The fight between the Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the middle belt and Northern part of Nigeria has lingered long enough to see it’s end. President Muhammadu Buhari has given his word to put an end to the clash. According to him, the major cause of the inter-communal and intra-communal conflicts in Nigeria is poverty, injustice and lack of job opportunities. Truthfully, he could not be more correct, as Nigeria would be more peaceful with these things in place.
The President made this declaration while receiving a delegation from the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, an organization active in the promotion of peace in Nigeria. He said greater efforts must be made to eradicate poverty and injustice in order to attain lasting peace in the country.
Just last week, it was reported that a police officer in Adamawa state and 29 people were butchered by Fulani herdsmen. The alleged herdsmen attacked four villages as a way of revenge over an outstanding misunderstanding with the farmers for two years now. The herdsmen created chaos in Demsare, Wunamokoh, Dikajam and Taboungo, destroying several houses and its occupants.
The deceased DPO, Okozie Okereofor, a Chief Superintendent of Police, was deployed to the state about two months ago. He was ambushed when leading police officers to the disputed area, and unfortunately lost his life in a shootout with the attackers.
During the meeting, Buhari commended the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue for the relative peace that had returned to Plateau State as well as their on-going activity in Southern Kaduna. He agreed with the centre that dialogue was always preferable to the use of law and order mechanisms and force in the resolution of conflicts.
According to the President, plans are being made to map out grazing areas and will be handed over to the Nigerian Governors Forum as soon as it is completed. This will serve as a temporary solution to the frequent conflicts until cattle owners are persuaded to adopt other means of rearing their cattle without tampering on properties of farmers. The frequent invasion of herds on crop lands has been the trigger button of this communal repeated clash and it has cost the loss of thousands of lives – Fulani herdsmen, farmers and their families alike.
The Executive Director of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, David Harland, told President Buhari that following their success in facilitating the settlement of the inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflicts in Plateau State, the group had moved to Kaduna State. He expressed the hope that the techniques used in bringing peace to Plateau State can soon be deployed to deal with the Boko Haram insurgency and other conflicts in Nigeria.
With all the talk about dialogue, Nigerians can only hope that words will be enough to calm down the hot blooded Boko Haram group who believes that action speaks louder and faster than spoken alphabets.