Farmers/ herders’ crisis must stop, says Tinubu

March 14, 2021
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 National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, has called for unity and deci­siveness to tackle the un­abated farmer-herders’ crisis in the country.

Tinubu, in a statement on Saturday by his Media Aide, Tunde Rahman, said that the herder-farmer dis­pute had taken an acute and violent dimensions and had cost too many in­nocent lives, while destroy­ing the property and liveli­hoods of many others.

According to him, as vital as security is to the resolution of this matter, the nation must realise security measures alone would not suffice.

He said that enhanced security might be the nec­essary first step, but it could not be the only step.

“This matter is not eth­nic in factual origin or ac­tual causation, although in the minds and hearts of too many, it has become ethnic in recrimination and impulsive action.

“There have been spo­radic disputes in the past, but this one is more severe. The reasons for the great­er violence of this current dispute are myriad,” Tinu­bu said.

According to him, farm­ers have a right to farm their land unmolested and herders have a right to raise their livestock with­out undue interference.

He, however, added that when conflict between these groups arises to such an extent, the nation must set forth clear principles and policies to remove the tension in order to allow both to proceed toward their stated goals, to live in harmony and according to their respective rights.

“To destroy the crops or seize the property of the innocent farmer or herder is nothing if not an act of criminality,” he said.

Tinubu noted that unoc­cupied public land could be fenced into grazing areas or ranches and leased to herders on a very low-cost, nominal basis.

He added that the leas­ing is not intended to pe­nalise herders, rather the nominal fee should be in­tended to ensure the herd­ers were invested in the project and incentivised to use the land provided.

Tinubu said this aspect would also mitigate any resentment over herders being given land for free.

He urged the govern­ment to also assist farm­ers increase productivity by providing subvention for their acquisition of fertiliser, equipment and machinery.

He said this could be done by establishing com­modity boards to guaran­tee minimum prices for important crops.

Tinubu said in the medi­um to long term, resourc­es must be dedicated to establishing better irriga­tion and water catchment systems to further improve farm productivity and mit­igate the dire impact of flood.

He stressed the need to establish a permanent pan­el in each state as a forum for farmers, herders, se­curity officials and senior state officials to discuss their concerns, mitigate contention and identify trouble before it erupts.

According to him, the crisis gas aggravated eth­nic sentiment and political tension and despite the ef­forts of some of those in positions of high responsi­bility and public trust, the crisis has not significantly abated.

“Sadly, others who should know better have incited matters by tossing about hate-tainted state­ments that fall dangerous­ly short of the leadership these people claim to pro­vide.

“Because of the vio­lence that has ensued and the fretful consequences of such violence if left unabated, we must move in unison, but decisively to end the spiral of death and destruction.

“Only when the violence and the illogic of it are halted can logic and reason prevail. Until the violence is rolled back, we cannot resolve the deep problems that underlie this conflict.

“We will neither be able to uplift the farmer from his impoverished toil nor move the herder toward the historic transforma­tion which he must make,” Tinubu said.

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