Echoes from national confab on livestock reforms, farmer/herder clashes

– dailytrust

February 20, 2023

Over 500 participants drawn from various fields of human endeavours converged in Abuja last Monday and Tuesday to brainstorm on ways to reform the livestock sector and mitigate the increasing cases of farmer/herder clashes in the country.

The event with the theme, ‘Sustainable Livestock Reforms and Mitigation of Associated Conflicts in Nigeria’, was organised and sponsored by the Kano State government.

The conference was well-attended by eminent Nigerians including the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar; Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State; Vice President, Islamic Development Bank, Dr Mansur  Muhtar; Kano deputy governor and the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Kano State, Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna; and a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, who was chairman of the organising committee.

Others were the Registrar/CEO of the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science, Abuja, Prof. E. A. Iyayi; Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, the Emir of Kano; representative of the Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development; the representative of the Senate President Ahmad Lawan; and representatives of civil society organisations and development partners.

The confab featured paper presentations, followed by panel discussions by scholars, professionals, makers, captains of industry and practitioners in the field of agricultural development, value chain specialists and researchers in diverse fields of animal production.

Daily Trust reports that the main aim of the confab was to deliberate on farmer/herder clashes and provide solutions to the age-long problems associated with it.

It was also targeted at proposing the way forward for the economic development of the livestock sector and the need for a deliberate policy that would enhance activities in the sector for the good of the nation.

Stakeholders at the event said the confab was apt, considering the negative consequences of the farmer/herder clashes on the socio-economic life of the nation and the current waves of insecurity in the nation.

The participants commended the Kano State government and particularly, Governor Ganduje for the initiative.

Daily Trust reports that the farmer/herder clashes have led to the death of many Nigerians in some states of the federation, especially in the northern region.

The crisis has undermined agricultural production and compromised the nation’s food security.

The experts argued that it has contributed to rising food prices as some farmers have abandoned farming in some parts of the country for their safety.

It was toward proffering solution to the problem that Governor Ganduje constituted a high-powered committee, headed by a former chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, to organise the conference.

Speaking at the event, the governor identified politics, climate change, weak state institutions and lack of infrastructure as major factors fueling herder/farmer clashes.

Ganduje said while the teething problems between herders and farmers that were ignored over the years snowballed into armed banditry ravaging the country, it is still not too late to work out plans and strategies to end the conflicts.

The governor said, “Modernising the livestock sector is not only key to resolving the herder/farmer conflicts, but was envisaged that this economic investment pillar will support and strengthen the development of market-driven ranches for improved livestock production through breed improvement and pasture production.

“There is therefore the need for aiding information, education and strategic communication on the development of grazing reserves to mitigate the consequences of these conflicts.

“It is also very important that we must also avoid the dangers of allowing these conflicts to harden to religious or ethnic conflicts. This is the responsibility of political, religious and all other parts of our leadership elite in Nigeria.

“We must also intensify existing collaboration with our neighbours, especially border communities, to prevent the movement of small arms, and disarm armed pastoralists and bandits who go through our borders day after day.”

Leave politics out of it – Sultan

Speaking at the event, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, said the crisis should not be politicised, stressing that all stakeholders must work together and embrace dialogue to resolve it.

He said, “We need dialogue to resolve the farmers/herders clashes. There is nothing more than dialogue. Forget about politics. Some governors will say they own the land; forget about politics. Politics cannot take you anywhere. After eight years you will go but the people will remain there.

“So let’s do the best we can to end this issue. Whatever we agree to do here, please, let’s do it.”

Sultan said a report containing recommendations on how to deal with the issue was submitted to former President Goodluck Jonathan after a parley between the Tiv and Fulani herders, and stressed the need to review the document for implementation.

Growing number of casualties major concern – Dr. Muhtar

The Vice President, Islamic Development Bank, Dr Mansur  Muhtar, in his opening remarks said, the most significant issue of concern is the growing number of casualties associated with the clashes.

He identified climate change, the ECOWAS Transhumance protocol, to which Nigeria is a signatory, and protocol that guarantees the free movement of pastoralists and herders across the subregion as well as legal and legislative inconsistencies including the tensions between the 1964 Grazing Reserves Act and the 1978 Land Use Act as factors necessitating the clashes.

He said, “Between 2016 and now, at least 4,000 people lost their lives in these conflicts, with several thousand others sustaining injuries, both physical and emotional. While fatalities were initially confined to the North Central, they have since spread across the country increasing pre-existing religious and ethnic tensions.

“In addition to the unfortunate loss of lives, this conflict has often been manifested by an increasing number of internally displaced persons, leading to the breakdown of family units, the bedrock of our society, and disruption in education, especially for young girls.”

Why confab is necessary – Jega

The chairman organising committee and former chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru, said the conference was designed as an all-inclusive process to generate ideas that would contribute to addressing the farmer/herder clashes in the country.

He said, “Pertinent questions requiring cogent and realistic answers include, what model(s) of reforms are desirable and sustainable? How can the traditional livestock production and development sector be suitably reformed, with remarkable and sustainable value-addition to Nigeria’s economic growth and enhanced peaceful coexistence amongst diverse Nigerian communities?

“Finding answers to these questions and situating them appropriately within the policy and governance frameworks of the Nigerian federation, requires putting all hands on deck by the best of the best of our resource persons, theorists and practitioners alike.”


In a communiqué signed by Jega, the chairman of the organising committee, and made available to Daily Trust on Thursday, the confab advocated a review of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) and other similar programmes and broadening the development options with clear funding framework and mechanisms to ensure effective implementation, supported by strong political will.

Part of the communiqué reads, “There is the need to deploy innovative and adaptable technologies grounded in scientific and indigenous people’s knowledge, jointly designed and implemented with strong producers’ participation.

“Such livestock production practices should lead to increased crops-livestock integration, development of grazing reserves, establishment of smallholder and commercial dairy and beef farms, establishment of ranches, breeds improvement, establishment of pastures and feedlots and management of livestock migration, among other development strategies.

“Strengthen the role of traditional rulers and community leaders in managing the affairs of farmers and herders including the sustenance of inter-communal relations for effective management of disputes and conflicts.

“Strengthen peace-building interventions at all levels among farmers and herders by adopting proactive early warning and early response mechanisms. It will also include adoption of alternative dispute resolution and training of community leaders and other community gatekeepers on techniques of mediation.

“Work out practical mechanisms for increased and viable private sector investments in the agricultural and pastoral production industry with framework for strengthening backyard integration in the livestock value chains.

“Media organisations need to create awareness at all levels that will promote inclusive communities, strengthen harmonious relations to encourage government and private sector investments for cohesive societies and improved productivity. Similarly, profiling and reportage that malign socio-economic and ethnic groups need to be avoided.

“UN agencies, bilateral institutions, regional organisations (AU and ECOWAS), national and international CSOs and other support organisations should increase the level of funding and support to the government of Nigeria in mitigating the impact of climate change, addressing technology gaps, addressing poverty and skills gap and improving people’s livelihoods.

“Agricultural and pastoralists organisations, cooperative societies and relevant producer associations and professional bodies need to be supported for improved productivity.

“There is the need to revisit and review sub-national, national and regional laws, legislations and policies to make applicable reforms for improving livestock production and addressing conflicts.

“There is the need to adopt Climate Smart Agricultural (CSA) practices, including the adoption of an integrated approach to managing landscapes of croplands, rangelands, forests and fisheries that address the interlinks between the quest for food security and mitigation of the challenges of climate change.

“There is the need to strengthen and improve the security architecture for the prevention of violent crimes including cattle rustling, raiding of villages, kidnapping of persons for ransom and trade in illicit arms and drugs.

“There is the need to reform the security and judicial architectures to ensure the curtailing of farmer-herder conflicts, cattle rustling, illegal arms trade, importation and proliferation in the country.

“Political leaders at all levels need to refrain from politicising the issue of farmer/herder conflicts and other associated issues while pursuing inclusive processes that will strengthen unity and cooperation in the country.”

Daily Trust reports that the participants at the conference were unanimous that the implementation of the resolutions will reform the nation’s livestock sector and mitigate farmer/herder clashes in the country.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.