Dr Andrew Kwasari, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, on Thursday said over 10 states are ready to implement the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).
Kwasari made this known at an “Experience Sharing and Learning Conference on Farmer and Herder Conflicts in Nigeria” organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in Abuja.
He said it was important that the media explained to Nigerians that NLTP is a government brainchild to be implemented over 10 years collaboratively with all states.
According to him, the NLTP has six pillars that cover anything around justice, security, livelihood, peace, reconciliation and economic development in a systematic way that covers the interest of our pastoralists and crop farmers.
“So far, all the 19 northern governors have solely committed to the NLTP and have found a location; they want to work to remodel the grazing reserves as areas for livestock production. Surveys have gone out; we are clear that surveys around specific grazing reserves are completed for Gombe, Adamawa, Nassarawa, and Plateau”.
Other states are on line; “Taraba will start soon; Niger and Benue have started too, all in conjunction with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and other partners. In other regions, I have seen Anambra, Ebonyi have written and are willing to go ahead. I have also seen Ondo, Ekiti, Edo and almost all the governors believe in the NLTP.’’
This, Kwasari said, was because it allowed governors to implement in line with the realities of their own situation so there was no one side fits all.
He added that what was fixed, however, was that all states should approach the implementation in a holistic manner not leaving out any of the six pillars to resolve the farmers/herders’ conflict and restore peace in the communities.
Dr Chris Kwaja, Adviser of the project on farmers and herder of CDD, said that the essence of the meeting was to take stock of the level of intervention in terms of the farmers and herders’ conflict in Nigeria.
Kwaja explained that there was a security issue, a livelihood issue and also a relationship issue all encompassed in the crisis.
“So we are dealing with three fundamental issues that are mutually reinforcing because if you deal with the relationship of farmer-herder you are also helping to support the livelihood dimension because they are involved in production of food as well as meat. If you deal with livelihood issues, you are also dealing with security issues and when you deal with security issues, you are also addressing a more fundamental issue that affects the Nigerian economy.
“So the whole essence for us is, one, to sit as stakeholders and look at what each actor is doing, governments at all levels, CSOs, and look at what communities are also doing outside government’s intervention”.
According to Kwaja, the farmer/herder conflict is mutating into criminality adding that cattle rustling, destruction of crops, deadly attacks on communities by criminals have made the situation to be quite complex and problematic.
He said that from the findings from the conference, the stakeholders would be able to come up with more practical policy and research recommendations in terms of pragmatic intervention in responding to the complex issue.
Earlier, Ms Idayat Hassan, Director, CDD represented by Mr Shamsudeen Yusuf, Senior Programmes Officer, said that the conference was organised to create awareness among people on the journey so far in terms of implementation of the NLTP.
Hassan said it was to also help people know how they could come in as critical stakeholders to provide support for effective implementation and also to further generate conversation around it, identifying gaps and recommendations.
She said CDD carried out a research to look at the emerging concerns, particularly with regard to the prevalence of banditry, to see how that had contributed to the farmers/herders’ conflict.
This, she said, would help to drum the importance on how to build cohesion among farmers and herders and the need to work together to confront their common enemy.