Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former military ruler, has said that Nigeria loses not less than $13.7bn yearly as a result of farmers and herdsmen’s conflicts in Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Plateau states.
Abubakar disclosed this at a forum organised by the Search for Common Ground, Nigeria, in collaboration with the Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development.
The forum was organised for farmers and herdsmen at Maizube Farm in the Bosso local government area of Niger state on Monday.
He said 2,500 people died nationwide in farmers and herdsmen’s conflicts.
He commended the Search for Common Ground for initiating the forum with a view to building synergy between the academia and practitioners, as well as to generate evidence for policy-making on farmers and herdsmen’s conflicts in Nigeria.
Abubakar said the initiative would further reduce farmers and herdsmen’s conflicts in Nigeria through a holistic interrogation of issues critical to resolving the conflicts in Nigeria and Africa.
He added that the initiative would enhance and boost relationships that had existed between the two interdependent groups and reduce the impacts of the conflicts on the affected communities.
He said, “Farmers and herdsmen’s conflicts have become a threat to peace, security and development of our nation.
“This meeting is coming at a critical time when farmers and herders’ conflicts have become an issue of global concern.”
Abubakar said the worry had heightened “with the recent crises in Plateau, Benue and other states that led to loss of lives, properties, displacement of persons and families, and untold hardships to communities and individuals affected.
“These deadly conflicts are expanding gradually to other states, and the current situation is threatening the fragile peace and security of the nation.”
Abubakar called on the forum and other relevant stakeholders to come up with suggestions, including the roles of governments, the civil society, the media, traditional rulers, communities and professionals, in addressing the conflicts.
He advised stakeholders to strengthen the capacities of organisations working with farmers and herdsmen, women, communities and youths in addressing their needs.