The Search for Common Ground (SCG) has said that Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Plateau states are losing 47 percent internally-generated revenue annually to farmers and herdsmen conflicts.
The organisation’s Research Fellow Dr Chris Kwaja, stated this in Abuja while presenting a draft at a Technical Validation Meeting on “Implications of Open-Grazing Laws on Relations between Farmers and Herdsmen in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria”.
Kwaja said that the data was provided by a research the group conducted in collaboration with former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar’s Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development Studies (AAIPSDS)
“In fact, challenges relating to access to and control of natural resources such as water, arable land, obstruction of traditional grazing routes, livestock theft and crop damage are the issues that trigger the conflicts. The most affected states are in Nigeria’s middle belt – Benue, Kaduna, Nassarawa, Plateau and Taraba. It was estimated that the Nigerian Government loses 13.7 billion dollars annually as a result of conflicts between farmers and herders in these states,” Kwaja said.
According to him the fragile relations between farmers and herdsmen were having a direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of those involved, and that it had also disrupted and threatened the sustainability of food and livestock production in the country.
While saying that one of the profound responses to the lingering conflict was the enactment of a law against open grazing which Benue adopted on November 1, he said that the rationale for the law was to curb the menace of destruction of farmlands, attacks on farmers and threats against food security and development in a state.
He however noted that the passing of the law in Benue which was already having ripple effects in Nasarawa, Kaduna, Plateau and Taraba was met with resistance by herdsmen because they view it as discriminatory.