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Climate change responsible for herdsmen/farmers clashes; Summit to resolve crisis on the way

Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, Interior Minister
Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, Interior Minister
Chief Audu Ogbeh, Agric Minister
Chief Audu Ogbeh, Agric Minister

Climate change and its devastating effects on the environment, has been blamed for the herdsmen/farmers clashes in parts of the country, which have led to the death of many people.
A highly placed presidency source told globalpatriotnews.com in Abuja that the climate change phenomenon, caused by global warming, which has brought with it massive deforestation, desertification and wide spread erosion has led to a scramble for fast depleting and increasingly scarce resources, resulting in often violent conflicts.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, said that as the desert encroaches on large swathes of what was hitherto lush grazing lands in the northern parts of Nigeria and neighbouring countries, herdsmen instinctively moved further into the middle belt region and the south where they expect to find pasture to graze their herds, and because erosion has also eaten deep into what used to be fertile, arable lands used for farming in these middle belt and southern communities, a bitter struggle for what is left ensues and violent clashes become inevitable.
According to him, this situation calls for urgent measures, on the part of government and other stakeholders, to frontally address the challenge posed by climate change even as efforts are being made to stop the clashes.
He said there must be conscious and determined efforts to drive back the desert through massive tree planting campaigns, intensive irrigation programmes and other measures that would return vegetation to the areas that had been taken over by sand dunes in the north while more rigorous efforts must be made to control the erosion of farmlands in the middle belt and southern parts of the country.
While this is being done, however, he said that a town hall dialogue is being planned by the government which would involve, not only stakeholders in Nigeria but those from other Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, member nations to fashion out a lasting solution to the clashes.
According to the senior official of government, the ECOWAS Protocol on free movement has given herders from ECOWAS member nations the license to enter Nigeria’s territory, stressing that since nothing can be legally done to stop them at the borders, the only option would be to create reception centres for them around the border posts from where they can be made to proceed in an orderly manner into the country.
At such reception centres, he further said, government would be able to screen the herders to ensure that none of them is allowed to carry weapons into the country.
The certified conflict manager regretted that clearly mapped out routes for herders and their herds were no more in existence as before, which he also traced to the climate change challenge, insisting that there must be a well co-ordinated response to the crisis.
He said, for instance, that the issues of ranching and grazing reserves that have become controversial must be dispassionately trashed out, confirming that an inter-ministerial and international dialogue is being put together to address all the problems identified as being at the root of the herdsmen/farmers clashes.
He said that the dialogue would involve herdsmen, farmers, security agencies, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, representatives of ECOWAS member countries and other identified stakeholders, stressing that what must be uppermost in the minds of participants at the dialogue would be the fact that both the farmers and herdsmen should be able to carry out their businesses in safety.

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