The Forum on Farmer-Herder Relations in Nigeria (FFARN), a network of academics, practitioners and selected policymakers with peacebuilding mandate condemns in strongest term, the attacks on communities in Barkin Ladi, Riyom, Bassa and Jos South local government areas of Plateau state.
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 fact that acts of criminality of this nature go unpunished has continued to embolden criminals to act with impunity, which is becoming a major defining feature of their operations. The blurry lines between the conflict and criminal activities need proper investigation for effective delineation of the two and appropriate response.
We hereby recommend:
• 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.
Signed: Convener, Search for Common Ground
Members of FFARN:
- Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development (AAIPSD), Niger state
- Centre for Conflict Management and Peace Studies, University of Jos
- Centre for Ethno-Religious and Peace Studies, Federal University, Wukari, Taraba
- Centre for Peace and Development Studies, Benue State University,
- Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ilorin
- Conflict, Peace and Security Program, Department of Political Science, Kaduna State University
- Institute for Peace Studies and Social Rehabilitation, University of Abuja
- Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan
- Veritas University, Abuja
- Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR)
- Plateau Peacebuilding Agency
- Kaduna State Peace Commission
- Department of Partnership, Peace and Conflict Resolution (PPCR) National Commission for Nomadic Education
- Peace and Conflict Management Unit, Nigeria security and Civil Defense Corps
- Centre for Women, Youth and Community Action (NAWYCA)
- Civil Organisations Research Advocacy and Funding Initiatives Development (CORAFID)
- Innovative Strategy for Human Development
- Interfaith Mediation Center
- Pastoralist Resolve (PARE)
- Peace and Security Network
- Search for Common Ground (SFCG)
- Society for Peace Studies and Practice (SPSP)
- Selected Independent Gender, Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding Experts and Media partner-Global Sentinel