Insecurity: Malami Recommends Setting Up Commission For Herdsmen

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, has recommended the establishment of a Commission for Pastoralism as part of measures geared towards effectively addressing the farmer/herder conflict across Nigeria.

Malami made this known while speaking as Special Guest of Honor during the Peace, Unity and Security Lecture Series 2021 held at the Abuja main auditorium of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The chief law officer of the federation said since the movement of herders had come to stay, it was necessary for a commission to be set up with specific emphasis on providing favourable conditions so that those concerned can live peaceably and progress in their endeavours as well.

“Nigeria is predominately agricultural in nature and by geography. To that extent, there is constant mobility of herders across the different belts of Nigeria. It is, perhaps, time to consider setting-up of a commission for pastoralism regulated by law. This might provide recipes for resolving protracted farmer-herder conflicts. The Commission may even engage in or facilitate in-depth analytical studies with a view to providing lasting solutions for the benefit of people and the country,” he said.

He also frowned at calls in some quarters for the eviction of some ethnic groups from their states of residence, saying the calls contravened Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He added that the fundamental human right of Nigerians included “freedom of movement and the right of citizens to stay at whatever part of the country they choose to” among others.

Malami said that government could also explore the need to set up regulated grazing reserves to replace the “Burtali” or “Hurumi” pastoral system.

He stressed that while the federal government should make adequate fund available for the herding business, a sensitization programme ought to be put in place to encourage Nigerians to see themselves as brothers and sisters.

He further made the following recommendations: “Intensive enlightenment to livestock breeders on the need for sedentary farming and transhumance agriculture as complimentary economic process to nomadic farming.

“Provision of water holes in remote grazing locations, subsidized veterinary care and mobile ambulatory services for surgeries and other medical interventions for livestock.

“Provision of infrastructure – social amenities, educational facilities and cattle markets at central locations to accelerate nomadic settlements.

“Educating communities on the need for peaceful co-existence; after all these communities have lived harmoniously side by side and even intermarried for generations.

“Community engagement fora for bridge-building in community relations.

“Revamping of the activities of the Nomadic Education Commission with a view to complimenting the efforts of government in resolving the farmer-herder clashes.”

His recommendations came days after some Hausa and Yoruba youths clashed in Shasha market in Akinyele Local Government Area, Oyo state.

The governor of the state, Seyi Makinde, had also directed the establishment of a judicial panel to probe the matter.