Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos has advised the Federal Government to support farmers and herders with incentives as a way of addressing the continuous clashes between them in some parts of the country.
Kaigama who is the President, Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), gave the advice while speaking to newsmen on Monday in Jos.
The prelate described the farmers and the herders as “vital aspects” of our existence that needed serious attention from the three tiers of government.
He said the clashes that usually erupted between the two groups were because government had over time concentrated on oil, and neglected the agricultural sector.
“As a nation, we cannot afford to neglect these two groups.
“While the farmers produce enough food for us to consume, the herders produce beef and other nutrients from their cattle for the consumption of the public.
“They are both vital aspects of our existence; but because we concentrate too much on oil, these groups are often alienated, margnalised or treated with indifference.
“I urge the Federal Government to invest heavily in supporting these groups; in fact, huge amount should be budgeted for, to ensure herders have all it takes in rearing their animals.
“Also, the government should provide farmers with good and modern agricultural tools alongside soft loans to enable them produce enough food that we will consume and even export.
“It is my firm belief that when government is able to meet the needs of the two groups, the incessant attacks and counter attacks between them will die a natural dead,” the cleric said.
Kaigma said that Nigeria oil might finish one day but the farmers and herders would remain the nation’s assets.
He appealed to the government to give attention to the two groups to ease their sufferings and thereby cultivate harmonious existence between them.
The cleric urged the two groups to live in peace with each other, as only through peace that the society would experience growth and development.