A meeting, involving state governors, senior security officials, herder and farmer representatives, traditional rulers and religious leaders must be convened by the Federal Government to find lasting solutions to the ongoing farmer/herder crisis across the country.
The government should also give vent to the establishment of state and community police, a demand that has been accepted across the political divide.
Governors should consider giving out unoccupied public land to herders to be used as ranches
National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, stated this in a statement issued on Saturday, saying those measures would eliminate the dangerous dimension the ongoing crisis is taking.
According to him, the purpose of the meeting would be to hammer out a set of working principles to resolve the crisis.
According to Tinubu, state governors would also be expected to hold similar meetings in their domains “to refine and add flesh to the universal principles by adjusting them to the particular circumstances of their states.”
The former governor of Lagos State noted that government policies must be geared towards ensuring peaceful co-existence, hence the need for a comprehensive reform of Nigerian laws.
He said: “The proposed reform of the Nigerian law enforcement apparatus towards state and community policing can help in this regard.
“The legislative and administrative measures required to make this a reality should be expedited.
“In addition to alleviating the present farmer-herder crisis, this reform will also bolster efforts against the banditry, kidnapping and robbery plaguing communities across the country.
“Unoccupied public land can be fenced into grazing areas or ranches and leased to herders on a very low-cost, nominal basis.
“The leasing is not intended to penalize herders. Rather, the nominal fee is intended to ensure the herders are invested in the project and incentivized (by reason of their investment) to use the land provided.
“This aspect will also mitigate any resentment over herders being given land for free.
“Government, in turn, being a responsible lessor, must help with supplemental feed and water in these areas.”
Tinubu maintained that no ethnic group should be blamed for the crisis, which, he said, was caused by a myriad of problems, such as economic hardship and its resultant dislocation, the proliferation of weapons, generalized increase in criminality, and weakening of social institutions.
Others include desertification, increased severity, and length of the dry season, diminution of water resources, impairment of land fertility and population growth.
He warned against any attempt to ethncise the crisis. He, however, said in view of the prevailing situation, it is impossible for herders to continue the centuries-old method of cattle rearing.