Says crises increasing hunger in villages
By Chinonso Alozie, Owerri
The Society for Conservation and Sustainability of Energy and Environment, SOCSEEN, has called on authorities to step up plans in establishing more dams as well as revamping the existing ones in the country.
The President of SOCSEEN, Mr. Uzodimma Adirieje, told South-East Voice in Owerri that the creation of dams could help to generate more green grasses for grazing activities which he said would stop completely the issue of ‘invasion’ by herdsmen and reported clashes with host communities.
Recall, South-East Voice had reported the several clashes between herders and their host communities in Imo State.
Out of the 27 local government areas of Imo State, some of them reportedly attacked were Owerri West, Ohaji/Egbema, Owerri North, Okigwe, and others.
Some of the cases are still being looked into by the various stakeholders of the affected communities.
Following the incidents, the communities have been living in fear over sudden attacks by suspected herdsmen.
As a result of this development and the fear of being killed, the villagers were said to have left their communities to safer environments till the troubles subside.
Not only that, the rural dwellers, peeved by what they described as continued attacks on their farms, protested to the Imo State House of Assembly, to lay their complaints.
Similar incidents have taken place in other states of the South-East zone.
However, Adirieje told South-East Voice that governments at all levels should be blamed for the inability to nip in the bud the problems which have risen from the ugly incidents of the farmers-herders clashes.
Adirieje further said that any responsible government ought to have ended the continued crises by simply looking into the solutions as well as taken urgent decisions to construct dams to forestall the dangerous trend.
He added that the inability of the government to establish dams had also forced the herdsmen to embark on migration in search of grazing opportunities.
He pointed out that the conflicts may not end as long as the government refuses to listen to the call for establishment of dams.
Adirieje noted that the failure to arrest the root causes of the crises through the management of the environment, had resulted to a lot of avoidable and ugly developments.
He explained that the activities of herdsmen had increased hunger in the land.
Apart from that, he also said that poor management of the environment may lead to increase in diseases as well as problems of inequality amongst women.
The environmental activist said that the issue of having more dams must be tackled first so as to end the negative impact on the society some of which are high mortality rate, communal conflicts, among others.
According to Adirieje: “When we protect out environment and adopt measures to face climate change, we will be able to tackle the problem of inequality, reduce conflicts like that of herders and farmers and reduce forced migration. “It is not every herdsman that really wants to move, some are are forced to move.
“Government, especially at the state level must produce sound urban planning. It is time to embrace transport systems that run on a low carbon because what we use now runs on high carbon which also generates its own problems in the society.
“That cycle of poverty and ill health induced by poor management of our environment and high carbon transport system, should be stopped. Government should promote low carbon system.”
If the government fails to do these things, according to Adirieje, “it will increase hunger among the populace. It will increase sickness, disease, gender inequality and make women more powerless.
“When they pesist, the women will continue to be at the receiving end. Of course, this leads to premature death, rancour among communities; things like herdsmen clashes with farmers; it increases the rate of death among animals, humans and plants.”
Looking at the consequences of the clashes between herders and farmers, he said: “It is our poor approach to environmental management that has led to the migration of herders.
“If we have managed all the dams that we have established in the north well and used them to irrigate farmlands and have a lot of greens here and there; herders would not have to migrate no matter what they think that their religion tells them.
“They can do only internal migration, from one green zone to the other. But it is because we have not been able to manage our dams and waterways very well that we were not able to irrigate green grass that these animals will be feeding on.
“So, it leads to all these unbridled migration that leads to the destruction of farmlands that should feed human beings. Ultimately, what we see is the result of our poor attitude to environmental management and lack of good biodiversity management. “Efforts should be made towards having renewable energy, energy efficiency, waterways management, forest management, including plastic pollution.
“All these serve to destroy our environment, kill our people, animals, plants, make us poorer and cause unmitigated and uncontrolled migration that has led to the clashes that you see.
“We have watched not helplessly but very embarrassingly how governments in Nigeria, including Imo State, have failed in their statutory responsibilities to protect the citizens and their environment.
“Look at our rivers, they are drying up because there is no arrangement to resupply them with water..”