The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has professed that a federal government agency that would regulate the activities of herdsmen in the country is the best strategy to curtail herders- farmers clashes in the country. He, therefore, advised the federal government to consider floating such an agency.
Malami said this while delivering his address as a special guest of honour at the Peace, Unity, and Security Lecture Series at the ECOWAS main auditorium, Abuja on Tuesday.
The minister admitted that the crisis between the herders and farmers had become a pressing issue and steps were needed to tackle it.
He also said there was a need to revitalise the Nomadic Education Commission.
He stated, “Nigeria is predominately agricultural in nature and by geography. To that extent, there is constant mobility of herders across the different belts of Nigeria. It is perhaps time to consider the setting-up of a commission for pastoralism regulated by law.
“This might provide recipes for resolving protracted farmer-herder conflicts. The commission may even engage in or facilitate in-depth analytical studies with a view to providing lasting solutions for the benefit of people and the country.”
He also called for the “revamping of the activities of the Nomadic Education Commission with a view to complementing the efforts of the government in resolving the farmer-herder clashes.”
Malami restated the commitment of the Federal Government in supporting initiatives and programmes that would help resolve the lingering farmer-herder crises in the country.
The AGF argued that some of the ways for a peaceful Nigeria include strict adherence to the rule of law, respecting the sanctity of the fundamental human rights in all ramifications, including freedom of movement and the right of citizens to stay at whatever part of the country they choose to and other provisions as contained in Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria remain fulcrum for a peaceful society.
The minister said the farmer-herder crisis is real, adding that it requires real-time and practically-oriented solutions.
He stated, “The better approach towards resolving the crisis over the short, medium and long terms is to directly involve the stakeholders in coming up with solutions at the conception, implementation and monitoring phases.”
Malami also recommended the creation of regulated grazing reserves to replace the “Burtali” or “Hurumi” pastoral system.
He called for the “intensive enlightenment to livestock breeders on the need for sedentary farming and transhumance agriculture as a complementary economic process to nomadic farming.”
The minister further recommended the provision of water holes in remote grazing locations, subsidised veterinary care, and mobile ambulatory services for surgeries and other medical interventions for livestock.
He said there was also a need for the provision of infrastructure – social amenities, educational facilities, and cattle markets at central locations to accelerate nomadic settlements.