.
The killings have been condemned by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Below are the highlights of the report on herdsmen killings, as contained in the statement.
INTERIM BRIEFING OF NEC WORKING GROUP ON HERDSMEN/FARMERS CLASHES
· NEC Technical Sub-Committee visited five (5) front-line States out of seven (7) identified.
· The five (5) States visited are; Zamfara, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Taraba and Benue.
· The Sub-Committee identified broad issues common to the affected States, as well as unique circumstances and causes among them.
· Conflicts in these States may have been exacerbated, but at their root is a common struggle for scarce land and resources.
· Livestock industry found to be extremely important in Nigeria with estimated cattle population of 19.22 million valued at N3.4 trillion.
· Livestock industry needs to be transformed by working towards peace and sustainable model for cattle production.
· Immediate need for FG, States, Private Sector Development Partners to act in the following areas in the selected States:
– Economic investments
– Security and peace building
– Information, education and strategic communication
– Regional collaboration
– Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)
· Other needs:
– Ranch Design Plan – can be proposed/adopted for future use in other regions.
– Ranching policy – more important now for FG/States to explore ranching as a sustainable and perfect solution to prevailing farmer/herdsmen conflicts in Nigeria.
– Land allocation – Governors of the five (5) States will allocate land for this purpose.
– Youth Empowerment and Poverty alleviation should go hand-in-hand with ranching reforms.
– Consolidated Implementation – FG/States develop soon-to-be finalized consolidated plan based on the 5 pillars- Economic, Law and Order, Conflict Resolution, Communication and Humanitarian Relief.