A group made up of academics, practitioners and selected policymakers with peace building mandate, under the umbrella of Forum on Farmer-Herder Relations in Nigeria (FFARN), has suggested some measures that should be taken by the federal and state government to resolve the lingering crisis that had led to killings of many people.
The group, which Condemned in strongest term, the recent attacks on communities in Barkin Ladi, Riyom, Bassa and Jos South local government areas of the state, insisted that the crisis is criminally motivated, adding that since such criminality had gone unpunished for a long time, the impunity had become a major defining feature of their operations.
“FFARN recognizes that the recent attacks is beyond farmer-herder conflict, however, embedded in this conflict is the question of criminality which is manifesting in form of attacks on communities, killing and stealing of cattle, destruction of farmlands and similar criminal activities.”
The group recommended the following measures for the resolution of the crisis and killings:
• That Plateau state government work with the federal government to put in place sustainable structures that address the underlying factors and drivers of the lingering conflict between farmers and herders in the state. An inclusive, all-people approach should be used to engage stakeholders to holistically address the drivers of the conflict.
• The Plateau State government in concert with the federal government, development partners, civil society, traditional and religious leaders among others should invest more resources in prevention of violent conflicts, conflict transformation and peacebuilding as well as humanitarian response, post-conflict rehabilitation and recovery targeted at rebuilding the lives and livelihoods of the affected populations.
• Noting that the security of citizens is the primary purpose and responsibility of the government, we hereby call on the federal government to in the short term deploy appropriate security measures to address the growing trend of criminality in rural communities which is challenging state’s capacity to secure its citizens. Security and governance structure should be strengthened at the local level to address some of the push and pull factors of criminality embedded in the farmer-herder conflicts.
• There is the need to arrest and prosecute of persons from all sides involved in these criminal acts of violence to serve as deterrence and break the culture of impunity that has continued to embolden the attackers.