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OP-UNEDITED | Roadmap to Ending Herdsmen Violence in Nigeria – By Shehu Sani

By Shehu Sani

There is need for the federal government to urgently convoke a national security conference to address the spiralling herdsmen-farming communities violence, and the summit should include representatives from Miyetti Allah Fulani Association, Association of Nigerian Farmers, federal and state ministries of agriculture, and of environment, security agencies, traditional rulers, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo, middle belt groups, representatives of communities along grazing routes, the Nigeria Immigration Service and representatives of state and federal parliaments.

The summit should aim at proffering short and long term solutions to the incessant violence, killings and rustling activities attributed to some herdsmen, and it should unfold lasting socio-economic, security and ecological solutions to the crisis.

The need to immediately set up seven grazing reserves in the states of Niger, Nasarawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Bauchi, Kaduna and Sokoto will significantly stem the movement of herdsmen southwards and drastically curtail the incidences of violent clashes with communities across the country. The grazing reserves should be jointly managed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, National Livestock Association, universities of agriculture and the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association.

There’s an immediate need to set up a National Joint Task Force on Cattle Traffic Movement (NATFOC) made up of the police, army, civil defence corps, Department of State Services, Nigeria Customs, Immigration and the Nigeria Satellite Telecommunications commission, which would be mandated to monitor, trail and track the movements of herdsmen through modern technology and other means of communication, in order to ensure that they operate within the confines of the law, and that their cattle, and also farm settlements are well protected. NATFOC should also be mandated to disarm all herdsmen.

There is the need to document, register and issue identification cards to herdsmen; and the federal government, through federal and state ministries of agriculture and the Cattle Breeders Association, should embark on this on a national level. This will stem the activities of violent criminals who masquerade as herdsmen to unleash violence against innocent and vulnerable communities.

Moreover, there is the need to engage the ECOWAS member nations and Central African nations in the drive to end the menace of herdsmen violence holistically.

Shehu Sani represents Kaduna Central in Nigeria’s Eight Senate.

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