To end the protracted farmer-herder crisis in the struggle for natural resources in communities, the International Organisation for Migration, (IOM), in partnership with Search for Common Ground and Mercy Corps Nigeria, has tasked stakeholders and the government to put in place mechanisms towards mitigating crisis, peacebuilding and natural resources management.
Deputy Chief of Mission IOM, Murima Prestage, made the call yesterday in Abuja during the third high-level steering committee meeting of the European union-funded project tagged “Contributing to the Mitigation of conflict over natural resources between farmer and herder Communities in Adamawa State, (COMITAS), being Implemented by the consortium.
She said the COMITAS project implementation has continued to engage all stakeholders which include the government agencies leaders and the affected communities towards finding lasting solutions to the conflict.
Prestage who was represented by COMITAS project manager, Amos Nderi, pointed out that among the achievements of COMITAS is the establishment of the Transhumance Information Management System (TIMS), in 51 communities in five Local Government Areas, (LGAs), of Adamawa state, 11 policy dialogues that were attended by over 400 community members and local government officials as part of the project’s objective of building trust between the communities and the authorities to mention a few.
“The peace platforms established by the consortium during the project conducted over 300 meetings and dialogues which helps in building the social cohesion between farmer and herder communities in Adamawa state.
“In the past two years, IOM has been working with Search for Common Ground and Mercy Corps to ensure that the COMITAS project is implemented to meet the set objectives and to do so efficiently and effectively. I am happy to report that the consortium has indeed succeeded in completing its activities and is meeting its objectives,” she said.
She said a Quick Impact Project, (QIP), was conducted in the selected communities that included the provision of solar-powered motorized boreholes and tree planting campaigns as efforts in contributing to sustainable natural resource management and climate change adaptation which in her opinion, will help produce the conflict arising from natural resources control.
Presenting a progress report of the project to stakeholders, Nderi said increased insecurity due to banditry and terrorism, has increased migration hence, conflict for natural resources.
He listed environmental degradation, trading in charcoal, underemployment, the politicisation of the crisis and drug abuse among the youths as factors worsening the conflicts.
Nderi noted that some of the impacts of the project are “improved social cohesion resulting in reduced conflicts, improved awareness on climate change, improved trust in authorities and increased understanding of the crisis by all stakeholders,” among others.
Adamawa state governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, said some of the factors that have continued to fuel the crisis between farmers and herders in the state include climate change impact, population increase and natural resources control among others. He was represented by the Director of Animal Husbandry Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Winner Solarin.
To ensure the sustainability of peace in affected communities, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Office of the Vice President, Dr Andrew Kwasari said it is very important that the program continues because it has yielded positive results in helping deal with the problem of farmers and herders conflict.