PASTORALISTS/SEDENTARY FARMERS CONFLICT: FG HOLDS STRATEGIC MEETING
Minister of Interior, Lt Gen Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (rtd); Permanent Secretary, Bassey Okon Akpanyung, and participants
The Minister of Interior, Lt Gen Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd) has said that the conflict between pastoralists and sedentary farmers poses grave implication to Nigeria’s internal security, and requires a complex approach to tackle.
The Minister, who stated this at the opening of the Strategic Stakeholders Meeting on the Pastoralists/Sedentary Farmer Conflict in Nigeria held in Abuja, stressed that the meeting was expected to come up with strategies for solving this conflict that threatens the country’s unity.
He said that the primary objective of the meeting was to arrive at a common understanding of the problems underlying the conflict and to harness institutional memory of past policy interventions from various stakeholders with a view to coming up with informed solution to it.
The Minister further stated that another objective of the meeting “is deciding on the membership and format for a subsequent open all-stakeholders’ meeting over the conflict”, adding that the membership would comprise the ethnic, religious, geopolitical, civil societies and other actors directly involved in the conflict in order to arrive at a lasting solution.
He added that a further objective of the meeting “is to identify any laws and regulations that impact on the conflict”, which will then inform the design of a definitive policy intervention that will lead to an abatement of the conflict.
According to him, the conflict mostly happens in the Niger-Benue River Basin because of its rich pasture and water resources where pastoralists converge seasonally to graze their cattle.
General Dambazau added that the conflict has however spread beyond the Niger-Benue River trough to the south-eastern and western Nigeria where violence and opportunistic criminal angles to the conflict, such as cattle-rustling, armed robbery and kidnapping, have been added to the mix, resulting to loss of life, dislocation of people and communities, and disruption of socio-economic activity, as well as posing a threat to the integrity and peaceful coexistence of the Nigerian State.
He stated that there had been recent reports that the Boko Haram terrorists were taking advantage of the situation to further their agenda.
Earlier, in a welcome address, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr Bassey Okon Akpanyung, bemoaned the many lives lost to the conflict, saying that the conflict claims the lives of both the principal actors and innocent standers-by who get caught in the cross-fire.
He stated that the meeting is a brainstorming session to identify the principal cause, main actors and the narratives of the conflict, as well as take a look at its dynamism over the years.
The meeting had participants drawn from relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government.
Minister of Interior, Lt Gen Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (rtd); Permanent Secretary, Bassey Okon Akpanyung
Minister of Interior, Lt Gen Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (rtd); Comptroller-General of Immigration, Martin Kure Abeshi