Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) an International organisation says it will start peaceful mediation process between Benue and Nasarawa before the end of July to ensure lasting solution to endemic herder-farmer conflict.
Mr Babatunde Afolabi, the Country Director of the centre gave the assurance at a workshop organised for members of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) on Friday in Abuja.
The workshop is tagged: “Dialogue and negotiations: Why, when and how to be effective”.
Afolabi said that the organisation had in the past couple of month’s undertaken series of consultations across the three senatorial zones of Benue and Nasarawa in preparation for the peaceful process.
He stressed that the measure was aimed at resolving the farmer-herder conflict in the two states.
“Our sincere hope is that we will extend our mediation efforts beyond Benue and Nasarawa to the other frontline states in due course.
“We hope to achieve these in strict conformity with our overarching organisational principles of humanity, impartiality and confidentiality,” Afolabi said.
Afolabi said that the noble idea of coming together was to build and enhance the capacity of AFAN and MACBAN being key stakeholders in Nigeria’s socio-economic and political firmament.
He said the workshop was to ensure both parties obtained good appreciation of negotiation and dialogue as well as topical issues relevant to farmer-herder issues in the country.
The country director identified the capacity building as part of HD’s overarching strategy toward addressing the endemic farmer-herder conflicts which had had devastating impact upon the country, especially in the seven frontline states of Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara.
He said that the dialogue efforts were community-driven, enabling communities to be more directly involved in finding lasting solutions to their issues and concerns to build trust and confidence.
According to him, HD approach cuts across all levels of the society and in its efforts seeks to buy-in the support of key stakeholders including the federal, state and local government, business community, traditional rulers, community and religious leaders, women and youths.
“We are also actively engaged in the North East where ongoing projects focus on dialogue around intercommunal and interreligious issues, engagement with vigilante groups in terms of their interface with society and government.
“We are also engaging with religious and traditional authorities on proffering an alternative narrative or codified response to extremist ideology,” he said.
The country director lauded MACBAN for expressing readiness to engage with other principal stakeholders in the dialogue in order to resolve the farmer-herder crises.
“MACBAN during their training in the past few days also expressed willingness to embrace modern approaches to livestock production with support from government and private sector,” he said.