‘Farmers, herders crisis: What Tinubu said’ (A Must Read)


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All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has faulted the response of Afenifere chieftain, Yinka Odumakin, to his (Tinubu’s) suggestions for peaceful resolution of clashes between herdsmen and farmers across the country.

At a national summit on conflict resolution in Abuja, organised by The Nation and TV Continental, with the theme: Towards an Enduring Peace, Asiwaju Tinubu said: “The government must help herders gradually shift from their traditional nomadic existence to a more static lifestyle. We have to face the reality that modernity is making the nomadic way counterproductive and inefficient.

“Unoccupied, isolated land can quickly be turned into grazing areas in the affected states. In the long run, this will enable herders to better maintain their livestock and thus their own livelihood.” But in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, Afenifere said the APC stalwart’s proposal was unacceptable.

It said: “The attention of Afenifere has been drawn to the statement credited to former Lagos State governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, that the herdsmen terror being witnessed across the country is a fallout of water scarcity and that the country should ‘convert unused land to grazing reserves’.

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“Since most of the states in the country are being affected, it is sad that Tinubu is adumbrating the Miyetti Allah position to convert the entire country into one huge cattle colony. We totally reject this position as it is very backward in modern time and contrary to the consensus of all peace-loving Nigerians that what we need to solve the herdsmen siege on farmers is to have ranches.”

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Responding yesterday to Afenifere’s statement, Asiwaju Tinubu’s media aide, Sunday Dare, said: “The only deserving response to Yinka Odumakin is that he suffers from selective amnesia. The range of short and long-term options offered by Tinubu is in the suggestions for the consideration of the two-day summit. It did not mention Southwest in particular; what he said had a context.

“‘Unoccupied, isolated land can quickly be turned into grazing areas in the affected states’,” he had said. “It is not only some Southwest states that are affected but several other states across the country. Why Odumakin suddenly gets hot under the collar may not be far-fetched. The usual frenzy and self-righteous mentality he portrays is on full display.

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“Perhaps next time, he should read through the whole submission and caution himself from self-righteousness and displaying in full glare anarchical emotions. And if Odumakin can still read, perhaps a read though a larger size of what was said by Tinubu below will educate him better.”

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In the short term, Asiwaju Tinubu said: “The violence has thankfully subsided. Government must sustain wise policy and action to keep peace and prevent violent recurrences.

“Government must maintainn reasonable and effective military and law enforcement presence in the affected areas. This presence should work with leaders of both the herder and farmer communities as well as traditional and religious leaders.

“Government should develop a comprehensive remedial/rehabilitation strategy for victims of the violent crisis. “Government must help herders gradually shift from their traditional nomadic existence to a more static lifestyle. We have to face the reality that modernity is making the nomadic way counterproductive and inefficient.

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“Unoccupied, isolated land can quickly be turned into grazing areas in the affected states. “In the long run, this will enable to herders to better maintain their livestock and thus their own livelihoods. “Government should establish a permanent panel as a forum for farmers and herders to discuss their concerns and identify ways to mitigate contention. This will also help educate the general public.”

In the long term, he added: “Nigeria needs to take the lead for Africa in international for dealing with climate change. “Water catchment and conservation systems must be developed. This includes the prudent use of dams and irrigation sub-systems maintainable at the local level.

“More water-efficient farming techniques must be employed. “Projects to protect the land for additional desertification must take adequate priority. “These recommendations are suggestive and not at all comprehensive. However, I think they convey the idea that dealing with the immediate crisis is essential.

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“But we also must position ourselves to deal with these larger forces which are at the deepest root of this challenge. If we cannot get to this root, our short-term efforts may be successful but over time they will be of decreasing utility. “This is a problem that is mostly not of your doing but one that you must solve for the future of this nation and its people.

“If you allow your greatness as a nation to show, you shall succeed in securing the benefits of a good life and suitable environment people for generations to come. That is the Nigeria I see and believe in.”

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