The Speaker said the farmers/herders clash over the years, has restricted farmers from access to their farmlands, leading to food price inflation, a high cost of living, unemployment, and loss of foreign earnings.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajuddeen Abbas, has expressed concern over the effects of the persistent clashes between farmers/herders on the country’s economy, particularly the potential threat to its quest to attain food security.
The Speaker raised the concern in his opening address at the stakeholders’ interactive session organised by the House Ad-hoc Committee on the “Recurring Annual Clashes Between Farmers And Herders In Yamaltu/Deba Local Government Area Of Gombe State, And Neighboring Local Government Areas, Including Other Regions Of The Country With Similar Incidents” on Monday.
Speaker Abbas, who was represented by the Deputy Speaker, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, estimated that over 60,000 people have been killed since 2001.
The implication of this, and the collective good of the nation, he noted was the reason the House resolved to take a critical look into the causes, nature, dimensions, actors, impact, and possible solution to the nagging national challenge.
He said, “The number of deaths, injuries, and kidnapped persons constitutes an alarming situation and poses a serious national security challenge for Nigeria’s quest to attain food security and alternative foreign earnings from the agricultural sector. This menace requires urgent action to be taken.
“These conflicts have escalated in recent years and it is quite consequential to our national security. What is even more concerning is the appropriation of these conflicts by terror groups, bandits, and international criminal organizations.
“This has had severe consequences including the restriction of farmers from access to their farmlands, leading to food price inflation, a high cost of living, unemployment, and loss of foreign earnings that would have accrued through the agricultural sector”
On his part, the National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, represented by Professor Abdullahi Mohammed Ya’u Sa’id, said the farmers/herders clash has taken more lives than most of the crises seen in the country, adding that the problem, which persists is affecting the nation’s collective socio-economic interests.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Bappa Aliyu Misau, (Bauchi) pointed out that the issues with farmers and herders have reached a critical juncture, which demands immediate attention and collaborative efforts to find sustainable solutions.
“To address the root cause of these problems, we need a multi-faced approach that integrates the effort of Governments, Private Sector, Civil Society Organizations.
“We must also explore investments in agricultural infrastructure such as adequate investment in irrigation systems, storage facilities, rural road network etc. conflict resolution and land management, continued investment in agricultural research and development, enhancing skills and knowledge of farmers and herders”.