The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has called for the establishment of a National Pastoralist Commission to address the conflicts between herdsmen and farmers in the country.
In a statement by its Director of Publicity And Advocacy, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, on Sunday in Kaduna, the NEF proposed the proclamation of a National Policy on Grazing and Livestock Development to cater to the needs of all the pastoral communities across the country.
The statement read: “Successive governments have found it expeditious to establish structures like Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission, Niger Delta Development Commission, Ministry of Niger Delta, the Amnesty Programme, etc, aimed at resolving a specific set of challenges affecting specific communities in the South.
“In light of the disagreements in the National Assembly on this matter, NEF calls for a collaborative and inclusive approach to decision-making that considers the diverse perspectives and concerns of all stakeholders.
“Meanwhile, the federal and state governments should immediately identify suitable lands across the country and create grazing reserves and cattle routes and, where resistance is shown, to expropriate such land as may be required for the purpose through resort to extant provisions of the Land Use Act and other related laws.
“We propose the proclamation of a National Policy on Grazing and Livestock Development to cater to the needs of all the pastoral communities everywhere in the country.”
The NEF argued that a dedicated commission would serve the interests of all Nigerians whose livelihoods depend on livestock.
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They pointed to existing regional structures, such as the South-South’s Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), as a precedent for addressing the specific needs of a particular population segment in the country.
The proposed National Pastoralist Commission could take on a multifaceted role. It might facilitate the development of solutions for challenges faced by herders, such as access to grazing land, veterinary services, and conflict resolution mechanisms. Additionally, the commission could play a role in promoting best practices in livestock management and fostering peaceful coexistence between herders and farmers.
However, the NEF’s proposal is likely to generate discussions and potentially face resistance.
Establishing a new national commission would require significant resources and raise questions about potential overlap with existing ministries or agencies.
Additionally, some stakeholders might argue that a national approach may not be suitable for addressing the geographically specific nature of herder-farmer clashes.
The NEF’s call for a National Pastoralist Commission highlights the urgency of finding solutions to the complex issue of herder-farmer clashes.
Whether this specific proposal is the most effective solution remains to be seen. Nevertheless, it is likely to be a key point of discussion in the ongoing national conversation about finding sustainable solutions for Nigeria’s livestock sector and fostering peaceful inter-communal relations.

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