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Farmers/Herders Clashes: NGOs Train Stakeholders on Conflict Resolution

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By Wale Ibrahim, Lokoja

As part of efforts to ensure peaceful co existence between farmers and heardsmen, two Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) Technoserve and Synergos Nigeria have concluded a two-day Conflict Management and Resolution training for stakeholders from Kaduna, Benue and Kogi States for effective interventions in Farmers, Herders conflicts

The training workshop under the auspices of the State Partnership for Agriculture (SPA) which ended on Sunday in Keffi, Nasarawa State.

The participants who were trained on application of 10 modules of conflict resolution expressed delight that they were now better equipped to handle conflicts of interests between the two warring sides.

The participants were drawn from the Ministries of Agriculture, Fadama and other key departments, Parastatals, security agencies and the media from the three states.

A consultant with Technoserve,Dr Joseph Shopade, called on government and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector to address the Farmers/Herdsmen clashes hostilities  through  removal of the layers of issues that engender the conflicts.

The conflict resolution expert said the Onion Model approach was the best option as it enabled resolution of the issues that resulted in the crisis which were mostly threat to livelihood of the parties.

Also speaking, Dr Stephen Faleti, a research fellow at the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan, said escalation dynamics were ignored at the onset of conflicts.

Faleti said there must have been early warning signals which were ignored or not adequately addressed.

Prof. Ayo Hammed, a Counseling and Personnel Psychologist said there was need for proper understanding of the background of the conflicts and involvement of various primary and secondary (shadow) parties.

He said every conflict provided opportunities for positive development urged the participants to deploy the techniques and strategies learnt to resolve or address conflict situations.

Mr Obosi Philip, Technoserve Project Coordinator for the State Partnership for Agriculture (SPA) said the workshop was informed by the  prevailing clashes in Benue and parts of Kogi and Kaduna States.

“We deem it fit to have this workshop to re-orientate decision makers in key agricultural sectors as well as security officers on how to mediate and bring about peaceful resolution.

“It also enables the participants to mediate in conflict situations in rural areas  because it is affecting the overall agricultural production and key value chains in those states”, Phillip said.

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