Farmer-Herder Clash: Schol­ars, Prac­ti­tion­ers In­puts Ger­mane to Peace, Says Mulmi

THISDAY - - BUSINES SWORLD | DEVELOPMENT - Se­na­tor Iroegbu in Abuja

The Coun­try Di­rec­tor of Search for Com­mon Ground, Mr. Ra­jen­dra Mulmi, has said in­puts of schol­ars and prac­ti­tion­ers in the field of peace build­ing and con­flict res­o­lu­tion should be of nec­es­sary con­sid­er­a­tion to pol­icy mak­ers in the coun­try to find a last­ing so­lu­tion to farm­ers/ herders con­flict.

Mulmi stated this dur­ing a re­cent two-day out­come map­ping tagged ‘Con­flict Pre­ven­tion and Res­o­lu­tion Fo­rum’ in Abuja, or­gan­ised by an in­ter­na­tional peace build­ing and ad­vo­cacy or­gan­i­sa­tion, Search for Com­mon Ground as part of its ‘Am­pli­fy­ing the Ex­per­tise of African Peace­build­ing Prac­ti­tion­ers and Schol­ars’.

He said the clashes has not only rav­aged the mid­dle belt part of Nige­ria but has be­come a threat­en­ing is­sue to peace and tran­quil­ity in other parts of the coun­try.

Ac­cord­ing to him, in­te­gra­tion of con­flu­ence of ideas and col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the aca­demic and field prac­ti­tion­ers in con­flict res­o­lu­tion into pol­icy col­la­tion, will bring cred­i­ble, rel­e­vant and timely in­sight to the press­ing chal­lenge of re­solv­ing the herders/ farm­ers con­flict across geo-po­lit­i­cal bor­ders of Nige­ria.

He said pol­icy tar­geted at re­solv­ing the farm­ers/ herders’ con­flict in Nige­ria should be for­mu­lated based on the re­al­ity on the ground as wit­nessed by prac­ti­tion­ers dur­ing their var­i­ous in­ter­ven­tion pro­grammes and re­searchers through dif­fer­ent po­si­tion pa­pers pre­sented on issues of con­flict and peace­ful res­o­lu­tions.

The fo­rum, he said, brings to­gether re­searchers from the aca­demic and prac­ti­tion­ers in­ter­ested in the farm­ers/ herders is­sue in Nige­ria to dis­cuss the dy­nam­ics of the con­flict, its pol­icy im­pli­ca­tions, pos­si­ble so­lu­tions, and rec­om­men­da­tions, adding that the goal is to trans­late ex­ist­ing ev­i­dence from peace­build­ing.

“The project will build on ex­ist­ing early warn­ing and early re­sponse sys­tem in the Mid­dle Belt re­gion of Nige­ria and work in col­lab­o­ra­tion with se­lected Nige­rian uni­ver­si­ties, re­search in­sti­tutes, a think­tank, rel­e­vant gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions, non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions with in­ter­est in the farmer- herder con­flict in Nige­ria”, he said.

Mulmi, who said con­flict and dif­fer­ences are in­evitable why vi­o­lence is not, stated fur­ther that Search for Com­mon Ground part­ner peo­ple around the world to ig­nite shared so­lu­tions to de­struc­tive con­flicts and work at all lev­els of so­ci­ety to build sus­tain­able peace through three main av­enues

He said: “In the ten­sion and hos­til­ity mount­ing be­fore vi­o­lent con­flict, we’re there help­ing to pre­vent it. In the anger and chaos of war, we’re there work­ing to end vi­o­lence. In the pain and de­struc­tion of the af­ter­math, we’re there bridg­ing di­vides to build last­ing peace”, he added.

He said the or­gan­i­sa­tion adopt the tools of di­a­logue, me­di­a­tion, and me­dia/ ad­vo­cacy in ful­fill­ing its man­date work­ing in 59 coun­tries across the globe with 802 lo­cal part­ners and en­gag­ing 795,000 par­tic­i­pants ev­ery year.

“Whether at the lo­cal or na­tional level, we bring peo­ple to­gether across di­vid­ing lines to dis­cover and achieve shared goals. We work with those tra­di­tion­ally in power and those with­out a plat­form, often women and youth. Ex­am­ples are me­di­a­tion, train­ing youth lead­ers, back chan­nel diplo­macy, and more.

“While a di­a­logue af­fects dozens, me­dia im­pacts mil­lions. We use me­dia to stir up thoughts and dis­cus­sions across a whole so­ci­ety about the root causes of vi­o­lence and how to over­come dif­fer­ences.

“We pro­vide a safe space for peo­ple to work out their con­flicts at the lo­cal level. With some cre­ative think­ing, we bring di­vided com­mu­ni­ties, neigh­bours, and fam­i­lies to­gether to dis­cover their com­mon hu­man­ity.”

In the Mid­dle Belt, he said the or­gan­i­sa­tion works in Plateau, Kaduna and Nasarawa which would be repli­cated in the North-East re­gion, while it has worked in the Niger Delta states of Bayelsa, Rivers and Abia where it pro­vides means of liveli­hood to ex-mil­i­tants.

The Con­flict Analyst for Search for Com­mon Ground and Project Lead for the project, Mrs. Bukola Ade­mo­laAdele­hin, said the project ti­tled ‘Am­pli­fy­ing the Ex­per­tise of African Peace­build­ing Prac­ti­tion­ers and Schol­ars’ aims to in­crease knowl­edge­shar­ing on farmer-herder con­flict be­tween peace­build­ing schol­ars and prac­ti­tion­ers with pol­icy mak­ers in Nige­ria and glob­ally. This is to trans­late ev­i­dence from peace­build­ing pro­gramme and aca­demic re­search into pol­icy in­flu­ence on farmer – herder con­flict in Nige­ria.

Ac­cord­ing to her, “Farmer­herder con­flict in Nige­ria has dif­fer­ent di­men­sions in­clud­ing re­li­gious and eth­nic col­orations as well the liveli­hood that di­rectly pitched farm­ers and herders against each other in stiff com­pe­ti­tion for land and wa­ter re­sources crit­i­cal to sus­tain­ing their liveli­hood.

“Ad­dress­ing this pro­tracted and often vi­o­lent con­flict re­quired a new way of do­ing things and build­ing syn­ergy be­tween peace­build­ing prac­ti­tion­ers and re­searchers work­ing on the is­sue to fo­cus on strength­en­ing the qual­ity of the ev­i­dence col­lected through prac­tice and in­crease the dis­sem­i­na­tion of prac­ti­tioner knowl­edge to­wards pol­icy in­sti­tu­tions”, she added.

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