Chairman of Igalamela-Odolu Local Government Council of Kogi State, Onoja James has fingered some traditional rulers and community leaders in the lingering clashes between herdsmen and farmers in their domains across the country.
Onoja James, who spoke today, November 23 at an Inclusive Forum for Accountable Society (IFAS) in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, said that some traditional rulers are fund of collecting money from herders to allocate lands to them.
He added that the herders would subsequently lay claim to such land and assume absolute control of the area, thereby hindering farming and other productive activities.
This was even as the stakeholders appealed to the federal government to declare a State of Emergency on herders and farmers clashes to avert food crisis.
The stakeholders observed that the crisis had been allowed to linger for too long and affected almost every sector of the economy.
The meeting was organised by three development partners, ActionAid Nigeria, Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) and Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund.
St the meeting, Ms. Halima Sadiq, Executive Director, PIBCID, said the declaration of a state of emergency is necessary because livelihoods of community members were at stake.
“We have been talking about zero-hunger in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and we are also talking about boosting agriculture by promoting women and youth participation.
“We know that 75 per cent to 85 per cent of rural dwellers are farmers while the remaining 15 per cent engage in passive farming.
“When you destroy farmers’ crops and take their lands from them, it affects their livelihoods.”
The Chairman of IFAS, Hamza Aliyu, called on Nigerians to stop denigrating ethnic nationalities over farmers-herders clashes as “not all herders are Fulani and not all Fulani are herders.’’
He said that disparaging an entire race over negative activities of a few was not a healthy approach to solving the problem.
“The security problem is not between Fulani and farmers but between herders and farmers.”
Aliyu expressed regret that herders-farmers clashes have assumed a national dimension.
“We are proposing a State of Emergency to government to bring in the needed resources to solve this problem at once.
“Not just the finances, but the needed human resources; the critical thinking facility of the government to bear on this problem so that we can solve it once and for all.
“State of Emergency is not to shut down the democratic system or the civic space.
“It simply means we should be able to deploy resources to help the communities to install structures that will address the issues squarely.”